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What is Specific Phobia?


Updated May 29, 2010


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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