High bridges, new places, needles, or old elevators may make us a bit uneasy or even frightened. We might try to avoid things that make us uncomfortable, but most people generally manage to control their fears and carry out daily activities without incident.
But people with specific phobias, or strong irrational fear reactions, work hard to avoid common places, situations, or objects even though they know there's no threat or danger. The fear may not make any sense, but they feel powerless to stop it.
People who experience these seemingly excessive and unreasonable fears in the presence of or in anticipation of a specific object, place, or situation have a specific phobia.
Having phobias can disrupt daily routines, limit work efficiency, reduce self-esteem, and place a strain on relationships because people will do whatever they can to avoid the uncomfortable and often-terrifying feelings of phobic anxiety. While some phobias develop in childhood, most seem to arise unexpectedly, usually during adolescence or early adulthood. Their onset is usually sudden, and they may occur in situations that previously did not cause any discomfort or anxiety.
Specific phobias commonly focus on animals, insects, germs, heights, thunder, driving, public transportation, illness, flying, dental or medical procedures, and elevators. Although people with phobias realize that their fear is irrational, even thinking about it can often cause extreme anxiety.
General Phobia Information
- What is Fear of Vomiting or Emetophobia
- Living with the Uncontrollable: Emetophobia - 2022 Personal Story of Triumph
- Overcoming Emetophobia - 2021 Personal Story of Triumph
- How to Free Yourself from the Fear of Vomit and Reclaim Your Life: A Healing Journey Shared by Therapist and Patient - 2020 ADAA on-demand webinar
- How to Get Over It: Fear of Vomiting - ADAA blog post
- Overcoming the Fear of Vomiting- 2017 ADAA on-demand webinar
- Overcoming the Fear of Driving - ADAA blog post
- Overcoming the Fear of Driving - ADAA on-demand webinar
- Up to 40 percent of Americans fear flying. It’s easily treated - The Hill
- Overcoming Fear of Flying in the Bumpy Skies - NYTimes Article
- 8 Steps to Overcoming Your Fear of Flying - ADAA blog post
- How Can I Overcome My Fear of Flying?
- You CAN Overcome a Fear of Needles - ADAA blog post
- What is Health Anxiety
- Health Anxiety: What It is and How to Beat It - ADAA blog post
- Health Anxiety - Part Two: Learn How to Face Your Fear of Death and Overcome Health Anxiety - ADAA on-demand webinar
- Health Anxiety - Part One: What it Is and How You Can Overcome It - ADAA on-demand webinar