Everyone has fears – but what makes a fear become a phobia? Why are some people scared of spiders (arachnophobia), buttons (koumpounophobia), or the colour yellow (xanthophobia)? Or why are others are scared of situations, like small spaces (claustrophobia), empty rooms (kenophobia) or heights (acrophobia)?
This is a question which has been bothering Crowdscience listener Scott, who has a phobia of bridges. He gets anxious and panicky when driving over bridges and is scared he’ll lose control of the car. It’s also a question that struck a chord with presenter Caroline Steel. She is claustrophobic, particularly in lifts, steering clear of them at all costs and even once climbing nine flights of stairs in crutches to avoid using the lift.
But where do these phobias come from and why do some people have them and not others? To investigate, Caroline speaks to experts to discover where phobias come from, why we have them and how they develop. And she visits a psychologist to learn about different types of treatment for phobias, and to receive treatment herself in the hope that one day, maybe she’ll be able to take the lift instead of the stairs.
Professor Paul Salkovskis, Director, Oxford Centre for Psychological Health, UK
Professor Ekaterina Likhtik, Associate Professor in Biological Sciences at Hunter College, CUNY, USA
Dr Andras Zsido, Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Psychology, University of Pécs, Hungary
Presenter: Caroline Steel
Producer: Hannah Fisher
Editor: Richard Collings
Production Co-ordinator: Jonathan Harris
(Image: Person sitting on high up bridge. Credit: ljubaphoto / Getty Images)
*Warning* This episode includes references to suicide.
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