What is a Specific phobia?

Phobia means experiencing an excessive fear of a specific object, circumstance, or situation. A specific phobia is an intense, persisting fear of an object or situation. The fear or anxiety felt is out of proportion to the actual danger posed by the particular object or situation.

What are the symptoms of Specific phobia?

Symptoms include marked fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, and animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood, etc.), even to the point of panic when exposed to the feared object. The affected person avoids the phobic object or situation. These symptoms should last for six months or more.

How common is Specific phobia?

It is a common psychiatric illness affecting 1 to 3 in 100 persons.

Who gets affected more by it?

Specific phobia is seen twice as common in females than males.

Is it seen in children?

It can be seen in children, especially natural environment type and the blood-injection-injury type seen commonly in 5 to 9 years of age.

What is the treatment?

Outpatient treatment is usually sufficient for most persons who have a specific phobia. Psychotherapy usually involves exposure therapy. In this method, therapists desensitize patients using a series of gradual, self-paced exposures to phobic stimuli coupled with relaxation and cognitive-behavioral approaches include reinforcing the realization that the phobic situation is, in fact, safe. Intense anxiety dealt with sedative medication.