What is the age distribution for specific phobia?

Updated: Mar 27, 2019
  • Author: Nita V Bhatt, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

In general, specific phobia appears earlier than social phobia or agoraphobia. The age of onset depends on the particular phobia. For example, animal phobia is most common at the elementary school level and appears at a mean age of 7 years; blood phobia appears at a mean age of 9 years; dental phobia appears at a mean age of 12 years; and claustrophobia appears at a mean age of 20 years. Most simple (specific) phobias develop during childhood (median age at illness onset, 15 years). [30] and eventually disappear. Those that persist into adulthood rarely go away without treatment.

New-onset anxiety symptoms in older adults should prompt a search for an unrecognized general medical condition, a substance abuse disorder, or major depression with secondary anxiety symptoms.


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