What Really Scares People?
Here’s a question for you to ponder —
Is there anything you can think of, off the top of your head, that you have a fear (phobia) of ? — Be it real or imagined? — maybe ghosts, snakes, spiders, clowns, closets, thunder, the dark, enclosed places, the unknown, heights, flying, death, taxes as an example — Now, while it’s quite commonplace and normal for children to have a few fears while growing up, most of them are overcome as they get older. A few phobias, however, may possibly hang on into adulthood. With that being said, do you ever wonder what scares other people — specifically referring about adults?
A Little About Phobias
Phobias! — Even the word sounds scary! — When you have an extreme fear (phobia) of something, it really IS scary.
Common phobias suffered by many people include:
- Fear of public places (agoraphobia)
- Fear of flying
- Fear of public speaking
- Fear of crowds
- Fear of animals, or a particular kind of animal
- Fear of darkness
- Fear of crossing bridges
- Fear of heights
- Fear of driving
- Fear of water
- Fear of heart attacks (or other illness)
- Social phobia
Sounds like quite a list, doesn’t it? — Believe me, this list is the tip of the iceberg. And don’t feel like you’re alone either. It is estimated that 1.8 million people suffer from agoraphobia alone! About 19.2 million people over the age of 18 suffer from some type of specific phobia in a given year! And YES – That’s a HUGE number.
Normal Fears -vs- Irrational Fears
Some fears are normal — We are born with some fears, which is actually a good thing, such as the fear of falling.
Other fears we acquire — Fear of getting hit by a car when you cross the street makes you more careful — Or the fear of cutting yourself helps you be more cautious when using knives and scissors.
However, some fears are irrational phobias. You may even understand that the fear or phobia you have is irrational. Yet, your extreme fear overshadows your rational mind and you give in to the phobia.
10 Most Common Fears
Here are the 10 most common fears (along with their scientific name) that have been widely reported by the adult population, including a brief description of the situation.
(1) – Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders
Seems to be no escape from these eight-legged creatures. They live in our houses, yards and even our work places. The most die-hard arachnophobes are even scared of pictures of spiders.
(2) – Social phobia – The fear of social situations
More than just simple shyness — This is an extreme fear of being scrutinised by others, or by being humiliated even by your own actions.
(3) – Aerophobia – The fear of flying
Generally meant to be by airplane, however it can crossover into another fear of being suspended above ground – known as acrophobia (see #6 below). Also, this can often be paired with claustrophobia (see #5 below).
(4) – Agoraphobia – The fear of inescapable situations
The result is anxiety and panic attacks, which can easily become self-perpetuating. Extreme agoraphobes are confined to their own home, which is the only place they consider to be safe.
(5) – Claustrophobia – The fear of confined spaces
These poor sufferers will stay well away from elevators, trains and tiny cupboards under the stairwells. May cause panic attacks if escape is not possible.
(6) – Acrophobia – The fear of heights
Sufferers may have panic attacks and put themselves in genuine danger if they can’t get down. Often confused with vertigo – which is merely a dizzy or spinning sensation and not necessarily caused by heights.
(7) – Emetophobia – The fear of vomit
This one nobody even likes to THINK about. No one likes the sight or smell of vomit, but these sufferers will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid the stuff.
(8) – Carcinophobia – The fear of cancer
Although it’s not contagious, a carcinophobe will believe he/she has cancer because he/she has touched someone else with the disease.
(9) – Brontophobia – The fear of thunderstorms
Also known as astraphobia. This is one of those fears that may ‘holdover’ from childhood. Child and adult sufferers alike hide away from thunder and lightning, lest they suffer panic attacks and have difficulty breathing.
(10) – Necrophobia – The fear of death
Derived from the fear of being buried alive, after early excavations of coffins showed scratch marks made by trapped victims. Also relates to coffins and corpses.
Overall Effects of Phobias
Phobias lead to anxiety attacks and depression. Those people affected many times prefer to lead a secluded life for fear of being laughed at. They feel awful and have an extremely difficult time facing the world and owning up to their strange and bizarre phobias. Professional help may be the order of the day to help overcome these fears and lead a somewhat normal existence.
Uncommon & Bizarre Phobias
Instead of an evolutionary or culture-led phobia, there may be a separate explanation for weird or strange phobias, such as the fear of cheese. This group of phobias may be linked to deep-seated psychological trauma. For whatever reason, that inanimate object or non-threatening situation has become the focus of the fear, and acts as a trigger for stored feelings of anxiety.
The common “specific phobias” – such as the fear of spiders, or snakes, or being struck by lightning – are all understandable… at least on some level. We may not fully understand the extreme fear response some people give them but somewhere in there is a threat to survival.
Below you will find a list of uncommon – and in some cases – bizarre phobias – which really do prove utterly terrifying and disgusting to a small part of the general population.
- Ablutophobia – the obsessional fear of bathing
- Adipophobia – the fear of appearing too fat
- Agyrophobia – the fear of crossing roads
- Ambulophobia – the fear of walking
- Anablephobia – the fear of looking up
- Androphobia – the fear of men
- Anthophobia – the fear of flowers
- Arachibutyrophobia – the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth
- Aulophobia – the fear of flutes
- Barophobia – the fear of gravity
- Cataptrophobia – the fear of mirrors
- Chionophobia – the fear of snow
- Chorophobia – the fear of dancing
- Chromatophobia – the fear of colors
- Chronomentrophobia – the fear of time
- Cnidophobia – the fear of string
- Cyberphobia – the fear of working with computers
- Decidophobia – the fear of making decisions
- Ephebiphobia – the fear of teenagers
- Ergophobia – the fear of work, finding work or functioning at work
- Erotophobia – the fear of sex or talking about sex
- Gelotophobia – the obsessional fear of being laughed at
- Genuphobia – the fear of knees
- Geumapobia – the fear of taste
- Gerontophobia – the fear of growing old or fear of the elderly
- Gymnophobia – the fear of being seen naked or seeing others naked
- Gynophobia – the fear of women
- Haptephobia – the fear of being touched
- Heliophobia – the fear of sunlight
- Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – the fear of long words 😛 Really!
- Hypnophobia – the fear of sleep
- Kyphophobia – the fear of stooping
- Levophobia – the fear of objects to the left
- Megalophobia – the fear of large or oversized objects
- Metrophobia – the fear of poetry
- Mnemophobia – the fear of memories
- Nomophobia – the fear of being out of cellular/mobile phone contact
- Octophobia – the fear of the figure eight
- Ommetaphobia – the fear of eyes
- Osmophobia – the fear of smells
- Optophobia – the fear of opening one’s eyes
- Papaphobia – the fear of the Pope
- Peladophobia – the fear of bald people
- Phagophobia – the fear of swallowing
- Phobophobia – the fear of having a phobia
- Scopophobia – the fear of being looked at
- Scuirophobia – the fear of squirrels
- Siderophobia – the fear of stars
- Somniphobia – the fear of sleep
- Spectrophobia – the fear of mirrors
- Trichophobia – the fear of loose hairs
- Triskaidekaphobia – the fear of the number 13
- Xenophobia – the fear of strangers, foreigners or aliens
A Final Thought
And finally, spare a thought for those very select poor folks who suffer from Panophobia – which translates to those who are perpetually and continuously afraid of EVERYTHING…..
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