Specific Phobia

Specific phobia is characterized by intense, persistent, and unrealistic fear of an identifiable object or situation (e.g., elevators, heights, water, certain animals or insects, blood, needles). A child with a phobia will do whatever he or she can to avoid confrontation with what is feared. When faced with the object or situation the child may express anxiety by crying, tantrums, clinging, or freezing. Since fears are typical among young children, treatment is usually not required unless the fear causes impairment or interference with the child's functioning. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and certain types of medication have been shown to be helpful in the treatment of anxiety disorders.