Click here to view next page of this article


Specific Phobia

DSM-IV Diagnostic Criteria

Marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, that is caused by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation.

Exposure to the feared stimulus provokes an immediate anxiety response, which may take the form of a panic attack.

Recognition by the patient that the fear is excessive or unreasonable.

The phobic situation is avoided or endured with intense anxiety.

The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared situations interferes with functioning or causes

In individuals under age 18, the duration must be

Symptoms are not caused by another mental disorder (eg, fear of dirt in someone with OCD).

Specify Types of Phobias

Animal (eg, dogs)

Natural Environmental (eg, heights, storms, water)


Situational (eg, airplanes, elevators, enclosed places)

Other (eg, situations that may lead to choking, vomiting)

Clinical Features

Specific phobias may result in a significant restriction of