Post a Day in May For Mental Health Awareness – Post #17 – Phobias


The difference between fear and phobia

  • Feelings of fear are very common.
  • Fear is a normal human reaction that protects us by signaling danger and preparing us to deal with it.
  • a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined; the feeling or condition of being afraid. … something that causes feelings of dread or apprehension; something a person is afraid of.
  • Almost everyone has an irrational fear or two—of mice, for example, or your annual dental checkup. … But when fears become so severe that they cause tremendous anxiety and interfere with your normal life, they’re called phobias.

Diagnosable phobias are not common

  • Phobias are a form of anxiety disorder and are characterised by intense and irrational fears of an object or situation that poses no real threat.
  • phobia is a type of anxiety disorder.
  • Phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something.
  • An individual has a relentless dread of a situation, living creature, place, or thing.
  • Individuals with a phobia go to great lengths to avoid a perceived danger which is much greater in their minds than in real life.
  • It is a strong, irrational fear of something that poses little or no real danger.

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There are three main groups of phobias which include:

1. Simple Phobias

  • Simple phobias produce intense fear of a particular object or situation that is, in fact, relatively safe.
  • People who suffer from specific phobias are aware that their fear is irrational, but the thought of facing the object or situation often brings on a panic attack or severe anxiety.

2. Specific phobias

  • Specific phobias may include persistent fear of dogs, insects, or snakes; driving a car; heights; tunnels or bridges; thunderstorms; and/or flying.
  • No one knows what causes them, though they seem to run in families and are slightly more prevelant in women.
  • Specific phobias usually begin in adolescence or adulthood.
  • They start suddenly and tend to be more persistent than childhood phobias.
  • When children have specific phobias–for example, a fear of animals–those fears usually disappear over time, though they may continue into adulthood.
  • No one knows why they persist in some people and disappear in others.

3. Social Phobia

People suffering from social phobia may:

  • view small mistakes as more exaggerated than they really are
  • find blushing as painfully embarrassing
  • feel that all eyes are on them
  • fear speaking in public, dating, or talking with persons in authority
  • fear using public restrooms or eating out
  • fear talking on the phone or writing in front of others

Social phobia can produce fear of being humiliated or embarrassed in front of other people

  • This problem may also be related to feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem, and can drive a person to drop out of school, avoid making friends, and remain unemployed.
  • Although this disorder is sometimes thought to be shyness, it is not the same thing.
  • Shy people do not experience extreme anxiety in social situations, nor do they necessarily avoid them.
  • In contrast, people with social phobia can be at ease with people most of the time, except in particular situations.
  • Often social phobia is accompanied by depression or substance abuse.
  • Although this disorder is sometimes thought to be shyness, it is not the same thing. Shy people do not experience extreme anxiety in social situations, nor do they necessarily avoid them. In contrast, people with social phobia can be at ease with people most of the time, except in particular situations. Often social phobia is accompanied by depression or substance abuse.
  • Agoraphobia causes people to suffer anxiety about being in places or situations from which it might be difficult or embarrassing to escape–such as being in a room full of people or in an elevator.
  • In some cases, panic attacks can become so debilitating that the person may develop agoraphobia because they fear another panic attack.
  • In extreme cases, a person with agoraphobia may be afraid to leave their house.

How Do You Develop a Phobia?

  • However, there are clear indications that the majority of phobias develop during early childhood, teenage years or early adulthood.
  • It is rather unusual for a phobia to develop ‘out of nowhere’ after the age of 30 – 35.
  • Phobias can be caused by stressful situations, certain experiences or frightening events.

There Is Hope

  • No one should have to endure the terror of phobias or the unrelenting anticipatory anxiety that often accompanies them.
  • Phobias can be overcome with proper treatment.
  • A person suffering from a phobia is suffering from a diagnosable illness, and mental health professionals take this illness very seriously.
  • A complete medical and psychiatric evaluation should be conducted by a licensed physician or psychologist to obtain an accurate diagnosis and ensure that the symptoms are not being caused by another condition.
  • Lastly, it is crucial to comply with treatment, and to work closely with the therapist in order to achieve success.
  • Behavioral therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy are very effective in treating these disorders.
  • Behavioral therapy focuses on changing specific actions and uses different techniques to stop this behavior.
  • One technique involves diaphragmatic breathing which is a form of deep-breathing.
  • Another technique called exposure therapy gradually exposes the patient to the object or situation which frightens him/her and helps the patient to develop coping skills.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches the persons new skills in order to react differently to the situations which trigger the anxiety or panic attacks.
  • Patients also learn to understand how their thinking patterns contribute to the symptoms and how to change their thinking to reduce or stop these symptoms.

