A specific phobia is characterized by an intense fear of something that poses little or no actual danger. Some of the more common specific phobias include places that are closed-in, heights, escalators, tunnels, highway driving, water, flying. Sometimes phobias can involve an irrational fear of something specific. For example, you may be able to comfortably ski down a tall mountain, yet fear going above the sixth floor of a building. Adults often realize their fears are irrational, however, the thought of facing their fear can bring on a panic attack or severe anxiety.
Specific phobias affect twice as many women as men and usually appear in childhood or adolescence and carry on into adulthood. People with specific phobias are often able to avoid a feared situation or object with ease, however avoidance may interfere with everyday life at home or work and can then become disabling and require treatment.
Treatment of Specific Phobias Specific phobias respond extremely well to psychotherapy when the treatment targets a specific concern.