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What is it?

A phobia is an irrational fear of an object/situation that would not normally trouble most people. As the name suggests, simple/specific phobias are phobias that are about specific objects or situations. They can be quite distinct in nature and easily identified. For example, fear of spiders, fear of thunderstorms or fear of heights.

Any phobia may produce a state of panic when the sufferer is confronted with the phobic object/situation. A wide variety of physical symptoms are experienced such as nausea, increased heartbeat and jelly legs. For this reason, many people with simple or specific phobias enter into a pattern of avoidance which can vary enormously in severity from someone who would not want to touch a spider, to someone who cannot even look at a picture of a spider in magazines, and therefore has to vet everything they come into contact with. The latter demonstrates just how debilitating even a simple phobia can be.

DIY self diagnosis

If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by a phobia.
  • Do you feel an intense fear towards a specific object or situation?
  • Do you go out of your way to avoid that particular object or situation?
  • Do you get feelings of freezing, wanting to escape or worrying that you may pass out if you come into contact with that object or situation?
Anxiety UK strongly advises that people seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis.


List of Phobias Fact Sheet

This fact sheet gives a detailed list of phobias.
Download Free

Recommended resources

Fast Facts 1: Anxiety, Panic and Phobias is written by international experts, where they review anxiety disorders in which anxiety is a main feature. You can purchase you copy from the Anxiety UK shop here.

Controlling Anxiety is a CD designed to help you build up techniques for reducing your anxiety and relaxing. You can order yours here.

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