Diagnostic criteria, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV (DSM- IV) include:

  • For those under 18, the duration of the following is at least 6 months:
    • Excessive unreasonable fear caused by the presence of a specific object
    • Exposure to the object provokes an anxiety response. In children the response may be expressed by crying, tantrums, freezing or clinging
    • Children may not recognize that the fear is excessive
    • The phobic situation is avoided or endured with intense anxiety
    • The phobic reaction interferes significantly with the person’s life