What is the Fear of phobia(s)?

  • Phobophobia is the fear of phobia(s) and, more specifically, of the internal sensations associated with that phobia and anxiety, which binds it closely to other anxiety disorders, especially with generalized anxiety disorders (free floating fears) and panic attacks.

What is the Fear of Fire?

  • Pyrophobia is the Fear of Fire?
  • Pyrophobia is quite a common phobia and many peope around the globe are known to be deeply afraid of fire.
  • The word Pyrophobia originates from Greek ‘pur/pyr’ meaning fire and ‘phobos’ meaning fear or deep dread.
  • To an extent, the fear of fire is healthy, evolutionary and normal.

What is the fear of the unknown?

  • Xenophobia is the fear of the unknown
  • Xenophobia is the irrational sensation of fear experienced about a person or a group of persons as well as situations that are perceived as strange or foreign.
  • Xenophobias derived from the Greek word ‘Xenos’ meaning “foreigner or stranger” and Phobos which means ‘morbid fear’.

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Top Ten Most Common Phobias

1. Acrophobia – The fear of heights

  • Acrophobia is an irrational fear of heights or the fear of falling (even when the person is not really that high up).
  • It is a specific phobia that causes the sufferers to be highly agitated or in a state of panic which could interfere with his/her ability to climb down.
  • In severe cases of Acrophobia, a panic attack might be triggered even when the sufferer is climbing up or down a chair. Nearly 10% of people in the United States are known to suffer from Acrophobia.

2. Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders

  • Nearly 30.5% of Arachnophobia sufferers (the excessive fear of spiders or other arachnids like scorpions) are living in the United States alone.
  • It is one of the most common animal phobias around the world.
  • The cause of the phobia is often evolutionary meaning that some species of spiders are deadly and it is a natural human response to survive.
  • Arachnophobes however tend to go to extreme lengths to ensure that their surroundings are free from spiders, often causing themselves a great deal of embarrassment, which is something most phobics try hard to avoid.

3. Ophidiophobia – The fear of snakes

  • The fear of snakes or Ophidiophobia is the second most common zoophobia (right after the no. 1 phobia on this list) affecting nearly 1/3rd of the adult human population.
  • Like the phobia mentioned below, the fear of snakes also has evolutionary roots.
  • To an extent, the fear of venomous snakes is also essential for survival.
  • Extreme Ophidiophobia can affect one’s life as one tends to avoid hiking, camping and related activities or might even become afraid of pet store snakes and other reptiles.

4. Agoraphobia – The fear of open or crowded spaces

  • Nearly 2 out of every 100 Americans suffers from Agoraphobia, the fear of open or crowded spaces.
  • This is a debilitating condition which prevents the phobic from visiting malls, markets, theaters and other crowded areas as well as open grounds.
  • The individual feels intense panic at the mere thought or sight of such a space (that s/he feels it will be difficult to escape from).
  • Agoraphobia becomes a vicious circle where the sufferer feels afraid of experiencing a panic attack and these thoughts again lead to a panic attack.
  • Limiting activities and avoidance behavior becomes a part of the phobic’s life. Depression is hence a common symptom of this phobia.

5. Cynophobia – The fear of dogs

  • Cynophobia, the extreme fear of dogs, is one of the most common animal phobias around the world.
  • Nearly 36% sufferers seek treatment for Cynophobia and the majority of these are also known to be afraid of cats.
  • The extreme fear of dogs is actually even more debilitating than the fear of spiders and the fear of snakes due to the fact that dogs are commonly present in most residential areas.
  • Nearly 75% of Cynophobes are women, though the fear also affects men.
  • The condition usually begins in childhood, but many patients are also known to have developed the fear in their adulthood.

6. Astraphobia – The fear of thunder and lightning

  • Storms are a common occurrence in many parts of the world, and to an Astraphobic individual, they can be downright debilitating.
  • The majority of sufferers of Astraphobia are children, although the phobia can persist into adulthood as well.
  • Even the most ferocious and wild animals have an extreme fear of thunder and lightning, and hiding is the natural psychological defense.
  • Astraphobia, also called Brontophobia, is known to affect nearly 2% of Americans.
  • Thankfully, it is a highly treatable phobia with many treatment options.

7. Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces

  • Nearly 5 to 7% of the world’s population is known to suffer from Claustrophobia – the fear of small or restricted spaces.
  • This phobia is mainly related to the fear of suffocation or the fear of restriction.
  • The phobia has been highly studied by experts and scientists, though the sad fact remains that only 2% of its sufferers seek treatment.
  • Claustrophobia is often confused with Cleithrophobia which is the extreme fear of being trapped.

8. Mysophobia – The fear of germs

  • Mysophobia is the excessive fear of germs which is often closely related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Many people suffer from both OCD as well as Mysophobia, as a result of which they might indulge in excessive bathing or hand washing.
  • The unhealthy fear of germs causes the phobics to also fear contamination of food or exposure to bodily fluids from those around them.
  • Mysophobia might lead to many complications since the person goes to extreme lengths to avoid all kinds of social situations.
  • Isolation is a common symptom of this phobia.
  • The condition might also give rise to other phobias such as Agoraphobia as well as various anxiety disorders.

9. Aerophobia – The fear of flying

  • Aerophobia is the fear of flying which affects nearly 6.5% of the world’s population.
  • The phobia is usually associated with other fears including Agoraphobia (fear of being unable to escape) and Claustrophobia (fear of small and restricted spaces).
  • Naturally, the fear affects the person’s professional and personal life as air travel is nearly impossible for him/her.
  • The mere thought of an upcoming flight can cause intense distress in the sufferer including nausea, panic attacks, etc.

10. Trypophobia – The fear of holes

  • Biological revulsion and culturally learned fears are the primary causes of Trypophobia, which is the extreme and irrational fear of holes.
  • While this fear might seem irrational to ‘normal’ people, the mere sight or thought of holes can set off a panic attack in the Trypophobe.
  • As a result, the individual avoids objects such as coral, sponges, skin, meat, dried honeycombs and pretty much everything that has holes on it.
  • Holes seem disgusting and gross to the sufferer and s/he goes to all lengths to avoid them.

Four Ways to Overcome your Fears or Phobias

1. Identify your fear. Really think about what you’re afraid of. For example, while you may hate going to the dentist, it might be the use of needles that you’re truly afraid of. In this case, you’d want to focus on your fear of needles, not the dentist.[1]

  • If you’re having trouble pinpointing your phobia, write down a list of the things that scare you. You may be able to isolate the true fear.

2. Write down your goals. Set tangible, achievable goals. It will also be helpful during treatment to consider the benefits that come from these goals. Write down a variety of goals at different levels. Having small achievements will help you work towards tougher aims.

  • The act of writing down your goals can actually help you succeed. You’re more likely to write down detailed, achievable goals, rather than vague ones. You’ll also be more committed to sticking with them.

3. Make a coping strategy. It’s naive to assume that you won’t encounter any obstacles. Instead, imagine how you want to react to what frightens you. You could visualize something else, face the fear head on for a set amount of time, or you could distract yourself by doing an activity.

  • Realize that your coping strategy should change as you encounter and achieve goals. While you might initially cope by distracting yourself, you may eventually be able to face your phobia for small periods of time.

4. Know that being afraid is perfectly normal. After all, fear has helped humans survive in many situations. On the other hand, fears may easily turn into phobias, also prevent someone from accomplishing certain things. For example:

  • It is normal to feel anxious if you look down from a skyscraper. On the other hand, turning down a dream job just becaWhat Cauases Irrational Fear?
  • Symptoms, Treatment, and Self-Help for Overcoming Your Anxiety and Fear. Almost everyone has an irrational fear or two—of mice, for example, or your annual dental checkup. … But when fears become so severe that they cause tremendous anxiety and interfere with your normal life, they’re called phobias.use it happens to be at the top of a skyscraper, is not helping you achieve your goals/dreams.
  • Many people feel anxious about getting shots or having blood drawn. Shots can be painful. It is when someone starts to avoid medical examinations and treatments just because he or she might get a shot, that the fear becomes problematic.

Top 100 Phobia List

These are the top 100 phobias in the world, with the most common ones listed from the top. You can click on each phobia to learn about causes, symptoms and treatments.

