A specific phobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by an excessive or unreasonable anxiety or fear surrounding specific situations, people, animals, or things.
Anxiety may be triggered by being around the feared thing, by anticipating being around the feared thing. When a person with a specific phobia comes into contact with the thing they fear, they can often show visible signs of distress. Sometimes when confronted with their fear, or when anticipating it, they can have a panic attack. Many people with specific phobias go to great lengths to avoid what they fear, which can greatly disrupt their daily life.
Maria has only vomited once in her life, as a little girl, yet she is terrified of vomiting. Her fear seems to have gotten worse since she arrived at college. She's not sure exactly how her fear of vomit developed, but she knows that she is afraid of the physical sensation of vomiting, and wants to avoid doing it at all costs.
Maria avoids many things due to her fear of vomiting. She does not drink alcohol due to the fear of vomiting, nor does she attend parties where alcohol may be present. She also avoids people who are sick, due to the fear that they may vomit, or make her sick. She also avoids eating foods that she is afraid may make her vomit. After eating, she often finds herself checking to see whether or not she is nauseous. Maria has found that this fear greatly impedes her life at college, as it makes it hard for her to eat, drink, and socialize normally with her classmates.
There are four main categories of specific phobias:
1. Animal Type - Common Examples include
2. Natural Environment Type
3. Situational Type
4. Blood/Injection/Injury Type
Here at the BWC we are committed to empirically-supported treatments. In other words, the treatments that we use have been shown, through careful research, to work for many, if not most, people.
We have found that while avoidance of what provokes our anxiety may make us feel better right now, over time it allows these situations, thoughts, and emotions to stay "scary" and therefore for anxiety about them to keep coming back. In therapy for specific phobias we aim to combat this avoidance in a few different ways.
Behavioral Wellness Clinic &
Delaware Valley OCD Clinic
225 Wilmington West Chester Pike
Chadds Ford, PA 19317
Phone: (484) 324-2749
Contact us by email
Clinical Director: Monnica Williams, PhD
Office Manager: Jasmine Terwilliger
Business Manager: Matthew Jahn