Some phobias are well-known and others are less known, despite being real and debilitating. Phobias can affect your daily life, limit your activities, and hold you back from living life to the fullest.
The scope and effect of phobias are often minimized, making the sufferer feel invalidated and poorly about themselves. Here are some phobias to learn about.
1. Emetophobia- The fear of vomiting
The fear of vomiting includes being afraid of yourself or someone else throwing up, even if it is on-screen. People with emetophobia often take preventative measures to not encounter vomit. Avoidances can range from not eating food from restaurants for fear of food poisoning, or being afraid of pregnancy due to the nausea and vomiting that may come along with morning sickness.
2. Nomophobia- The fear of not having mobile connectivity
The thought or the action of being without a phone, or even of a dying phone battery, can result in a physical reaction including higher blood pressure, fast heartbeat, and other anxiety-related symptoms. People with nomophobia often have a very unhealthy addiction to mobile phones, texting and social media.
3. Phobophobia- The fear of developing a phobia
A person with phobophobia may already have a couple of phobias or could have none except phobophobia. They excessively worry that they might develop a phobia. Experts consider it as a fear of fear itself. This can become a vicious and anxiety provoking cycle. Hence, it is usually associated with anxiety disorders. People with phobophobia will avoid anything anxiety-provoking to stay in their comfort zone.
4. Carcinophobia- The fear of getting cancer
Nobody wants cancer, and everyone fears it. However, people with carcinophobia go to great lengths to avoid cancer. They avoid possible causes of cancer from smoking, deodorants to smartphones. They avoid carcinogens and are often hypochondriacs. They may be extremely paranoid that any physical sensation could be a sign of cancer, or that any lump or bump may be a tumor.
5. Vehophobia- The fear of driving
It develops in people who have gotten in or witnessed car accidents. Some may be fine driving with someone else, but if they needed to drive somewhere by themselves, they’d be paralyzed with fear. Additionally, they may deal with other driving specific fears, like highways or freeways. Vehophobia can coexist with concerns about losing control or dying. It can severely hinder somebody’s life and freedom.
6. Aichmophobia- The fear of sharp objects
People may have specific sharp objects that they fear, like newly sharpened pencils. This can lead to avoidance of aspects of everyday life like using knives while cooking or getting necessary injections.
7. Ommetaphobia- The fear of eyes
This fear can include multiple scenarios ranging from looking into someone else’s eyes, or having your eyes touched by a doctor. It can result in health problems if an eye issue comes up. They refuse to let a doctor touch their eyes, look at them and even refuse glasses or contacts.
8. Arachnophobia- The fear of spiders and other arachnids
The sight, image or thought of an arachnid can trigger fear an anxiety responses. A common explanation is that such creatures once posed a considerable threat to our ancestors who lacked the appropriate medical knowledge and technological tools As a result, evolution contributed to a predisposition to fear.
9. Ophidiophobia- The fear of snakes
It is often attributed to evolutionary causes, personal experiences, or cultural influences. Some suggest that since snakes are sometimes poisonous, the fear is pass down the genes. Another theory suggests that the fear might arise out an inherent fear of disease and contamination. The snakes tend to provoke a disgust response, explaining the phobia.
10. Acrophobia- The fear of heights
It impacts more than 6% of people. This fear can lead to anxiety attacks and avoidance of high places. People may go to great lengths to avoid high places. This fear may be a result of trauma or evolved as an adaptation to an environment in which a high fall posed significant danger. The phobia can result in panic attacks and avoidance behaviors.
11. Aerophobia- The fear of flying
The phobia is common, despite airplane accidents being very uncommon. Around 1 out of every 3 people have some fear of flying. Some common symptoms include trembling, rapid heartbeat, and feeling disoriented. It may result in people avoiding flying altogether. It is treated using exposure therapy, starting by imagining themselves on a plane and leading up to eventually boarding and sitting through a flight.
12. Cynophobia- The fear of dogs
It is often caused by traumatic personal experiences in early childhood, leading to fear responses in adulthood. The phobia is common. It is not a normal apprehension but an irrational and excessive fear that can impact a person. The person might not be able to walk down streets because of dogs living in that neighborhood. This avoidance can impact their ability to function outside their home.
13. Astraphobia- The fear of thunder and lightning
People with this phobia experience overwhelming fear during thunder and lightning. Symptoms include shaking, rapid heart rate, and increased respiration. During a thunder or lightning storm, people may go to great lengths to hide under covers, in closets or bathrooms. They may develop an excessive preoccupation with the weather, obsessively tracking the weather. In some instances, they may even develop agoraphobia, not being able to leave their homes.
14. Agoraphobia- The fear of being alone where escape may be difficult
This may include the fear of crowded areas, open spaces, or situations that may trigger a panic attack. People will begin avoiding these trigger events, sometimes even unable to leave their homes. Approximately one-third of people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia. It often begins as a spontaneous and unexpected panic attack, which then leads to anxiety over the possibility of another attack happening.
15. Mysophobia- The fear of germs
People may engage in extreme cleaning, compulsive hand-washing, and even avoidance of dirty things or situations. This may relate to OCD. This can also result in people avoiding physical contact out of fear of contamination, overuse of disinfectants, and excessive preoccupation with media reports about illness outbreaks. People may also avoid areas like the doctor's offices, airplanes, schools, and pharmacies.
Phobias can have a serious impact on well-being, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. Phobias are common and treatable.