What Is Specific Phobia?

Specific phobia is a fear of a particular object, animal, or situation. The fear is great enough that you wish to avoid the situation or experience it only with considerable anxiety. Fears and phobias are very common. In a recent national survey, 60% of the people interviewed reported that they feared some situation or thing. The most common fears were fears of bugs, mice, snakes, bats, heights, water, public transportation, storms, closed spaces, tunnels, and bridges. Many people reported that they feared several things and that they consciously avoided them. In fact, over 11% of the people indicated that their fears qualified as specific phobias. That is their fears were persistent and associated with intense anxiety; they avoided or wanted to avoid certain situations; they realized that their fears were excessive or unreasonable; and their fears resulted in distress and difficulty in their normal lives.