3 doctors weighed in:
What’s the difference between a fear and a phobia?
3 doctors weighed in

Dr. Latisha Smith
Wound care
1 doctor agrees
In brief:
Fear is felt to be a normal protective mechanism. Fear is what causes us to walk slowly to keep from stumbling when it is too dark to see.
A phobia is an abnormal fear that keeps the sufferer from normal activities. Someone with a phobia of heights would not be able to use a ladder at all. A non-phobic fear of fear of heights makes people be very careful when climbing on ladders.

In brief:
Fear is felt to be a normal protective mechanism. Fear is what causes us to walk slowly to keep from stumbling when it is too dark to see.
A phobia is an abnormal fear that keeps the sufferer from normal activities. Someone with a phobia of heights would not be able to use a ladder at all. A non-phobic fear of fear of heights makes people be very careful when climbing on ladders.
Dr. Latisha Smith
Dr. Latisha Smith
Thank
Dr. Richard Levenson
Clinical Psychology
In brief: Fears
Fears are rational and may be based on exposure to real events, while phobias are irrational.
Both can be helped with cognitive behavioral methods.

In brief: Fears
Fears are rational and may be based on exposure to real events, while phobias are irrational.
Both can be helped with cognitive behavioral methods.
Dr. Richard Levenson
Dr. Richard Levenson
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Adam Smith
Board Certified,
13 years in practice
382K people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors