Ten of the Most Common Phobias

Terrified of the creepy-crawlies? Scared of slithering serpents? Well, you’re not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, phobias affect approximately 10% of adults.

There are a number of explanations for why phobias develop, including evolutionary and behavioral theories. Whatever the cause, phobias are treatable conditions that can be minimized and even eliminated with cognitive and behavioral therapy techniques.

Phobias are surprisingly common, but what exactly do people fear the most? Are there any phobias that tend to be more common than others?

What do people fear most? The following phobias are ten of the most common fear-objects that lead to symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and breathlessness. In some cases, these symptoms escalate into a full-blown panic attack. These common phobias typically involve the environment, animals, or specific situations.

1. Arachnophobia: The fear of spiders.

Arachnophobia is a very common type of fear. This phobia is thought to affect women more than men. In many cases, the sight of a spider can trigger a fear response, but in some cases, simply an image of an arachnid or the thought of a spider can lead to feelings of overwhelming fear and panic.

2. Ophidiophobia: The fear of snakes.

The fear of snake is quite common and often attributed to evolutionary causes, personal experiences, or cultural influences.

Some suggest that since snakes are sometimes poisonous, our ancestors who avoided such dangers were more likely to survive.

3. Acrophobia:The fear of heights.

This fear can lead to anxiety attacks and avoidance of high places. People who suffer from this phobia may go to great lengths to avoid high places such as bridges, towers, or tall buildings.

4. Agoraphobia:The fear of situations in which escape is difficult.

Agoraphobia may include the fear of crowded areas, open spaces, or situations that are likely to trigger a panic attack. People will begin avoiding these trigger events, sometimes to the point that they cease leaving their home entirely.

Approximately one-third of people with panic disorder develop agoraphobia.

5. Cynophobia: The fear of dogs.

This phobia is often associated with specific personal experiences, such as being bitten by a dog during childhood. Such events can be quite traumatic and can lead to fear responses that last well into adulthood.

6. Astraphobia: The fear of thunder and lightening.

This phobia is also known as Brontophobia, Tonitrophobia, or Ceraunophobia. Those with a severe fear of thunder and lightening can experience overwhelming feelings of fear when they encounter such weather-related phenomena.

7. Trypanophobia: The fear of injections.

Phobias related to the fear of injections sometimes cause people to avoid medical treatments and doctors.

Like many phobias, this fear often goes untreated because people avoid the triggering object and situation.

8. Social Phobias: The fear of social situations.

Social phobias involve the fear of social situations and can be quite debilitating. In many cases, these phobias can become so severe that people avoid events, places, and people who are likely to trigger an anxiety attack.

9. Pteromerhanophobia: The fear of flying.

The fear of flying is quite common and sometimes causes people to avoid flying altogether. It is often treated using exposure therapy, in which the client is gradually and progressively introduced to flying. The individual may start by simply imagining themselves on a plane before slowly working up to actually sitting on a plane and finally flying.

10. Mysophobia: The fear of germs or dirt.

The excessive fear of germs and dirt can lead people to engage in extreme cleaning, compulsive hand-washing, or even avoidance of things of situations perceived as dirty. In some instances, this phobia may be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder.

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