Anxiety and panic disorders are estimated to be the most prevalent of all mental health problems in America.

These phobias differ, however, from realistic, common sense fear.

Phobias are irrational fears in which no geniune danger is apparent, as opposed to other fears, even all consuming ones, in the face of a tangible threat -- nuclear holocaust, for example.

Among area resources for phobia treatment: * National Institute of Mental Health. Ongoing studies of various treatment approaches. Free to participants. Write: Panic Disorders Program, NIMH, 9000 Rockville Pike, Bethesda Md. 20205. 496-6565.

* American University agoraphobia program. 686-2313.

* Roundhouse Square Psychiatric Center, 1444 Duke St., Alexandria, Va. 836-7130.

* Center for Behavioral Medicine hotline, Thursdays 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. 468-8983.

For further information send stamped, self-addressed legal-size envelope to: Phobia Society of America, 6181 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, Md. 20850. Books

Some recent (and forthcoming) books on panic disorders and phobias:

* "The Anxiety Disease," by Dr. David V. Sheehan. ($14.95, Charles Scribner's Sons). Sheehan, of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, is a pioneer in the medical aspects of the disorder and the psychopharmacological approach to its treatment.

* "Your Phobia" by Dr. Manuel D. Zane and Harry Milt. ($15.95, American Psychiatric Press, Inc.). Zane is a leader in the experiential approach to phobias and is founder and director of the Phobia Clinic at the White Plains Hospital Medical Center in New York.

* "Fighting Fear," by Dr. Frederic Neuman. (Coming from MacMillan this spring.) Neuman, a former agoraphobe, practices with Zane at the White Plains Phobia Clinic.