A phobia is an overwhelming and debilitating fear of an object, place, situation, feeling or animal. Phobias are more pronounced than fears. They develop when a person has an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object. If a phobia becomes very severe, a person may organise their life around avoiding the thing that's causing them anxiety. As well as restricting their day-to-day life, it can also cause a lot of distress.
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder. You may not experience any symptoms until you come into contact with the source of your phobia. But in some cases, even thinking about the source of a phobia can make a person feel anxious or panicky. This is known as anticipatory anxiety.
If you do not come into contact with the source of your phobia very often, it may not affect your everyday life. But if you have a complex phobia, such as agoraphobia, leading a normal life may be very difficult.