Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Phobias

1-minute read

Phobias are persistent and extreme fears that are out proportion with the actual threat posed. 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. Common specific phobias include those related to animals (e.g. snakes and spiders) and situational phobias, like fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) or travelling in aeroplanes.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2020


Back To Top

Recommended links

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Top results

Childhood phobias

Find out more about childhood phobias, what you can do to overcome your child's fears and when you may need to consult a professional for your child's phobia.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Social phobia - Beyond Blue

Social phobia can be generalised into a fear of social situations

Read more on Beyond Blue website

Specific phobias - Beyond Blue

People with specific phobias are often aware that their fears are exaggerated or irrational, but feel their reaction is automatic or uncontrollable

Read more on Beyond Blue website

How To Deal With Phobias and Being Scared | THIS WAY UP

Do you have an overwhelming and irrational fear of something? You may be suffering from a phobia. Learn more about phobias.

Read more on This Way Up website

How To Deal With Social Anxiety, Social Phobia and Shyness | THIS WAY UP

Having difficulty interacting with people? Does shyness impact heavily on your life? Learn about social anxiety and how to deal with it.

Read more on This Way Up website

Claustrophobia - Better Health Channel

With appropriate treatment, it is possible to overcome claustrophobia or any other phobia.

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Social anxiety disorder - myDr.com.au

Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) causes people to feel anxious at the prospect of everyday social interactions and causes symptoms such as trembling and sweating.

Read more on myDr website

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders in Australia. One in four people will experience an anxiety disorder at some stage of their lives.

Read more on Australian College of Mental Health Nurses website

Childhood anxieties and fears

Passing anxieties and fears in children are normal. Find out out some anxiety causes, anxiety symptoms in children and when you should seek help.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Learn the facts about Social Anxiety | WayAhead Fact Sheet

Social Anxiety Disorder is an intense fear, and often avoidance, of social situations that could result in negative judgments by other people.

Read more on WayAhead Mental Health Association NSW website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information and advice

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo