Phobias: A Fear for All Reasons

More than 12% of the population will experience a phobia at some point in their life, making this disorder the most common mental illness in the United States.


Other treatments include the use of relaxation techniques including progressive muscle relaxation, breathing techniques, and mental imaging of calming scenarios or successful confrontation of a phobic experience. Hypnosis has also been demonstrated as an effective treatment by providing individuals with posthypnotic suggestions that help them control their breathing, slow their heart rate, and achieve a relaxed state of mind. Additionally, self-help books are available to individuals. Some individuals benefit by sharing experiences and methods of coping with others in support groups.

The 20 Most Common Specific Phobias

  • Arachnophobia (possibly the most common phobia): fear of spiders. Almost 50 percent of women and 10 percent of men reportedly share this phobia, and it generally does not interfere with daily life unless it escalates to extreme cases of anxiety.
  • Aerophobia: fear of flying
  • Claustrophobia: fear of enclosed or confined spaces
  • Acrophobia: fear of heights
  • Carcinophobia: fear of cancer
  • Brontophobia: fear of thunderstorms
  • Necrophobia: fear of death or dead things (corpses, coffins, etc)
  • Ophidiophobia: fear of snakes
  • Cynophobia: fear of dogs
  • Trypanophobia: fear of injections or hypodermic needles
  • Cnidophobia: fear of insect stings
  • Mysophobia: fear of germs or dirt. This is often related to an obsessive-compulsive disorder.
  • Odontiatophobia: fear of dentists
  • Glossophobia: fear of speaking in public
  • Hydrophobia: fear of water
  • Homophobia: fear of homosexuality or becoming homosexual
  • Thanatophobia: fear of death or dying
  • Nyctophobia: fear of the dark or night
  • Emetephobia: fear of vomit
  • Demophobia: fear of being in crowded places

20 Specific Phobias to Ponder (Who Would have Known!)

  • Algophobia: fear of garlic
  • Arachibutyrophobia: fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth
  • Automatonophobia: fear of wax statues
  • Barophobia: fear of gravity
  • Bogyphobia: fear of bogies or the bogeyman
  • Defecaloesiophobia: fear of painful bowels movements
  • Geniophobia: fear of chins
  • Geumaphobia: fear of taste
  • Helminthophobia: fear of being infested with worms
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: fear of long words
  • Homilophobia: fear of sermons
  • Lachanophobia: fear of vegetables
  • Levophobia: fear of things to the left side of the body
  • Peladophobia: fear of bald people
  • Kathisophobia: fear of sitting down
  • Metallophobia: fear of metal
  • Metrophobia: fear of poetry
  • Paraskavedekatriaphobia: fear of Friday the 13th
  • Pentheraphobia: fear of mother-in-law
  • Pteronophobia: fear of being tickled by feathers
  • Symmetrophobia: fear of symmetry


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