A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal.

Phobias are more pronounced than fears. They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object.

If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that is causing them anxiety. As well as restricting their day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress.

When a person has a phobia, the behaviours that they develop and use prevent them from learning whether the phobic object or situation is, or is not, going to make them anxious. Because of this the phobia remains unchanged.

How can CAMHS help with phobias?

With treatment a therapist can help the patient to overcome their phobia.

During therapy you will develop a supportive relationship with a therapist who will help you overcome your fear by helping you understand about phobias and planning treatment together. They will gradually help you face your fears, with you in control, and enable you to ride the wave of anxiety. This is very much a teamwork approach and you will never be asked to do something that you don’t agree to.

Treatment can improve a person’s ability to enjoy activities they may have avoided because of their phobia with a reduced level of anxiety.

More information

Find more information about phobias at:

NHS - information and advice about phobias

Mind - advice about phobias