Specific Phobias


Specific phobias occur when someone develops a sudden irrational fear of a situation or object that causes intense fear and avoidance. Only about 30% of those who suffer from specific phobias have a traumatic onset, such as fearing dogs after being bitten by a dog. For most, the fear just occurs spontaneously during childhood.  Specific phobias can be about any situation or be associated with any object. Examples of typical phobias are fear of heights, needles, flying, enclosed spaces, dental procedures, spiders, snakes or people wearing masks. In order to be diagnosed, the phobia has to interfere with the patient’s ability to do necessary daily tasks or causes them to plan their life around avoiding things that trigger their fear.


Exposure therapy is the treatment of choice for specific phobias and can result in a rapid and lasting cure. Exposure therapy can take place in weekly sessions, in intensive daily sessions, or in a single session. Some specific phobias can be successfully treated in a single several hours long session when the patient has the determination to overcome their fear rapidly.  Exposure therapy involves gradually practicing the situations that provoke the phobia until anxiety subsides.

The Anxiety Treatment Center of Greater Chicago staff helps patients successfully practice the situations that phobias makes difficult, whether it be driving, flying, riding elevators, or completing medical or dental procedures. Staff at The Anxiety Treatment Center of Greater Chicago have specialized experience in helping patients overcome medical or dental phobias so that patients can successfully and confidently complete medical tests, procedures, surgeries or vaccinations that they have been avoiding.

For More Information:

Globe1 Anxiety and Depression Association of America – Specific Phobias
Globe1 National Alliance on Mental Illness – Specific Phobias


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