Phobias

What is a Phobia?

A specific phobia is an irrational fear of a particular thing or a particular situation. Common fears in childhood include thunderstorms, dogs, spiders, darkness, needles, heights, elevators and enclosed spaces, or costumed characters like clowns. Exposure to these situations/objects typically results in an excessive anxiety response that is deemed age-inappropriate (e.g., screaming, crying, clinging), with physical symptoms (e.g., increased heart rate, sweating, shortness of breath, stomach discomfort, sweating), and avoidance of the feared situation/object. Like many childhood anxieties, children often grow out of these fears. However, if your child’s fear is interfering with their daily life, goes on for longer than six months, or is greater than that of same-aged peers, it is best to seek professional help. Phobias tend to develop early in life, around the age of seven, and are one the most common anxiety disorders in children.

Symptom Checklist

  • Does your child experience excessive fear of a particular object or situation that is greater than that of their same-aged peers?
  • Does your child display anticipatory dread, anxiety or panic attacks in response to a particular object or situation?
  • Does your child cry in response to the feared object/situation or have temper tantrums to avoid what they fear?
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