A phobia can be termed as an illogical or irrational fear of certain things or events. From the phobia of public speaking to that for open spaces, there are a wide variety. There are almost 700 different types documented in the list of phobias. These fears can stem from elements of nature like lightning, storms or water, from animals like snakes and spiders, or from entities of the medical world like blood or injections. Even situational instances like standing at an altitude, leaving home etc. can trigger panic attacks in some people. The absolute cause behind them hasn’t yet been found. Nevertheless these phobias have captured man’s interest because of the illogical fear that an individual experiences.
Top 10 Phobias List
If you want to know about the 10 most common phobias that grip the human race here is a list to your help. However, the phobias are not listed as per the rate of their incidence.
Arachnophobia: The not so pleasant looks of spiders have captured human imagination. They have been depicted as huge man eating monsters in some movies. However, their influence over the human psyche is not limited to only motion pictures. There are people who run into a frenzy every time they see a spider. This fear of the spiders is known as arachnophobia. Interestingly more women are known to be affected by this than men. It also been found that incidence of this phobia in people of South America, where the largest spiders in the world are found is much lesser than it is in other countries. Does this indicate that phobias have a sociocultural origin? Well, this possibility is being weighed by experts.
Acrophobia: Do you feel dizzy and nauseated every time you think of going to the Empire State building? Well this could be because you suffer from vertigo whereas for some of the thought itself would be enough to trigger a morbid fear. Such people who suffer from acrophobia may be terrified of even peeking down the window of their third floor apartment! Acrophobia refers to the fear of heights that can affect one’s daily activities to a great extent.
Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia refers to the fear of being unable to escape from a place. Such people avoid crowded places, sporting events, shops, or even standing in a line at stores. This fear can be so intense, that many affected individuals refuse to leave their homes or may do so only when accompanied by a friend or family member. Although earlier it was perceived more as fear of public or open spaces, today it is more widely considered as a result of complication of panic attacks.
Social Phobia: One strong contender in the top 10 most common phobias list is social phobia which refers to fear due to social situations. Affected individuals may avoid attending public events. The anxiety in people suffering from this condition stems from their belief that they are being put under the scanner and evaluated continuously by people around.
Aerophobia: This is another strange fear that has made it to the list of common phobias in the world. Can you think of a world where you did not have aircraft to travel in? If yes then probably you can empathize with the plight of people suffering from fear of flying which is also known as aerophobia. Actor Billy Bob Thornton and actress/singer Cher are two celebrities who suffer from this.
Claustrophobia: Well agoraphobia may not be the only type of phobia that could restrict one’s mobility. Claustrophobia also curbs the ability of many individuals to access all places, because it triggers in them a fear of enclosed spaces. Such people may get panicky if they have to enter the elevator or travel in trains.
Brontophobia: This refers to the fear of thunderstorms. Some sources also associate this with lightning, as lightning and thunderstorms occur almost always together. Such people are reported to go into hiding as soon as thunder and lightning strike. This is just as common in adults as it is in children. Brontophobic individuals may dread seeing warm weather approach and may also keep a close watch on weather.
Mysophobia: Mysophobic people have an irrational fear of germs. Also known as germophobia, people who suffer from this condition are often seen washing their hands to keep them free of germs. They may also wear gloves all the time to ‘protect’ themselves from germs around. Michael Jackson is believed to have suffered from this fear.
Carcinophobia: As the name itself suggests, carcinophobia refers to the fear of acquiring cancer. This fear sometimes impairs the understanding of the fact in carcinophobic people that cancer is not contagious. Their fear may compel them to avoid contact or interaction with people suffering from cancer.
Necrophobia: It is the fear of death or anything related to it. Necrophobic people feel anxious if they have to attend funerals or see a coffin. Anything related to death can trigger panic in such individuals.
While some believe that phobias have a psychological origin, role of genetics being a cause is also not ruled out. Nevertheless a large section of the population also believes that sociocultural influences and experiences during childhood may trigger such a condition in individuals. Although the cause needs greater understanding, certain options have been found to be effective in dealing with certain phobias. One line of treatment involves exposing the individual to the situation or object of fear to provide them opportunities to overcome their phobia with active effort. Another option is to increase the period of time of these encounters rather than the frequency. In counter-conditioning a patient is taught an alternate way of responding to the phobic situation than to panic.
Well the list of the top 10 most common phobias may differ as per different sources. Although those mentioned here are the most common ones, as we delve deeper into human behavior and psychology, more incredible phobias may come to light. So don’t be surprised when you see some very new and weird phobia entering the list provided by some other source.