A person feels very fearful about a particular object or situation and may go to great lengths to avoid it, for example, having an injection or travelling on a plane. There are many different types of phobias.
You may have a specific phobia if you:
- have a persistent, excessive and unreasonable fear of a specific object, activity or situation, e.g. heights, the sight of blood or encountering a dog.
- avoid situations where you may have to face the phobic stimulus, e.g. not walking down a street where there may be a dog. If the situation is unavoidable, you're likely to feel high levels of distress.
- find that the anxiety or avoidance associated with such situations makes it difficult to go about daily life (e.g. interferes with working, studying or seeing friends and family).
- the anxiety and avoidance are persistent and have been present for at least 6 months or more
Specific phobias are generally divided into the following categories:
- Animal type: fear that relates to animals or insects (e.g. fear of dogs or spiders).
- Natural environment type: fear associated with the natural environment (e.g. fear of thunder or heights).
- Blood/injection/injury type: fear associated with invasive medical procedures (e.g. injections), or with seeing blood or injury.
- Situational type: fear of specific situations (e.g. elevators, bridges or driving).
- Other: any other specific phobias (e.g. fear of choking, fear of vomiting).
You can have more than one type of specific phobia. Other specific phobias, such as the fear of public speaking, are more related to social phobia. Social phobia is a condition where people are overly concerned about how they appear to others.