Infoline: 08444 775 774*

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Text Service: 07537 416 905

Infoline: 08444 775 774*

Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5.30pm

Text Service: 07537 416 905


About phobias

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.

Specific phobias


Monophobics typically fear being left alone as they worry about having a panic attack and having to cope alone without their “support” person. This phobia is often associated with agoraphobia and panic disorder.


Trypanophobic sufferers feel panic, revulsion and symptoms of anxiety at the thought of an injection, let alone the sight of a syringe and needle. Sufferers may pass out during the course of having an injection because of intense anxiety.

Sexual phobia

Sexual phobias are often very complex phobias covering many different aspects of sexual relationships. Types of sexual phobia may include:

  • Fear of losing control of yourself & bodily functions
  • Fear of being inadequate
  • Fear of infection
  • Fear of becoming pregnant
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Fear of having abnormal gentials

Blushing phobia

Sufferers find that their blushing is not controllable, and is often severe enough to apparently be noticed by others. The attention that sufferers receive as a consequence of blushing creates more nervousness, and in turn more blushing. This particular phobia is associated with social phobia.

Driving phobia

There are many different aspects to this phobia, which seems to be becoming more prevalent as roads get busier. Some people find it hard to cope with the speed of modern day road travel, others fear traffic jams and avoid situations when driving where they feel ‘trapped’ and unable to escape. What sufferers have in common is the fear of having a panic attack whilst driving and of losing control of themselves or their vehicle.

How we can help

Anxiety UK is a user-led charity with more than forty years experience in supporting those living with anxiety. By becoming a member of Anxiety UK, you will have access to a range of benefits, including:

  • Access to reduced cost therapy within two weeks of submitting your therapy request
  • One year’s free subscription to Headspace (worth approx. £60), more details
  • Access to our infoline, email, text and live chat services (available Monday-Friday, 9:30 am – 5:30 pm) staffed by volunteers with personal experience of anxiety
  • Receipt of four issues of Anxious Times, our quarterly members” magazine
  • Access to the members only section of our website, featuring regular support surgeries facilitated by anxiety experts
  • Access to specialist helplines, including the psychiatric pharmacy helpline

And many, many other benefits that will help you manage your anxiety long term. To become a member of Anxiety UK click here or ring 08444 775 774 today.

Want to know more?

The Anxiety UK site has information on a range of resources to provide more detailed information and help.

Anxiety UK Publications
  • Anxiety UK publishes a fact sheet and audio-tapes dealing with specific phobias. These are available from the Anxiety UK online shop

Anxiety UK relies on donations to keep its services running. If you found this information useful please make a donation – no amount is too small.


Phobias Information Video

Find out how phobias can affect people’s lives, how they cope and how it can be treated on the NHS Choices website.

Personal experience

Do you suffer from specific phobias and want to share your experience with other people? Post your personal experience in the comments box below where it will be sent to our moderator for approval. Many people find this part of the site very useful when trying to understand their disorder so your comments really do make a difference. Please note, all comments submitted to the Anxiety UK website may be used by Anxiety UK for (but not limited to) publicity and promotional material.

If you would like to make contact with others who are living with similar experiences, you can do so via the Anxiety UK Pen-Pals scheme which is a service available to all Anxiety UK members (in both electronic and hard copy format).