A phobia may be the result of a personal past experience that was extremely unpleasant, or it may be "inherited"—from a parent, for example. It may be a fear that has been transferred from another object or set of circumstances, or dredged up from the collective unconscious—a term that is used to describe the collective memory of the human species. Occasionally, phobias can be due to organic disease such as epilepsy or to a brain tumor.
There are various types of phobias. These include a fear of animals such as dogs, mice, spiders, or snakes, or a fear of situations, such as enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), or open or public places (agoraphobia). Social phobias involve a dread of being in public, and anxiety about being observed by other people. They may lead ultimately to an inability to speak or perform in public, to eat out in a restaurant, or even, in severe cases, to use any public facilities at all.
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