The utter darkness of a no-stars night. A far spider, waiting in her web. Crooked gravestones, constricted spaces, a perilous cliff, far above the ground. For millions of Americans, these aren’t just Halloween specials. They are specific phobias: intense, irrational fears. About 19.2 million Americans have a specific phobia, and they are twice as common in women, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
In the body, fear boils down to chemistry. Two hormones — adrenaline and cortisol — spark a host of biological reactions, preparing our response to the fear. Be it by fight, or flight. Read the full story.
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Photo credit: NSF and NBC Learn