Specific Phobia

  • John R. Vanin
Part of the Current Clinical Practice book series (CCP)
Specific phobia, formerly called simple phobia, is an anxiety disorder characterized by a marked and persistent fear of specific objects, situations, or activities [1, 2, 3]. Patients know their fear is excessive or unreasonable but are unable to overcome it. The possibility of encountering a phobic stimulus causes anticipatory anxiety. The individual either avoids or endures the object or situation with dread [2]. Ultimately this may lead to great distress or impairment in functioning and to a disorder [4]. Tables 8.1 and 8.2 list the diagnostic criteria for specific phobia [1] and the different subtypes [1,2].
Table 8.1.

Diagnostic criteria for specific phobia

• Excessive or unreasonable fear that is marked and persistent

• Fear is cued by the anticipation of or the presence of the specific object or situation

• An immediate anxiety response usually occurs with exposure to the phobic stimulus; the anxiety may take the form of a panic attack

• Recognition that the fear is excessive...


Anxiety Disorder Social Phobia Fear Conditioning Panic Disorder Panic Attack 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Humana Press 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. Vanin
    • 1
  1. 1.West Virginia University Student Health ServiceMorgantownUSA

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