by Angela Smith, PhD | Clinical Psychologist

What is a Specific Phobia?

A Specific Phobia is an excessive fear in the presence or anticipation of an object or situation. Often, individuals with a Specific Phobia will avoid the feared object or situation or endure it with heightened distress. The avoidance and/or anxiety related to the feared object or situation will often interfere with the individual’s daily routine, work/school functioning, or social life.

Prevalence of Specific Phobias ranges from 4-11% in the general population, making it a common condition and can begin in childhood or early adolescence. Usually the fear will begin prior to it becoming impairing or extremely distressing. Before the onset of the phobia, individuals will often be exposed to certain factors, such as being involved in some kind of traumatic event (e.g.: being attacked by an animal), having an unexpected panic attack related to the specific object or situation, observing someone going through a traumatic event or demonstrating extreme fear.

Some common phobias include fears of:
  • Flying
  • Driving
  • Animals
  • Storms
  • Heights
  • Seeing blood