Phobias are distressing emotions initiated by out-of-proportion-fears, both real and imaginary. To the sufferer, a phobia can seem unbearable or even life-threatening, while others might find these strange and bizarre phobias quite fascinating. Today, I will show you some of the most common phobias in the world, so sit back and be prepared to be equally terrified, amazed, surprised and entertained. Without further ado, here are the top 10 phobias of all time, starting with number 10 and counting down to the one thing that people fear most.
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 it.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
3. 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. 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. Next up is the number one phobia of all time.
1. 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.
So there you have it – the top 10 phobias of all time. Share this list of extremely common fears with your friends and remember to check out the top 100 phobias in the world if you want more like this.
Would you like to know what the rich and famous are afraid of? Here are some surprising celebrity phobias.