Fear vs Phobia: What is the difference between these two mental states? Find Out

Updated on May 12, 2020 12:37 PM IST  |  651.4K
Fear vs Phobia: What is the difference between these two mental states? Find Out
Fear vs Phobia: What is the difference between these two mental states? Find Out

People often get confused with fear and phobia and consider both of them are same. But fear and phobia are two different states of mind and their symptoms are also different from each other. Fear is generally an emotional state where a person perceives something as a threat and experiences sudden behavioural changes. Phobia is considered to be a disorder where the fear becomes irrational and happens on an extreme level with some distinct changes.

Fear is also closely related to anxiety where people start to become tensed and paranoid of a certain threat. So, here are the symptoms, causes and treatments of fear and phobia. Read on to know them below.

What is the difference between fear and phobia?


Fear is an emotional state which is induced by sudden danger or threat. This causes physiological and behavioural changes in us like hiding, fleeing, freezing, etc. It may be caused due to sudden threats or anticipation of a future incident which is observed as a risk by the person experiencing the fear. As fear is closely connected to anxiety, so people experience some of the symptoms of anxiety as well that are as follows:

Feeling nervous and tensed.

Having a sense of danger.


Feeling weak or tired.


Worrying continuously.

Generally, people have a certain level of fear in them. Sometimes, it is also necessary to be scared. But if the fear seems to be increasing every day and making you restless, then you need to worry about it.


Phobia is a type of anxiety disorder where people experience severe and irrational fear of a place, a person or an object. When a person has phobia, they avoid all the circumstances that may create threat for them. They observe the threat to be bigger and more intense than how actually it is. Phobia is a diagnosable disorder.

Types of Phobia

Predominantly, there are three types of phobia and they are as follows:

Specific Phobia: It’s an intense and irrational fear triggered by a specific thing.

Social Phobia or Social Anxiety: It’s a profound fear of being judged by others in society. People with this phobia tend to avoid any large social gathering and this feeling is not the same as normal shyness.

Agoraphobia: This fear triggers from a situation from where people cannot escape. For example, some people feel suffocated to stand in a lift.

Symptoms of Phobia

Uncontrollable anxiety.

An intense feeling of avoiding the source of the fear at any cost.

Unable to function properly when you are triggered.


Abnormal breathing.

Hot flashes or chills.

Choking sensation.

Chest pains.

Dry mouth.





Phobia can also be triggered just by thinking about that situation or the object of the phobia that induces the fear in you. Often you might have noticed that younger children start to cry and become clingy. They try to hide behind their parents. This may be the sign of the phobia which they have thought about.

Complex Phobias

Apart from the basic three types of phobias, there are some other complex phobias which are triggered by different things. They are given below:

Aerophobia- Fear of flying.

Driving phobia- Fear of driving a car.

Claustrophobia- Fear of staying in a locked room.

Arachnophobia- Fear of spiders.

Emetophobia- Fear of vomiting.

Hypochondria- Fear of getting sick.

Zoophobia- Fear from animals.

Aquaphobia- Fear from water.

Acrophobia- Fear from heights.

Blood, injury and injection phobia- Fear from injuries including blood.

Escalaphobia- Fear from escalators.

Tunnel phobia- Fear from tunnels.

Nomophobia- Fear from not having a mobile phone or a computer.

People can develop any kind of phobia from anything. It generally occurs in childhood or teenage. It comes from a stressful experience, frightening event or the parent or a member of the family.


Phobia is a disorder. So, you should always consult a psychiatrist or psychologist to deal with your phobic condition. Avoiding the consultation will worsen the situation.


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