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A phobia is a strong fear of an object or event that drives a person to avoid it, despite that there is little or no danger. This level of fear surpasses normal aversion when faced by stimulus that carries a suggestion of danger, as the intense anxiety of a phobia can trigger a panic attack. Clinically, phobias are divided into three groups: specific phobias, such as a fear of an animal, social phobia, the fear of negative social evaluation, and agoraphobia, the fear of leaving home and having a panic attack.

A phobic response is one of sympathetic nervous system arousal mediated in part by the amygdala.