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Are Phobias Genetic Or Learned

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Are Phobias Genetic Or Learned

Is Anxiety Hereditary / Genetic Or Learned?

nor are they genetic in nature, Fears and Phobias , social phobias develop due to hereditary or genetic influences and in 70% of cases due to environmental factors like faulty upbringing by parents and learning from social behaviors of others.Contact Us · Health News · 10 Foods You Think Are Healthy But Are NotHereditary component of phobias relate a series of phobic tendencies passed down from one generation to another, they learned from their parents almost everything.

Thoughts Concerning These Results

It is amazing to find scientists suggesting that people can inherit fears, but it seems the results are what they are. The results of these experiments suggest many things. For example; it is perhaps not so unusual that both a father and son are afraid of spiders, or that a mother and daughter are frightened by snakes – even though they have no real reason to be.

The studies also suggest something far more large scale. For example; children of those who fought in wars may experience the same or similar trauma their parents do. If the studies are proven correct in the long-term, even the grandchildren of those who have endured a war may experience PTSD similar to the PTSD their grandparents do or did.

Is there a, ‘compounding,’ factor at play? One has to wonder. If the people of a certain nation are repeatedly exposed to shelling, bombing, and other violent military activity – do repeated exposures to such violence, ‘compound,’ thereby worsening the fears and trauma their children and grandchildren experience? Perhaps one day science will tell us.

Anything Which Increases Background Stress Levels Increases The Number Of Phobias In A Society

If, at that point, you encounter a spider, a needle, a particularly nasty-looking piece of cotton wool, whatever it is that triggers your particular phobia, then your body has nowhere left to go except into a full phobic response which can be anything from hysterical screams and floods of tears to running away or fainting.

Anything which increases background stress levels increases the number of phobias in a society.

For months after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York, all of us working in this field were understandably swamped with people suffering from a morbid fear of flying or of high buildings . But there were also far more people coming in with unrelated phobias, too.

The terrorist attacks had increased the level of background stress, so the number of phobias escalated, too everything from a fear of cocktail parties to terror at the thought of grime .

Trauma: For months after the 9/11 attacjs therapists were swamped with people suffering phobias about flying and high buildings

It was the same after the July 7 Tube bombings of 2005. But just like after 9/11, after a few months these phobia spikes began to fall. That is partly because many of us had no choice but to start flying and taking the Tube again.

Despite the new findings, I like many experts still believe there is a genetic component to some phobias, an atavistic, life-preserving response to danger left over from our days as Stone Age hunter-gatherers.

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What Is Transgenerational Epigenetic Inheritance

Transgenerational epigenetic inheritance is the transmission of epigenetic markers from one organism to the next that affects the traits of offspring without altering the primary structure of DNA. The less precise term “epigenetic inheritance” may cover both cell-cell and organism-organism information transfer. Although these two levels of epigenetic inheritance are equivalent in unicellular organisms, they may have distinct mechanisms and evolutionary distinctions in multicellular organisms.

Parents’ stressful experiences can influence an offspring’s vulnerability to many pathological conditions, including psychopathologies, and their effects may even endure for several generations. Nevertheless, the cause of this phenomenon has not been determined, and only recently have scientists turned to epigenetics to answer this question.

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.

Why Is My Dog Afraid Of People And/or Other Animals

Are Phobias Learned or Inherited?

There are many reasons why dogs can develop a fear or phobic response toward people or other animals including:

  • Lack of socialization. There may have been limited or minimal exposure to people and/or other animals when the dog was young. The socialization period is a sensitive period of development which occurs from 3 to 12 weeks of age, whereby dogs learn to communicate with animals and people and to adapt to a variety of environments. Socialization is an important aspect of raising a puppy. Lack of exposure can be just as detrimental as a negative experience. ;Without adequate positive interactions with people and other animals during this time, dogs may develop fear and phobic reactions. To prevent fears and phobias, dogs need to be adequately socialized to a variety of people, such as the elderly, adult men and women, teenagers, and children. Similarly, dogs should be socialized with different breeds of dogs and other animals to prevent fear or phobic responses.
  • Genetic predisposition. Dogs may have a genetic predisposition to developing fear or phobic responses during different life stages, and that predisposition may be exacerbated in those dogs that have had a poor start to life .

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Gene Isolation Suggests A Link Between Phobias And Panic Disorder

Although they were unable to specifically isolate the genetic causes of phobias, Villafuerte and Burmeister reviewed several studies that appear to demonstrate genetic anomalies in both mice and humans with anxiety disorders. The early research appears to show that agoraphobia is more closely linked to panic disorder than to the other phobias, but is far from conclusive.

A History Of Fearing Snakes And Spiders

“It’s a very long period of coevolutionnearly 40 to 60 million years of it, that early human ancestors and spiders and snakes have interacted,” Hoehl explained. A venomous bite from one of these creatures lurking hidden in the grass could have left early human ancestors incapacitated or dead. Therefore, Hoehl’s study claimed, humans’ innate fear of these animals could serve as a defense mechanism..

