Specific Phobia

Specific phobia is a diagnosis in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), applied to individuals who have a persistent and intense fear of a particular object or situation that is out of proportion to the actual danger. Individuals with a specific phobia often experience significant distress about having the fear, and the phobia greatly interferes with social, academic, occupational, or other important areas of function. Specific phobia is an important topic with respect to abnormal and clinical psychology because it is the most commonly experienced anxiety disorder. This entry addresses the following aspects of this disorder: (a) symptoms, (b) types, (c) development and course, (d) prevalence, (e) etiology, (f) comorbid conditions, and (g) treatment.


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