A fear is an unpleasant reaction we feel when confronted
with real danger… it is an essential 'fight or flight' instinct,
which makes us prepare to either run away from that danger, or stick
around and fight it out.
A phobia on the other hand (while still a very strong
and unpleasant reaction), is an irrational fear which has been
‘symbolically attached’ to an object, or situation, which
causes little or no real danger.
There will usually be strong avoidance behaviour
connected with the phobia, which will run alongside intense feelings of
anxiety, loss of control and panic.