A specific phobia is an irrational fear of a specific object or situation. When exposed to the phobic stimulus, immediate anxiety occurs. Sometimes such exposure can even cause a panic attack. The most common specific phobia is the fear of public speaking.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV delineates the following common specific subtypes:
- Animal Type — usually triggered by animals or insects. This type usually begins in childhood.
- Natural Enviroment Type — storms, heights, water. This type usually begins in childhood.
- Blood Injection Injury Type — seeing blood, injections or other invasive medical procedures. This type is usually familial.
- Situational Type — public transportation, tunnels, elevators, flying, enclosed spaces, etc. Onset usually begins in childhood or the mid-20s.
There are other specific phobias that do not fit into these four categories.
We once worked with a young teen who could not sleep with his back to the bedroom door. He was not afraid to sleep facing the door. Nor was he afraid of the dark or being home by himself. It took us two sessions of EMDR to eradicate this phobia.
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Getting help with phobias.
Types of Phobias
Causes and Treatment of Phobias
How do phobias develop and what can be done to treat them?
A lot can be done by those who have a phobia to reduce or eliminate it.
Afraid of What?
An example of how we help people with phobias.