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Specific Phobia

What is specific phobia?

Specific phobias (often referred to simply as phobias) are disorders in which individuals have an excessive fear of a specific object, animal or situation.

People with specific phobias experience intense fear (sometimes full-blown panic) nearly every time they come in contact or anticipate coming in contact with the feared object or situation.

Tip: Click here to watch a presentation on how to recognize and understand anxiety disorders in college students.

People with phobias often make great efforts to avoid the feared object or situation (e.g., someone with a dog phobia will avoid walking down streets where they may encounter a dog). This avoidance can greatly interfere with activities.

Phobias typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Animal Type. Involves fear of animals (e.g., snakes or insects)
  • Natural Environment Type. Involves fear of natural environmental objects or situations (e.g., heights, bodies of water, or storms)
  • Blood-Injection-Injury Type. Involves fear of seeing blood, receiving an injection or other medical procedure
  • Situational Type. Involves fears of everyday situations (e.g., tunnels, bridges, flying, driving, closed places, etc.)
  • Other Type. Involves fear of situations not covered in the other categories (e.g., choking or vomiting)

Want to learn more about Specific Phobia?

Check out these resources:

Are you concerned that you may have a Specific Phobia?

See our resource database for a list of books, websites, and local options for seeking professional evaluations and treatment.

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