Someone’s knocking on the door. We’re home alone and it is 2 in the morning. We have not been expecting anyone. The light on the porch is not working. I wonder who it is. Here they’re knocking again. We try to listen. Someone’s breathing heavily behind the door. We can only see deep darkness on the other side of the peephole. We can hear how our hearts beat in the darkness. It is louder than the bark of other neighbor George’s dog coming from the building next door. Sweat pops on our foreheads… This should be enough. Let’s stop here. Did you get the same feeling we had while you were reading this? Probably. Well, this is called fear. We experience it with some periodicity in certain situations, when there is a well-recognized real object – a possible source of danger. The situation is clear and the fear is adequate and justified. The case is not the same with phobias. In case of the latter, the manifestation of fear, as well as its intensity, is not adequate to the situation or the object of danger. Phobia is a consistent fear for a phenomenon or an object, which forces us to avoid facing that phenomenon or object of fear. This, however, does not lead to decrease in the level of fear even in cases, when we understand how absurd that fear is.
- Obvious fear or anxiety related to a specific object or situation.
- The specific object or situation always creates immediate fear and anxiety.
- We avoid facing that object or situation.
- The fear or anxiety are not adequate to the real danger the object or the situation represents.
- The fear, anxiety or avoidance behavior has been there for at least 6 months.
- The fear, anxiety or avoidance cause distress or difficulty in social, work or other important environments.