  1. Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders affects women four times more (48% women and 12% men).
  2. Ophidiophobia – The fear of snakes. Phobics avoid certain cities because they have more snakes.
  3. Acrophobia – The fear of heights. Five percent of the general population suffer from this phobia.
  4. Agoraphobia – The fear of open or crowded spaces. People with this fear often wont leave home.
  5. Cynophobia – The fear of dogs. This includes everything from small Poodles to large Great Danes.
  6. Astraphobia – The fear of thunder/lightning AKA Brontophobia, Tonitrophobia, Ceraunophobia.
  7. Claustrophobia – The fear of small spaces like elevators, small rooms and other enclosed spaces.
  8. Mysophobia – The fear of germs. It is also rightly termed as Germophobia or Bacterophobia.Trypophobia
  9. Aerophobia – The fear of flying. 25 million Americans share a fear of flying.
  10. Trypophobia – The fear of holes is an unusual but pretty common phobia.
  11. Carcinophobia – The fear of cancer. People with this develop extreme diets.
  12. Thanatophobia – The fear of death. Even talking about death can be hard.
  13. Glossophobia – The fear of public speaking. Not being able to do speeches.
  14. Monophobia – The fear of being alone. Even while eating and/or sleeping.
  15. Atychiphobia – The fear of failure. It is the single greatest barrier to success.
  16. Ornithophobia – The fear of birds. Individuals suffering from this may only fear certain species.
  17. Alektorophobia – The fear of chickens. You may have this phobia if chickens make you panic.
  18. Enochlophobia – The fear of crowds is closely related to Ochlophobia and Demophobia.Trypanophobia
  19. Aphenphosmphobia – The fear of intimacy. Fear of being touched and love.
  20. Trypanophobia – The fear of needles. I used to fear needles (that and death).
  21. Aquaphobia – The fear of water. Being afraid of water or being near water.
  22. Autophobia – The fear of abandonment and being abandoned by someone.
  23. Hemophobia – The fear of blood. Even the sight of blood can cause fainting.
  24. Gamophobia – The fear of commitment or sticking with someone to the end.
  25. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – The fear of long words. Believe it or not, it’s real.
  26. Xenophobia – The fear of the unknown. Fearing anything or anyone that is strange or foreign.Achievemephobia
  27. Vehophobia – The fear of driving. This phobia affects personal and work life.
  28. Basiphobia – The fear of falling. Some may even refuse to walk or stand up.
  29. Achievemephobia – The fear of success. The opposite to the fear of failure.
  30. Theophobia – The fear of God causes an irrational fear of God or religion.
  31. Ailurophobia – The fear of cats. This phobia is also known as Gatophobia.
  32. Metathesiophobia – The fear of change. Sometimes change is a good thing.
  33. Globophobia – The fear of balloons. They should be fun, but not for phobics.
  34. Nyctophobia – The fear of darkness. Being afraid of the dark or the night is common for kids.
  35. Androphobia – The fear of men. Usually seen in younger females, but it can also affect adults.
  36. Phobophobia – The fear of fear. The thought of being afraid of objects/situations.
  37. Philophobia – The fear of love. Being scared of falling in love or emotions.
  38. Triskaidekaphobia – The fear of the number 13 or the bad luck that follows.
  39. Emetophobia – The fear of vomiting and the fear of loss of your self control.
  40. Gephyrophobia – The fear of bridges and crossing even the smallest bridge.
  41. Entomophobia – The fear of bugs and insects, also related to Acarophobia.
  42. Entomophobia – The fear of bugs and insects, also related to Acarophobia.
  43. Lepidopterophobia – The fear of butterflies and often most winged insects.
  44. Panophobia – The fear of everything or fear that terrible things will happen.
  45. Podophobia – The fear of feet. Some people fear touching or looking at feet, even their own.
  46. Paraskevidekatriaphobia – The fear of Friday the 13th. About 8% of Americans have this phobia.
  47. Somniphobia – The fear of sleep. Being terrified of what might happen right after you fall asleep.
  48. Gynophobia – The fear of women. May occur if you have unresolved mother issues.Koumpounophobia
  49. Apiphobia – The fear of bees. Many people fear being stung by angry bees.
  50. Koumpounophobia – The fear of buttons. Clothes with buttons are avoided.
  51. Anatidaephobia – The fear of ducks. Somewhere, a duck is watching you.
  52. Pyrophobia – The fear of fire. A natural/primal fear that can be debilitating.
  53. Ranidaphobia – The fear of frogs. Often caused by episodes from childhood.
  54. Galeophobia – The fear of sharks in the ocean or even in swimming pools.
  55. Athazagoraphobia – The fear of being forgotten or not remembering things.
  56. Katsaridaphobia – The fear of cockroaches. This can easily lead to an excessive cleaning disorder.
  57. Iatrophobia – The fear of doctors. Do you delay doctor visits? You may have this.
