Are you scared of anything? Perhaps snakes, or heights, or maybe you get stagefright? It is called a phobia when you have an intense, irrational fear of a situation or object that causes extreme anxiety and often panic attacks. Specific phobias, for example aerophobia (fear of flying), affect around one in ten people. Phobias about animals, for example arachnophobia (fear of spiders), usually start between the ages of 3 and 8.