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Specific Phobia


Specific phobia is a condition that causes a strong fear of a specific object or situation. You may have severe anxiety or fear when you are faced with that object or situation. You know you have these feelings, but you cannot talk yourself out of them. You may avoid certain objects or activities. Specific phobia can interfere with your daily activities.



  • Medicines may help treat your phobia and keep you calm and relaxed.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Manage your phobia:

  • Keep a record of how you feel when you face your fear. Write down any signs and symptoms, including what you did to cope with your fear. The log will help you and your healthcare provider see if you have less fear over time. Take the log with you to your follow-up visits.
  • Learn more about specific phobia. Ask your healthcare provider where to find more information about specific phobia. Ask for the names of books that might help you manage worry and anxiety.
  • Practice being around things that you fear while in a familiar environment. Use the techniques you learned in therapy to cope with your fear. Continue to practice facing your fears, even after treatment. This will help decrease the chances of your specific phobia returning.

Go to therapy:

  • Exposure, or desensitization, therapy helps you face a feared object or situation in a controlled setting. During this therapy, you are slowly placed in contact with the feared object or situation. The goal of this therapy is to help decrease your anxiety until you can control your fear.
  • Cognitive therapy helps you learn which thoughts bring anxiety. It can help you change these thoughts to make them more positive.
  • Relaxation therapy includes exercises to calm your body or tense your muscles to prevent yourself from fainting.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have new symptoms since you last saw your healthcare provider.
  • Your worry keeps you from doing tasks, such as work, or caring for yourself or your family.
  • You feel depressed.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek immediate care or call 911 if:

  • You feel lightheaded or dizzy, or you faint.
  • You have sudden trouble breathing, chest pain, or a fast heartbeat.
  • You want to harm yourself or others.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.