Home‎ > ‎Understanding Anxiety‎ > ‎

Specific Phobia

Main Features:

Some of the main features for a Specific Phobia in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders are:
  • Marked fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation
  • Exposure to the phobic stimulus almost always provokes an immediate fear or anxiety response
  • The fear or anxiety is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the specific object or situation and to the sociocultural context. 
  • The phobic situation(s) is avoided or else is endured with intense anxiety or distress.


Categories of specific phobias:

  • Animal type – (e.g., fear of spiders, insects, dogs)
  • Natural environment type – (e.g., fear of heights (acrophobia), storms, water)
  • Situational type – (e.g., airplanes, elevators, enclosed places).
  • Blood-injection-injury type – (e.g., needles, invasive medical procedures)
  • Other – (e.g., situations that may lead to choking or vomiting; in children, e.g., loud sounds or costumed characters)