Specific Phobias

Specific Phobias affect 8.7% of the population, 19.2 million Americans. Women are twice more likely to develop phobias than men. It can begin in early childhood and adolescence. The medium age of onset is 7 years old.

Many individuals dislike specific situations or items: such as insects, flying in a plane, or heights. People with a specific phobia experience an excessive, unrealistic fear in the presence of or in anticipation of a specific object, place or situation. Their reaction (phobic response) interferes with the persons’ activity of daily living due to the attempt to avoid the phobia and anxiety associated with it.

Common Specific Phobias:
  • Fear of driving
  • Fear of public transportation
  • Aviophobia - fear of flying
  • Trypanophobia -fear of medical procedures
  • Acrophobia - fear of heights
  • Entomophobia - fear of insects
  • Phonophobia - fear of loud sounds
  • Nomophobia – fear of being out of mobile phone contact

Symptoms may include:
  • Anxiety symptoms
  • Anticipatory anxiety- anxiety even thinking of the fearful situation
  • Fight or flight response to feared situation
  • Panic attacks (see above) when confronted with feared situation
  • Avoidance of situations where fears have arisen

Causal Factors:
Biologic, Genetic, Sociologic, and/or Situational factors.

Treatment Options:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Exposure Therapy, Medication, and/or Anxiety Management Techniques.