What are phobias and how are they caused? Hippocrates saw them as the result of an excess of black bile, medieval theologians blamed possession by evil spirits, and Freud went searching for repressed sexual desires. Although two in five people struggle through life with some kind of phobia, little has been done to help these sufferers.
But in the last couple of decades, scientists and doctors in the fields of evolutionary theory, physiology, neuroscience and genetics have finally begun to analyse the causes and effects of human phobia and have come up with thought-provoking, but widely differing, interpretations and prescriptions. Now, for the first time, there is a real progress towards a fuller understanding of phobias.
Drawing on vivid examples from literature and extensive interviews with sufferers, in this book Helen Saul describes and demystifies all the latest research. Childhood temperaments and personality dispositions are considered, as are more speculative environmental theories.
Why are phobias easier to cope with at night or wearing sunglasses? Is fear of spiders, snakes or darkness an evolutionary throwback? How do phobias differ throughout the world and history? Are phobias principally biological or psychological? Does aversion therapy work? Is a phobia always hereditary? And, most importantly, how can phobias be cured - permanently?
The only book to disclose and assess all the theories and to seek to answer all the questions, 'Phobias: Fighting The Fear' is a powerfully useful, uniquely accessible work of popular science.