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Phobias are persistent, irrational fears. A phobia may be of an object or situation, with a strong desire to avoid the fear and, in some cases, an inability to function at normal tasks (such as a job or a social situation).

Phobias are among several anxiety disorders, which also include panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. Unlike general anxiety disorders, a phobia is usually connected with something specific.

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Last reviewed: August 2016

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