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Specific phobias are anxiety disorders that are characterized by an extreme fear that is not related to the situation, and that is associated with a strong desire to avoid or escape from it. Specific phobias are limited to specific objects or situations, such as insects, dogs, heights and enclosed spaces, and injecting and seeing blood.

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Important to know about specific phobias

Phobia is an extreme fear that is not related to the situation, and which is associated with a strong desire to avoid or escape from it. 

One may have a phobic fear of:


  1. Specific animals such as snakes, birds, or spiders
  2. Specific situations such as deep water, thunderstorms, or flights
  3. Very much else (...nearly everything is possible to develop phobic fear towards)

In addition, many fear the very panic they know they will experience, as strong anxiety in itself is very upsetting and unpleasant. Also, they may be afraid of fainting, vomiting, losing control or doing something embarrassing and embarrassing when they are frightened.

As with other types of anxiety, phobias are not dangerous, but the anxiety is experienced as unpleasant, and it can have a very inhibiting effect on life development. 

Specific phobia is probably the mental disorder for which there is the most knowledge, and the most effective and documented treatment for. It is important that health personnel in the general health service and the specialist health service can offer such treatment or give advice on how to carry out a self-help program.

The most effective way to reduce phobic anxiety is to expose yourself to it in a planned and systematic way. This is called exposure training. The goal is to get used to the situation and to body reactions you fear because you associate them with panic or fear. There is today a consensus that exposure is the best treatment approach for specific phobias, and that the results are very good for the vast majority of those who complete such treatment. Good results have also been documented in anxiety training as self-help, preferably on the basis of written self-help material. 

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Written by

ove heradstveit

Ove Heradstveit

Psychologist, specialist in clinical community psychology. PhD.
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