How do you tell if you have a phobia of something as opposed to just a dislike or normal fear?
Most people do not have a phobia even though they think they have.
Therefore to say you have a phobia you need to tick all of the following boxes:
- You have a fear of an object or situation, and
- an irrational,
- intense, and
- obessive wish to avoid that object or situation. In short you will do almost anything to avoid the situation or object.
To be classed as a phobia the fear has to be a lot more than just a disike of or a fear of something. So for example someone with Dystychiphobia - a fear of accident will go to almost any lengths to avoid an accident to the extent they will become obsessive about safety. They will check and double check things. They won't fly and frequently won't go in cars or on escelators for fear of an accident. The thing that makes a fear a phobia is the irrational, intense and excessive desire to avoid the thing the person is afraid of.
A quick test is: Does your fear of the object or situation consume significant parts of your life trying to avoid it or obsessing (worrying contantly) that you will encounter that thing? If you can answer yes to this question then you may well have a phobia.
See the full A - Z list of Phobias
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