Phobias are persistent, irrational fears of certain objects or situations. Phobias occur in several forms; the fear associated with a phobia can focus on a particular object (specific phobia) or be a fear of embarrassment in a public setting (social phobia).

People who have phobias often are so overwhelmed by their anxiety that they avoid the feared objects or situations.

There are four general types of phobias and fears:

  • Animal phobias – examples include the fear of snakes, spiders, rodents, and dogs.
  • Natural environment phobias- examples include fear of heights, storms, water, and of the dark.
  • Situational phobias (fears triggered by a specific situation)- examples include  fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), flying, driving, dentist, tunnels, and bridges.
  • Bodily phobia – This is the fear of blood, injury, or needles, or other medical procedures, vomit.

The symptoms of a phobia can range from mild feelings of apprehension and anxiety to a full-blown panic attack. Typically, the closer you are to the thing you’re afraid of, the greater your fear will be. Your fear will also be higher if getting away is difficult.

Physical signs and symptoms

Difficulty breathing
Racing or pounding heart
Chest pain or tightness
Trembling or shaking
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
A churning stomach
Hot or cold flashes; tingling sensations
Emotional signs and symptoms


Physical signs and symptoms

Feeling of overwhelming anxiety or panic
Feeling an intense need to escape
Feeling “unreal” or detached from yourself
Fear of losing control or going crazy
Feeling like you’re going to die or pass out
Knowing that you’re overreacting, but feeling powerless to control your fear

How common are Phobias?

  • An estimated 13% of the adult population will develop a specific form of anxiety known as a phobia at some point in their lives
  • Young children have more fears and phobias than adults, and experience the emotion of them more intensely

How can we help?

You will first need an assessment with one of our therapists. You will have an opportunity to talk about your difficulties and what situation you are facing and decide what best suits your needs via the telephone or in person.

To speak to someone in confidence for advice or to arrange an appointment please contact our team on Freephone 0800 230 0688

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