Probably the most profound of all fear and anxiety symptoms is the phobic response. Having said that, it is a fair to say that many phobias respond very well to a variety of therapies, even when they have been present for a considerable number of years.
I myself have suffered a fear of open water swimming - which has been pretty inconvenient given I enjoy triathlon, that said, open water swimming and the lobbing of my neoprene clad bod into the murkiness of rivers, lakes and seas is a personal choice - for many, their fears and phobic responses exhibit in everyday, unavoidable circumstances such as driving, public transport...even clothing items and bodily functions and it is for these people that finding a solution becomes not just a pleasing idea but essential if they are to be able to function, at ease, in their every day living.
There are many successful treatments for phobias, including conventional medication, herbal remedies, psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique ie. tapping) and Neural Linguistic Programming. Sometimes, profound results can be achieved in just one session, even where the phobia has been affecting an individual for many years and has had far-reaching effect on their life. Sometimes it can take quite a few sessions but it extremely is rare that some beneficial change cannot be made.
It is not an unusual situation that a phobia is not actually a phobia at all, but instead is a severe fear. The distinction is important, for severe fear - which will feel and 'behave' just like a phobia - is far more easy to deal with and can often be resolved in fewer sessions.
Here's a 'rough and ready' way to tell the difference as taught to me. Think about 'your' phobia for a moment; then see how much would you have to be paid to voluntarily encounter the phobic object/situation - think carefully about the amount of money we are talking about here:
1. £1,000? 2. £10,000? 3. £100,000? 4. £1,000,000? 5. £10,000,000? 6. No amount of money would be enough?
If you answered 'yes' to possibility number 6, then you probably have a phobia. If you answered 'yes' to any of the amounts of money, then you probably have a fear, the severity of which can be judged by the amount you would have to be paid. Of course, some people are not tempted hugely by money, when this test 'falls down' but you get the idea. In general, if there is anything that could persuade you to 'face' the phobia, then you are likely to be able to set yourself free from it far more readily than otherwise.
Some helpful links for you:-