For the millions of people who suffer from one phobia or another--and for those who don't--an enlightening, informative, and immensely helpful guide. Obsessional fears, commonly known as phobias, are as widespread as they are deeply rooted. What are they and how are they caused? Hippocrates thought they were caused by an excess of black bile, medieval theologians blamed evil spirits, and Freud thought they resulted from suppressed sexual desire. Through the ages, as many as four out of every ten people are estimated to have had some kind of phobia, but only recently have scientists and doctors made an effort to analyze, define, and offer possible cures. Drawing on vivid examples from history, literature, and personal testimonies, Phobiasis the first book to describe case histories, assess the theories ancient and contemporary, and seek to answer all the questions about one of mankind's oldest medical mysteries.