A specific phobia is defined as the intense, irrational fear of a specific object, such as a dog, or a situation, such as flying. Fears of animals, situations and natural occurrences are common in childhood, and often go away. A phobia is diagnosed if the fear persists for at least 6 months and interferes with a child's daily routine. An example of this is a child who refuses to play outdoors for fear of encountering a dog. Common childhood phobias include:
- The Dark
- Medical procedures
Unlike adults with specific phobias, children do not usually recognize that their fear is irrational or out of proportion to the situation, and they may not articulate their fears. Children will avoid situations or things that they fear, or endure them with anxious feelings, which can manifest as:
Reprinted with the permission of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America.
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