A phobia is an intense fear of—or aversion to—specific objects or situations. Although it can be realistic to be anxious in some circumstances, the fear people with phobias feel is out of proportion to the actual danger caused by the situation or object.
People with a specific phobia:
- May have an irrational or excessive worry about encountering the feared object or situation
- Take active steps to avoid the feared object or situation
- Experience immediate intense anxiety upon encountering the feared object or situation
- Endure unavoidable objects and situations with intense anxiety
Specific phobias are very diverse, but here are some common examples:
- Specific animals, such as spiders, dogs, or snakes
- Receiving injections
- Blood or injury
- Medical procedures
- Vomiting or seeing others vomit
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American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425596
National Institute of Mental Health. (2021). Mental Health Information: Brochures and Fact Sheets. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/index.shtml