What are some things that you are afraid of? Are there things or situations in your life that make you uncomfortable? Having fears and dislikes are a normal part of life, but what happens when these things completely take over? In this article, we will be taking a look at some of the most common phobias.
What is a Phobia?
While we all have things we fear, a phobia is something that takes a fear and intensifies it (MedlinePlus 2021). A phobia can be so intense that it makes it hard to live a normal life and any exposure to triggers will invoke an intense anxiety response including symptoms like:
- Difficulty breathing
- Fleeing from the situation
(Source: MedlinePlus 2021)
With that, here are nine common phobias:
Hemophobia, the Fear of Blood
Blood is something we associate to be inside of us and can be quite unsettling when it is visible outside. However, while many people will feel a bit squeamish around blood, for some it is something more. As phobias are intense and disruptive fears, people with hemophobia may find themselves experiencing severe anxiety symptoms when they are in situations that blood may be present (Marcin 2019). In some cases, this phobia can be so severe that it prevents people from taking care of themselves. Someone may avoid medical professionals and getting important tests done because of this fear, which can lead to problems later on (Marcin 2019).
Trypanophobia, the Fear of Needles
Needles are never fun for anyone. In an age where vaccinations, specifically shot based, are the norm, this creates problems for people with a fear of needles. People with this specific phobia have intense reactions to the sight of needles, let alone having contact with them (Cirino 2018). This is especially hard in medical contexts where needles are necessary for diagnosing and treating conditions. Trypanophobia is commonly seen in children, but is usually outgrown later on. However, for some, the phobia is lifelong and will require intervention (Cirino 2018).
Thanatophobia, the Fear of Death
Death is a touchy subject for anyone. After all, there are many unknowns and a sense of permanence. However, thanatophobia brings this fear on another level. People with the condition will go to great lengths to avoid dying – far beyond what is generally accepted (Raymond 2020). With thanatophobia, people will find themselves unable to leave their house due to irrational fear that something may happen to them. While having some kind of fear of death is normal – after all, we try to make sure that we stay alive, having thanatophobia makes it extremely difficult to live a functioning life as preventing death becomes their own priority (Thorpe 2015).
Athazagoraphobia, the Fear of Forgetting or Being Forgotten
The idea that the people around you will forget who you are can be quite unsettling. Similarly, the thought that you may forget people and events in your life is also scary. With athazagoraphobia, these fears are amplified. Older people, or those with a family history of Alzheimer’s, dementia, or similar memory loss related condition may experience this phobia and go to great lengths to prevent it from happening by taking memory enhancing supplements or partaking in other activities to prevent memory loss (Ghoshal 2020). Others feel paranoid that they will be forgotten – either by friends or loved ones, causing them enormous distress.
Emetophobia, the Fear of Vomiting
Emetophobia is usually caused by some kind of traumatic experience related to vomiting and can be related to either the discomfort or embarrassment of the act (Goodman 2021). From there, it picks up in intensity. People with this specific phobia may find themselves constantly checking the quality of their food, avoid eating at unfamiliar places, and staying away from other people; they will do anything to avoid vomiting, even in situations where it is necessary. The steps to avoid the fear can make the phobia stronger making it extremely difficult to live a normal life (Goodman 2021).
Claustrophobia, the Fear of Tight Spaces
The term “claustrophobia” tends to be overused in situations where people find tight spaces to be uncomfortable. Claustrophobia is much more severe than a dislike and is a phobia that severely impairs a person’s life. People with the phobia may go to lengths to avoid tight spaces at any costs (Bhargava 2020). Medical procedures like MRI scans can be completely horrifying causing people with the condition to skip their appointments. Similarly, some people will even find it difficult to sit in a car with the windows up due to the tightness of the space (Bhargava 2020).
Arachnophobia, the Fear of Spiders
Spiders are not always the most beautiful creatures. Their gangly legs and plump bodies can surprise anyone when they show up in unexpected places. However, most people understand that they likely have spiders in their home and that they serve a purpose. Others however, cannot fathom living in a place where there might be a spider lurking around. For some, just merely thinking about spiders can be enough to trigger a response (Fritscher 2021)!
Autophobia, the Fear of Being Alone
For many people, loneliness is an uncomfortable feeling. We normally like to have other people in our lives to share experiences with. However, for some, the idea of being alone is terrifying. People with this phobia will actively seek out others and will feel immense emotional distress if they are left by themselves (Smith 2020). This can occur even in situations where having other people is unreasonable.
Agoraphobia, the Fear of Inescapable Situations
Home is said to be where the heart is, but sometimes the very idea of leaving can cause an immense amount of stress. Agoraphobia is most commonly associated with those afraid to leave the house, but is actually much more complex than that. There are many different situations that a person is exposed to outside that are uncontrollable. People with the phobia may find themselves avoiding situations, such as public transportation, going into places alone, or area with lots of people (Mayo Clinic 2017). This makes living a normal life near impossible.
Phobias are much more than a simple fear or dislike. They actively make it difficult to live and maintain a functional life. These conditions generally require treatment to get better, so if you are struggling, please reach out to a mental health professional for advice. Getting in touch with the right person is a great first step to overcoming your fears.
What are some more common phobias that are not on this list? Are there any that surprised you? What are some ways you cope with your own fears? Let us know in the comments!
- Bhargava, H. (2020, August 23). Claustrophobia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment. WebMD. www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/claustrophobia-overview.
- Cirino, E. (2018, September 18). Trypanophobia. Healthline. www.healthline.com/health/trypanophobia#treatment.
- Editors of Mayo Clinic. (2017, November 18). Agoraphobia. Mayo Clinic. www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/agoraphobia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355987.
- Editors of Medline Plus. (2021, May 4). Phobias. MedlinePlus. medlineplus.gov/phobias.html.
- Fritscher, L. (2021, April 22). What You Need to Know About Arachnophobia. Verywell Mind. www.verywellmind.com/spider-fears-or-arachnophobia-2671679.
- Ghoshal, M. (2020, February 14). What You Need to Know About Athazagoraphobia, the Fear of Being Forgotten. Healthline. www.healthline.com/health/athazagoraphobia.
- Goodman, K. (2021, April 23). Fear of Vomiting, or Emetophobia. Fear of Vomiting, or Emetophobia | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/specific-phobias/fear-of-vomiting.
- Marcin, A. (2019, November 21). What Is Hemophobia? Healthline. www.healthline.com/health/hemophobia#treatment.
- O’Keefe Osborn, C. (2019, February 27). Common and Unique Fears Explained. Healthline. www.healthline.com/health/list-of-phobias#takeaway.
- Raymond, C. (2020, July 16). You Might Fear Dying, But Do You Suffer From Thanatophobia? Verywell Mind. www.verywellmind.com/what-is-thanatophobia-3577764.
- Smith, A. (2020, September 29). Autophobia (fear of being alone): Definition, symptoms, and treatment. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319816#causes.
- Thorpe, J. R. (2015, November 12). The 6 Most Common Phobias You’ve Never Heard Of. Bustle. www.bustle.com/articles/123038-the-6-most-common-phobias-youve-never-heard-of.