People with phobias experience strong and persistent fear in response to being in the presence of or in anticipation of a specific object or situation (for example flying, needles/injections, heights, observing blood, undergoing medical tests/procedures, animals).
Exposure to or anticipation of exposure triggers an immediate anxiety reaction which may culminate in a panic attack.
As is often the case with anxiety disorders, adults usually recognise the fear is extreme, but children often do not.
Characteristic of most anxiety disorders, the person either avoids the phobic trigger or endures it with great distress. People often live with phobias for many years unaware that treatment is available.