This claim is supported by previous studies in adults and children that have claimed to indicate an innate evolutionary fear of spiders or snakes.

In 2001, a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology asked a group of university students to identify photos that depicted sources of fear. Consistently, students identified snakes and spiders as more dangerous than other photos of mammals or fungi.

“Snakes have provided a recurrent threat throughout mammalian evolution. Individuals who have been good at identifying and recruiting defense responses to snakes have left more offspring than individuals with less efficient defense systems,” the study’s coauthor, Arne Öhman, told National Geographic at the time.

A study published in 2008 in the journal Cognition, and another in 2014 in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior, also point to an inherited fear of spiders and snakes.

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Snake Lovers And Spider Enthusiasts

If we’re born with an innate feeling of stress toward spiders and snakes, that doesn’t account for why some people grow up to have a crippling fear of these creatures while others keep them as pets.

Not all studies have concluded that fear of spiders and snakes is innate. A paper published in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science found that seven-month-old infants noticed images of snakes more quickly but didn’t show signs of fear. This indicated children may not have innate fears of these creatures but could identify them more readily.

Social learning partly accounts for this discrepancy, said Hoehl. Infants in the study were specifically capped around six months of age before they learned to crawl and walk. As babies become more mobile, they begin to learn about their natural surroundings. Research performed at New York University’s Infant Action Lab in 2015 found that infants begin to learn how to tackle heights as they become more familiar with their environments and develop better depth perception.

Parental reinforcement plays a big part in how much fear grows, said Hoehl. While a baby bitten by a snake or spider might develop a strong association between the animals and danger, how a parent reacts to these creatures would also influence their child.

In future studies, Hoehl hopes to test how temperament influences spider and snake phobias and if certain parts of the animal trigger a more stressed response.

How A Specific Phobia Impacts The Child At Different Ages:

You Can Inherit Fear?

Young children often rely on adults to protect them from immediate threat or danger more so than older children and teens. As a result, when young children are faced with a specific phobia they may cry, tantrum, cling, freeze, or want to be picked up. Young children are more likely to be afraid of concrete and immediate situations such as storms, insects, animals, and clowns among others. In contrast, when faced with a feared item or situation, older youth are more likely to express feared thoughts or predictions such as It will bite me, or Im going to die. In addition, unlike young children who have less control over their daily lives, older teens can choose to avoid certain situations or escape when confronted with their fear. For example, a teen that is afraid of enclosed spaces can avoid taking an elevator whereas a young child may have to go on an elevator if the whole family wants to travel that way. Finally, teens are more likely than younger children to realize that their fear is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the specific object or situation.

Is there such a thing as a School Phobia?

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Other Types Of Phobias

Many people dislike certain situations or objects, but to be a true phobia, the fear must interfere with daily life. Here are a few more of the most common ones:

Glossophobia: This is known as performance anxiety, or the fear of speaking in front of an audience. People with this phobia have severe physical symptoms when they even think about being in front of a group of people. <Glossophobia treatments can include either therapy or medication.

Acrophobia: This is the fear of heights. People with this phobia avoid mountains, bridges, or the higher floors of buildings. Symptoms include vertigo, dizziness, sweating, and feeling as if theyll pass out or lose consciousness.

Claustrophobia: This is a fear of enclosed or tight spaces. Severe claustrophobia can be especially disabling if it prevents you from riding in cars or elevators. <Learn more about claustrophobia, from additional symptoms to treatment options.

Aviophobia: This is also known as the fear of flying.

Dentophobia: Dentophobia is a fear of the dentist or dental procedures. This phobia generally develops after an unpleasant experience at a dentists office. It can be harmful if it prevents you from obtaining needed dental care.

Hemophobia: This is a phobia of blood or injury. A person with hemophobia may faint when they come in contact with their own blood or another persons blood.

Arachnophobia: This means fear of spiders.

Cynophobia: This is a fear of dogs.

Ophidiophobia: People with this phobia fear snakes.

What Is A Phobia

A phobia is an overwhelming and unreasonable fear of an object or situation that poses little real danger but provokes anxiety and avoidance.

Unlike the brief anxiety most people feel when they give a speech or take a test, a phobia is long-lasting, causes intense physical and psychological reactions, and can affect your ability to function normally at work or in social settings.

Several types of phobias exist. Some people fear large, open spaces. Others are unable to tolerate certain social situations. And still, others have a specific phobia, such as a fear of snakes, elevators or flying.

Not all phobias need treatment. But if a phobia affects your daily life, several therapies are available that can help you overcome your fearsoften permanently.

