‘Phobias’ is an essay by the late Dr John Ellard reproduced from the book The Anatomy of Mirages: a Psychiatrist Reflects on Life and the Mind.*
Dr Ellard, revered former Editor of Modern Medicine of Australia and Medicine Today and a distinguished psychiatrist, wrote many essays in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s on society’s most controversial and vexing issues. These were published in various journals including Modern Medicine of Australia, and also collected together and published as books. The essay ‘Phobias’ originally appeared in the July 1986 issue of Modern Medicine of Australia.
* Ellard J. The anatomy of mirages: a psychiatrist reflects on life and the mind. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press; 1994. p. 146-158.
Most of the readers of this article will be able to remember a time when heights, darkness, small spiders or some other common, harmless object filled them with dread. A significant number of readers, their friends and their patients will still be phobic, but mostly the object will be different. The current prevalence is uncertain, as is the level of phobic-caused disability in the total population, for people with phobias tend to keep quiet about them, fearing ridicule. This article describes the different kinds of phobias and their management.
Picture credit: © Barry Olive, 2017