Online Therapy USER Pages

Unit Updates

Specific Phobia

What is Specific Phobia?


A person with a specific phobia (SP) experiences intense anxiety when they are exposed to a particular feared situation or object, which either leads them to avoid the situation/object or face it with intense distress.


What are the symptoms?


      •   The experience of intense fear that arises when one anticipates or is exposed to a specific object or situation
      •   The distress experienced when exposed to the feared situation/object may take the form of a panic attack (i.e., a discrete period of intense and sudden fear, apprehension or terror, with physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, blushing, trembling, sweating, and faintness)
      •   People with SP recognize that their fear is unreasonable or excessive
      •   People with SP either experience considerable distress about having the phobia and/or they avoid the feared object/situation. If the feared object/situation cannot be avoided, their normal routine will be significantly disrupted (including work, academic study, relationships, and/or social activities)
      •   There are five major SP category types, including:
            •   -Animal (e.g., spiders, snakes)
                -Natural environment (e.g. heights, storms)
                -Blood-injection-injury (e.g. receiving an injection)
                -Situation (e.g. elevators, enclosed spaces, flying)
                -Other (e.g. fear of vomiting, fear of illness)

Who gets a Specific Phobia?


      •   Different types of phobias tend to emerge at different life stages. For example a fear of animals, blood, and water tends to develop in early childhood, whereas a fear of heights tends to develop in adolescence
      •   Factors contributing to the development of a specific phobia may include childhood fears that are not resolved, parental modeling, or exposure to a stressful or traumatic situation such as a natural disaster or being bitten by an animal.