Even though millions of people live with them, phobias remain a misunderstood disorder. A specific phobia is, by nature, triggered by a specific object, place, or situation.

Unlike generalized anxiety disorder, people with a specific phobia are not consumed by pervasive worry and fear. However, a phobia can have a very real impact on a person's daily functioning and quality of life. Get the facts and learn how to cope with your persistent fears.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the 10 top phobias?

    The following phobias are 10 of the most common objects or situations that lead to marked fear and symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and breathlessness: arachnophobia (fear of spiders), ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), acrophobia (fear of heights), aerophobia (fear of flying), cynophobia (fear of dogs), astraphobia (fear of thunder and lightning), trypanophobia (fear of injections), social phobia, agoraphobia (fear of being alone), mysophobia (fear of germs and dirt).

  • How common are phobias?

    Phobias are one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Approximately 10% of people in the U.S. have specific phobias, 7.1% experience social phobias, and 0.9% have agoraphobia. It's possible that these numbers are low since mental disorders are often underreported in the U.S. 

  • What's the best way to get over a phobia?

    Consult with your healthcare provider or trained mental health professional about any fear that seems severe or affects your life. Many phobias can be treated in just a few sessions using a combination of therapy techniques and, possibly, medications.

    You may learn coping techniques and strategies, confront the root of your fear or work through a process known as systematic desensitization in which you are gradually exposed to the object of your fear.

Page Sources
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  1. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Specific Phobias.

  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Specific phobia.

  3. MedlinePlus. Phobias.