10 Most Common Phobias People Have

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The Nation Institute of Mental Health states that 10% of adults are struck by phobic disorders of some sort.

While we may think our fears and paranoia are irrational, it’s comforting to know other people share the same vulnerabilities. You’re never alone where phobias are concerned.

There are 400 distinct phobias recognized by psychologists including Papaphobia (Fear of the Pope) and Phobophobia (Fear of having a phobia).

If you’re scared of being watched by a duck, don’t worry, there’s an official phobia listing for that too. Know that you’re not alone in your fear. Traumatic events usually trigger the onset of phobias, and the result is people usually end up avoiding circumstances where they will be exposed to the object of their fear.

Exposure-therapy, relaxation and breathing techniques as well as depressants are used to treat or control reactions towards phobias.

Phobias can begin at any point in your life ranging from your teenage years to your adult years, but severe phobias usually begin at childhood.

According to renowned psychologist Kendra Cherry’s list, these are the most common phobias:


#10: Mysophobia 

Commonly known as the pathological fear of germs, bacteria and contamination; neat freaks, this one is for you. It is also classified as an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Mysophobia is also linked to the constant washing of hands. Colloquially, this is also called bacteriophobia or germophobia. Psychologists state this is not about germs past a particular point but it is about the compulsion to wash one’s hands.


#9: Pteromerhanophobia 

The fear of flying by air induces an anxiety level so high to the extent that they avoid the situation completely. For these people, flying overseas to different countries on different continents becomes impossible.

The most extreme reactions noted are vomiting or induced panic attacks at the sight or even mention of air travel and airplanes. It could be a phobia in itself or a combination of acrophobia (fear of heights) and claustrophobia (fear of closed spaces) that triggers this level of anxiety.

Treatment of this phobia includes system desensitization, the use of anti-anxiety inducing medication like benzodiazepines and relaxant or depressant drugs.

Research and reports of post 9/11 findings show the psychological repercussions on passengers required to fly, one of them being a high intolerance and paralyzation that caused people to stop flying entirely. People began associating the hijack incident with flying.


#8: Social phobia 

These are unlike specific phobia because they encompass a fear of public ridicule and embarrassment in the diagnostic criteria.

Self-consciousness manifests itself as a phobia which controls your actions or performance in public view. This is mostly a phobia that starts at adolescence, an age when people are most concerned with keeping up appearances and fades away in adulthood, when they begin feeling more secure of their achievements.

Many adolescents who develop a social phobia consequently become rejected by their peers. As interpersonal dysfunction is a risk factor for depression, there are some negative outcomes for adolescents with social phobia.

Many people diagnosed with depression also increase their consumption of alcohol and suffer substance abuse.


#7: Trypanophobia

The fear of needles and injections is a common one when people are not used to the exposure to regular vaccinations and trips to the clinic.

It is generally tied to the pain one is afraid to feel after the injection pierces into them, however even the sight of needles is enough to send people with this phobia into a panic attack.

The needle phobia is apparently genetic in some evolutionary form which causes acceleration of heart rate, blood pressure and an increased release of hormones, leading to unconsciousness sometimes.

It is also caused by association where in somebody has watched a family member or friend undergo procedures involving  surgical needles with negative consequences.


#6: Astraphobia

The abnormal fear of thunder and lightning is a type os specific phobia. A person with astraphobia will often feel anxious during a thunderstorm even when they understand that the threat to them is minimal.

Some symptoms are trembling, crying, sweating, panic attacks, increased urination, nausea and rapid heartbeat. People might hide under mattresses, under a bed and completely conceal themselves to calm themselves down from this fear.

 It occurs in many children, and should not be immediately identified as a phobia because children naturally go through many fears as they mature. Research also shows dogs and cats are severely traumatized from loud noises from thunderstorms. 


#5: Cynophobia

Although snakes and spiders are more common animal phobias, cynophobia is especially debilitating because of the high prevalence of dogs (in the United States estimated at over 62 million in 2003).

Drs. Jeanette M. Bruce and William C. Sanderson, in their book Specific Phobias, concluded that the age of onset for animal phobias is usually early childhood, between the ages of five and nine.

Treatment includes systematic desensitization, exposure therapy, self-help and recovery frametime.


#4: Agoraphobia 

The fear that is the polar opposite of clasutrophobia where people fear excessive crowdedness and vast open spaces. Although mostly thought to be a fear of public places, it is now believed that agoraphobia develops as a complication of panic attacks.

In response to a traumatic event, anxiety may interrupt the formation of memories and disrupt the learning processes, resulting in dissociation.


#3: Acrophobia

A personal victim of this phobia for most of my life myself, I can attest to the fact that symptoms including severe rapid heartbeat.

Between 2 and 5 percent of the general population suffer from acrophobia, with twice as many women affected as men.Most people experience a degree of natural fear when exposed to heights, especially if there is little or no protection.A possible contributing factor is dysfunction in maintaining balance.

Many different types of medications are used in the treatment of phobias like fear of heights, including traditional anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines, and newer options like antidepressants and beta-blockers.

Drugs can seem very effective in the short term, but they are not a cure. Anxiety medication can provide temporary relief, but it doesn’t treat the underlying cause of the disorder.

#2: Ophidiophobia

A specific phobia that involves an abnormal fear of snakes, if this isn’t a “severe phobia”, it is a mild fear most of us experience.

Recent studies conducted have theorised that humans may have an innate reaction to snakes, which was vital for the survival of humankind as it allowed such dangerous threats to be identified immediately.

#1: Arachnophobia

Ron Weasley wasn’t the only one who feared poisonous, venomous looking spiders.One view, especially held in evolutionary psychology is that the presence of venomous spiders led to the evolution of a fear of spiders or made acquisition of a fear of spiders especially easy.


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