A. Marked and persistent fear that is excessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood).
B.Exposure to the phobic stimulus almost invariably provokes an immediate anxiety response, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally predisposed Panic Attack.
Note: In children, the anxiety may be expressed by crying, tantrums, freezing, or clinging.
C. The person recognizes that the fear is excessive or unreasonable. Note: In children, this feature may be absent.
D. The phobic situation(s) is avoided or else is endured with intense anxiety or distress.
E. The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress in the feared situation(s) interferes significantly with the person's normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
F. In individuals under age 18 years, the duration is at least 6 months.
G. The anxiety, Panic Attacks, or phobic avoidance associated with the specific object or situation are not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g., fear of dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (e.g., avoidance of stimuli associated with a severe stressor),Separation Anxiety Disorder (e.g., avoidance of school), Social Phobia (e.g., avoidance of social situations because of fear of embarrassment), Panic Disorder with Agoraphobia, or Agoraphobia Without History of Panic Disorder.
Someone suffering from a specific phobia will be someone who will have intense fear and anxiety that is unreasonable for the given situation. This unreasonable fear however, must be about a specific item or event, such as flying, public speaking, vomiting, getting sick, snakes, spiders, lions, tigers or bears.
Often times someone with a specific phobia goes a long way to make sure they do not encounter what they are afraid of, and can be struck with worry or fear just at the thought of the item or event.
Anxiety disorders are caused by our minds desire to prepare for the future. Being smart and emotional creatures, we have developed a benefit to understanding what “might” happen in the future so that we can be prepared for it.
Specific phobia disorders are caused when someone has a high amount of anxiety, and they find an item or an event that has caused them great distress in their past and focus their attention on this. Over time, as they continue to teach their minds and bodies to be afraid of the item or event, the phobia and physical responses to the feared event continue to get worse.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is the only true form of “cure” for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Some medications can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety, but they are not a cure – talk to your primary care physician for more information. However, we recommend using medications in the treatment of general anxiety disorder only in combination with talk therapy.