Children with specific phobias have excessive fears of particular objects or situations such as the dark, animals, heights or blood. When confronted with the specific stimulus, the children become anxious and distressed. As with the other anxiety disorders, children with specific phobias will avoid the feared object or situation whenever they can, or endure it with anxiety. These patterns of fear and avoidance can interfere with the young person’s normal routine. In making a diagnosis, however, it is important to remember that mild fears during childhood are fairly common and should not be confused with phobias. Fears are considered to be specific phobias only if the degree of anxiety and avoidance is clearly excessive compared to other children their age, and interferes markedly with areas of life functioning.
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