How common are specific phobias and who experiences them?
The first symptoms of specific phobias usually arise in childhood or early adolescence.
Children experience a number of common fears as they grow up. These include things like loud noises and strangers (infancy), imaginary creatures and the dark (preschool), natural disasters and animals (early primary school) and illness and death (upper primary school).
Learning to manage these fears is a normal part of growing up. Nevertheless, children, even young children, can develop specific phobias and can even experience panic attacks. Children are more likely to develop specific phobias than other anxiety disorders and are often not aware that their fears are irrational or exaggerated.