Symptoms of having a specific phobia often include uncomfortable and terrifying feelings of anxiety:

  • a feeling of imminent danger or doom
  • the need to escape
  • heart palpitations
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • shortness of breath or a smothering feeling
  • a feeling of choking
  • chest pain or discomfort
  • nausea or abdominal discomfort
  • feeling faint, dizzy or lightheaded
  • a sense of things being unreal, depersonalization
  • a fear of losing control or “going crazy”
  • a fear of dying
  • tingling sensation
  • chills or heat flush

Screen yourself or a family member for a specific phobia.

It’s important to note the difference between everyday anxiety and a phobia:

Everyday Anxiety

Feeling queasy while climbing a tall ladder Refusing to attend your best friend’s wedding because it’s on the 25th floor of a hotel
Worrying about taking off in an airplane during a lightning storm Turning down a big promotion because it involves air travel
Feeling anxious around your neighbor’s pit bull Avoiding visiting your neighbors for fear of seeing a dog


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ADAA is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety and mood disorders, OCD, and PTSD and to improving the lives of all people who suffer from them through education, practice, and research.


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