The DSM-5 diagnostic code for a specific phobia is based on the phobic stimulus:

  • 300.29 for a phobia towards an animal (e.g., spiders, insects, dogs), natural environment (e.g., heights, storms, water), or blood-injection-injury (e.g., needles, invasive medical procedures).
  • 300.29 if the phobia is situational (e.g., airplanes, elevators, enclosed places) or other (e.g., situations that may lead to choking or vomiting; in children, e.g., loud sounds or costumed characters).

It is common for individuals to have multiple specific phobias. The average individual with specific phobia fears three objects or situations, and approximately 75% of individuals with specific phobia fear more than one situation or object. In such cases, multiple specific phobia diagnoses, each with its own diagnostic code reflecting the phobic stimulus, would need to be given. For example, if an individual fears thunderstorms and flying, then two diagnoses would be given: specific phobia, natural environment, and specific phobia, situational.


This criteria has been updated for the current DSM-5 (2013).