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  • An intense, irrational, and persistent fear of a specific object, activity, person, or situation. The main symptoms are an excessive and unreasonable desire to avoid the feared subject. The most common phobias are fear of heights, airplanes, closed spaces, snakes, and spiders. Phobias are the most common form of anxiety disorders and are found in between 8% and 18% of Americans. Phobias are generally caused by a combi nation of external events and internal predispositions. For more information, see Bourne (2005).

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