Phobias are divided into three main categories:

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Are Phobias Learned Or Inherited

Phobias are extreme fears in specific situations where there is no actual;danger or fears which are completely out of proportion. Most of the time, the person with the phobia realizes that their;fear is irrational and illogical, but continues;feeling the distress;and is held hostage by fear. To that person, the only thing that can bring relief is to avoid the situation.

One of the most common phobias is social phobia. Social phobia is a very exaggerated shyness typified by persistent and strong feelings of anxiety and fear when facing certain social situations, interacting with others, or even when being observed, to such an extent that this feeling greatly interferes in the development of the normal life of those who suffer it.

One of the main characteristics of social phobia is the strong anxiety felt before the feared events take place, known as anticipated anxiety. People start worrying and feeling terror before confronting the feared situation, so, once they actually face it, and due to their nervousness, it comes out worse. It leads to an increase in the level of anticipated anxiety next time they confront the same situation. A vicious cycle is created and which is self-generating and causes self-destruction.

If a person has inherited this feeling of fear primarily from forefathers or from some members of the family, or even from a close circle of friends he or she cannot get rid of this hereditary component of phobias, as the reason of his terror is unknown.

Study Links Phobias To Genetic Personality Traits

Are Fears Genetic? Can Phobias Be Inherited?

By Tiffany Ng | November 14, 2007

Franklin Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” but unfortunately phobias are a real and persistent part of millions of Americans’ lives. These can range from the common, such as acrophobia , arachnophobia and claustrophobia , to the truly bizarre, including arachibutyrophobia , Bolshephobia and vestiphobia .

But unlike fears, which are normal responses to danger, phobias are irrational or excessive responses to a danger that is often exaggerated or imagined. According to the American Psychiatric Institute for Research and Education, 7.8 percent of all American adults have phobias. Phobias are the most common psychiatric illness among women and the second most common among men over 25.

Often these phobias become a debilitating part of a person’s life. Some of the most common fears, such as social phobia, animal phobias and agoraphobia , force those afflicted to make significant lifestyle changes in order to function normally.

This has led researchers to search for the cause of such fears. Though it has been well-established that phobias are largely hereditary, it was previously unclear which particular factors are inherited. Researchers at the Hopkins School of Medicine, led by O. Joseph Bienvenu, tested whether basic personality traits, such as extraversion and neuroticism, played roles in the development of phobias.

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A Study Of Twins And Fear

Fear is something long thought to be a learned response.

Fear actually may be a partly inherited trait, one programmed into our genetic makeup, according to a study of twins. Dr. John Hettema of Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia along with colleagues from Sweden, studied 90 pairs of identical twins and 83 pairs of fraternal, or non-identical twins, enrolled in the Swedish Twin Registry. Identical twins have exactly the same genes, yet fraternal twins are genetically different; as different as children born separately from the same parents.

In the study, the twins were shown a series of different images. Some of the images were naturally frightening – such as spiders and snakes. Other images were neutral such as triangles and circles. The twins were also given a mild electrical shock as they viewed some of the images.

During the testing, researchers measured the subject’s skin electrical conductivity, which usually increases in states of fear and anxiety due to increased output from the person’s sweat glands. When the researchers analyzed the results, they found that the identical twins had the same responses. They also discovered the non-identical twins experienced differing responses.

What Signs Might My Dog Show When Afraid

Dogs that are frightened may display fight , flight , freeze , fidget or fret responses when afraid. When attempting to avoid a threat , a dog may cower, look away, tuck its tail, and perhaps tremble or pant. At other times the signs may be more subtle. A dog may only lower its head and look away when uncomfortable with a social encounter, even tolerating petting at first, only to later growl and/or snap. It is important to watch for signs of avoidance or uneasiness such as backing up, hiding behind your legs, lip licking. When the signs above are combined with raised hairs on the back , growling, snarling, snapping, or biting, this may be fear and/or anxiety related aggression .

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Can Medications Be Helpful

There are many behavioral medications that can be helpful for reducing fear or phobic responses in dogs.

For dogs that are excessively fearful, phobic, or anxious, behavior medications can be helpful to reduce the negative emotional state, help create new positive associations, and allow for coping with the situation. While behavior medications may reduce anxiety in general, concurrent behavior modification is necessary to help the dog to learn to overcome the specific fear. Behavioral medications should always be used concurrently with behavior and environmental modification as the medication will not teach the dog to be comfortable in a given situation. Behavior medication may be warranted to help with the learning process in a humane and emotionally protective fashion and aid in successful behavioral modification.

“For dogs that are excessively fearful, phobic, or anxious, behavior medications can be helpful to reduce the negative emotional state, help create new positive associations, and allow for coping with the situation.”

Buspirone is a serotonin agonist/antagonist that can be helpful for situational and social anxiety. The onset of action may take several weeks. It is generally well tolerated with less side effects than benzodiazepines. Buspirone, like benzodiazepines, may disinhibit behavior, leading to increased aggression. Caution is advised in fearful or phobic patients who also display aggression.

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