Inherited Phobias

Psychologists classify phobias such as stress disorders manifested through exaggerated episodes of anxiety experienced by individuals who cannot overcome a fear produced by external stimuli although no threats could be associated with those stimuli. The causes, which might generate phobias, are extremely diversified mainly because phobias are either inherited or developed by the sufferers’ psyche. Another category consists of rewarded phobias that could be placed between hereditary and built up disorders. Rewarded phobias develop because the sufferer avoided repeatedly threatening situations and every time he succeeds in avoiding the menace, his phobia is simultaneously rewarded and increased.

Inherited phobias are characterized by the fact that the patient borrows a particular behavior as he witnessed phobic episodes of another person, usually an important relative or friend, and came to perceive the same cause as a real threat. Hereditary phobias are somehow induced. For instance, parents who suffer from a social phobia, inoculate their kids the idea that they must adopt a self-defensive behavior when they are socially exposed. Moreover, experts state the fact that genes might have a major contribution to such behaviors and witnessing regularly such phobic episodes could make those genes active.

Statistics show that almost 40% of phobias are inherited while the rest of 60% are caused by stress and traumas. Many of these traumatic episodes have occurred in childhood and have left severe traces on adults’ psyche who acts irrationally each time he lives a similar experiences.

Overall, inherited phobias are not mimetically developed disorders, on the contrary, an empathic behavior could simply explain such “borrowed overreactions”.