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Search Health Information    Specific Phobias

Specific Phobias

Topic Overview

A specific phobia is an extreme fear of a specific object or situation that is not harmful under usual conditions. People with specific phobias may be afraid of:

  • Common objects, such as animals or insects. For example, they may fear dying after being bitten by a spider (arachnophobia).
  • Natural events. For example, they may fear thunder and being struck by lightning (astrapophobia), drowning in water (hydrophobia), or falling from high places (acrophobia).
  • Common situations. For example, they may fear being closed in (claustrophobia) or they may fear crashing when flying in an airplane.
  • Seeing blood (hemophobia). People who have this phobia often faint when they need to give a blood sample, have an operation, or are in pain.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Lisa S. Weinstock, MD - Psychiatry
Last Revised July 11, 2011

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