  58. Pediophobia – The fear of dolls. This phobia could well be Chucky-induced.
  59. Ichthyophobia – The fear of fish. Includes small, large, dead and living fish.
  60. Achondroplasiaphobia – The fear of midgets. Because they look differently.
  61. Mottephobia – The fear of moths. These insects are only beautiful to some.
  62. Zoophobia – The fear of animals. Applies to both vile and harmless animals.
  63. Bananaphobia – The fear of bananas. If you have this phobia, they are scary.
  64. Sidonglobophobia – The fear of cotton balls or plastic foams. Oh that sound.
  65. Scelerophobia – The fear of crime involves being afraid of burglars, attackers or crime in general.
  66. Cibophobia – The fear of food. The phobia may come from a bad episode while eating, like choking.
  67. Phasmophobia – The fear of ghosts. AKA Spectrophobia. Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!
  68. Equinophobia – The fear of horses. Animal phobias are pretty common, especially for women.
  69. Musophobia – The fear of mice. Some people find mice cute, but phobics don’t.
  70. Catoptrophobia – The fear of mirrors. Being afraid of what you might see.
  71. Agliophobia – The fear of pain. Being afraid something painful will happen.
  72. Tokophobia – The fear of pregnancy involves giving birth or having children.
  73. Telephonophobia – The fear of talking on the phone. Phobics prefer texting.
  74. Pogonophobia – The fear of beards or being scared of/around bearded men.
  75. Omphalophobia – The fear of belly buttons. Touching and looking at navels.
  76. Pseudodysphagia – The fear of choking often after a bad eating experience.
  77. Bathophobia – The fear of depths can be anything associated with depth (lakes, tunnels, caves).
  78. Cacomorphobia – The fear of fat people. Induced by the media. Affects some anorexics/bulimics.
  79. Gerascophobia – The fear of getting old. Aging is the most natural thing, yet many of us fear it.
  80. Chaetophobia – The fear of hair. Phobics tend to be afraid of other peoples hair.
  81. Nosocomephobia – The fear of hospitals. Let’s face it, no one likes hospitals.
  82. Ligyrophobia – The fear of loud noises. More than the instinctive noise fear.
  83. Didaskaleinophobia – The fear of school. This phobia affects kids mostly.
  84. Technophobia – The fear of technology is often induced by culture/religion.
  85. Chronophobia – The fear of the future. A persistent fear of what is to come.
  86. Spheksophobia – The fear of wasps. You panic and fear getting stung by it.
  87. Ergophobia – The fear of work. Often due to social or performance anxiety.
  88. Coulrophobia – The fear of clowns. Some people find clowns funny, coulrophobics certainly don’t.
  89. Allodoxaphobia – The fear of opinions. Being afraid of hearing what others are thinking of you.
  90. Samhainophobia – The fear of Halloween affects children/superstitious people.
  91. Photophobia – The fear of light caused by something medical or traumatic.
  92. Disposophobia – The fear of getting rid of stuff triggers extreme hoarding.
  93. Numerophobia – The fear of numbers and the mere thought of calculations.
  94. Ombrophobia – The fear of rain. Many fear the rain due to stormy weather.
  95. Coasterphobia – The fear of roller coasters. Ever seen Final Destination 3?
  96. Thalassophobia – The fear of the ocean. Water, waves and unknown spaces.
  97. Scoleciphobia – The fear of worms. Often because of unhygienic conditions.
  98. Kinemortophobia – The fear of zombies. Being afraid that zombies attack and turn you into them.
  99. Myrmecophobia – The fear of ants. Not as common as Arachnophobia, but may feel just as intense.
  100. Taphophobia – The fear of being buried alive by mistake and waking up in a coffin underground.

I will be posting something important about mental illness every day throughout the month of May on my blog in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month.


Please keep visiting my blog My Loud Whispers of Hope and look for statistics or other beneficial information related to mental illness to increase awareness, educate, reduce mental illness stigma and prevent suicides.

It is crucial and imperative for all of us to get involved and save lives.

So, please visit my blog but especially every day throughout the month of May.

Mental illness awareness and education saves lives.

Opening the dialogue about mental illness saves lives.

Sharing your story will help save lives. 

Please see my post about my campaign titled, “There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story.” I need your help.  Please let me know if you want to share your story and I will post it on my blog.

Please check out

“There’s Glory in Sharing Your Story”

stories from last year.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

May your cup of life overflow with love, joy, peace, wellness and many other blessings.

© 2019 Susan Walz | | All Rights Reserved


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