Before showing you some of the reported phobia statistics and facts, I should tell you that there are different types of phobias, which is why I have divided these statistics into social phobias and specific phobias. First, let us look at a few facts and statistics that involves social phobias.
Social phobia facts and statistics
Social phobia is defined as the extreme fear of social situations where the individual is afraid of being judged by or embarrassed in front of other people.
These are some of the most common phobias, affecting nearly 3% of the world’s population. More social phobia statistics:
- Social phobias are often cultural, but they affect people of all races and social classes.
- Interesting among all of the social phobia facts is that more women than men are affected by them. Often, people confuse social phobias with shyness, which is generally more prevalent in women.
- Phobia statistics reveal that only 23% of all people with phobias seek treatment for their anxiety.
- Social phobias affect people of all ages, though they usually begin in adolescence. If phobia statistics and facts are to be believed, then nearly 40% of them begin before the age of 10, while 95% start before the age of 20.
- The more common social phobias include: fear of writing or eating before someone, meeting people of higher authority, using a telephone or speaking before a large crowd etc.
- Typical symptoms of social anxiety phobias are heart palpitations, dry mouth, hot cold flashes and trembling.
- Another interesting fact tells us that nearly 45% of people with social phobias will develop Agoraphobia and the fear of having an anxiety attack in public and embarrassing themselves. This is why many of these phobics try to avoid social situations completely.
- Nearly 17% of people with social phobias develop depression. The majority of them turn to medication, even substance abuse with illegal drugs (nearly 17%) or alcohol (nearly 19%). However, the fact remains that anti anxiety medication and antidepressants are the most effective treatment for social phobias. Apart from prescription medication, Cognitive Behavior Therapy is also a known effective treatment for overcoming social phobias.
- Many people suffering from these phobias have experienced an impact in their personal and professional lives. Some refuse promotions and others refuse to give presentations, attend meetings or other activities that involve social interactions.
- As stated before, nearly 80% phobics find relief in medicines and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. However, treatment should be continued for as long as required since phobia statistics reveal that 50% of these people also tend to relapse.
Specific phobia statistics and facts
Specific phobias are characterized by an irrational or unwarranted fear about a specific situation, object or animals. In some cases, these objects of dread can prove to be dangerous. Here are some specific phobia statistics:
- Specific phobias begin during childhood and can persist all throughout one’s life.
- Nearly 15-20% of us experience specific phobias at least once in our life. In the U.S., nearly 8.7% of people (aged 18 and over) have at least one extreme specific fear and nearly 25 million Americans report having the fear of flying phobia.
- Specific phobias, namely Zoophobias, can affect people of all ages, backgrounds or social-economic statuses.
- More research is needed to isolate the gene responsible for triggering such phobias. However, phobia statistics collected so far show that individuals with a parent or a close relative suffering from specific phobias are likelier to develop the same phobia as well.
- The part of the brain called amygdala is responsible for triggering specific phobias and needs to be further studied to help understand these disorders better.
- According to these phobia facts, the most common specific phobias include the fear of animals, fear of the environment (fear of rain, earthquakes etc.), fear of blood/injury, fear of certain situations (claustrophobia, fear of traveling on bridges etc.), fear of death, fear of certain body sensations and fear of incontinence.
- The majority of these patients do not seek treatment for these phobias. Of those who do, only 20% recover completely.
These phobia facts and statistics have been reported in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition Text Revision by The American Psychiatric Association.