Phobia (Specific)


This is an anxiety disorder. It's a fear of a specific object, place or situation. If you have a specific phobia, you feel an overwhelming sense of fear of that specific thing, even when you know there is little or no real danger. We call this an "irrational" fear. But even if you know your fear is irrational, you still feel like you can't control it.

Common Phobias

Many specific phobias are common. Clowns, spiders, heights, airplanes and enclosed spaces are examples of phobias that are shared by many people. Medical and dental procedures trigger a lot of irrational fears, too.


We don't always know what causes a specific phobia to develop. It can happen if you have a bad experience that involves a specific place, thing or situation. Your genetics and the way your brain works may make you more likely to develop a phobia.


If you have a phobia, you may have an intense feeling of fear when you encounter or think about the thing you're afraid of. You may panic and you may feel powerless. This feeling may get worse the closer you get to it. You may have physical symptoms, too. Your heart may race, your chest may hurt and you may have trouble breathing. You may tremble and sweat, and you may have chills. You may feel nausea, weakness or dizziness. These intense reactions can disrupt your life. They can cause you to go to great lengths to avoid the subject of your fear.


Specific phobias can be treated with talk therapy. This can help you learn to manage and control your irrational fear. You may also benefit from medications. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that's right for you.