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What is Specific Phobia?

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Updated May 29, 2010

Definition:

What is specific phobia? Specific phobia is one of the anxiety disorders listed in the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).

A specific phobia is characterized by an intense fear of a particular object or situation. This fear is often so intense that being exposed to the feared object or situation will induce a panic attack. Most often, the person with the phobia will avoid that object or situation altogether.

Subtypes of specific phobia include: animal (such as dogs, snakes, or insects), natural environment (such as storms, heights, or waters), blood-injection-injury (such as needles or seeing blood), and situational types (such as flying, elevators, or tunnels).

Learn more about specific phobia from About.com’s Guide to Phobias.

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