(HealthDay News) -- While fear is a normal reaction to a perceived danger, a phobia may be diagnosed when a fear is exaggerated or irrational.

The American Psychiatric Association says these symptoms may indicate a phobia:

  • Feelings of terror, horror, panic or dread.
  • Self-understanding that the fear goes beyond the actual danger.
  • Fear that is so extreme that it interferes with thoughts and actions.
  • Physical symptoms such as feeling short of breath, a rapidly beating heart or trembling.
  • Going out of the way to avoid situations that trigger the phobia, such as flying.