Specific Phobia: Diagnosis

To be diagnosed with specific phobia a child will exhibit exceptional fear of something not normally considered dangerous, and avoiding the object of that fear will cause significant impairment to her ordinary functioning. The fear or anxiety must occur nearly very time the child encounters the stimulus, but the response may vary in intensity, from anticipatory dread to a full-blown panic attack. It’s common to for individuals to have multiple specific phobias, each triggered by a different stimulus.

Specific phobias are commonly classified in five categories: Animal Type, if the phobia concerns animals or insects; Natural Environment Type, if the phobia concerns objects such as storms, heights or water; Blood-Injection-Injury Type, if the phobia concerns receiving an injection or seeing blood or an injury; Situational Type, if the phobia concerns a specific situation like flying, driving, tunnels, bridges, enclosed space or public transportation; and Other Type, if the phobia concerns other stimuli such as loud sounds, costumed characters, choking, or vomiting.