A phobia is an irrational and excessive fear of an object or situation, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). More often than not, phobia involves a sense of endangerment or a fear of harm. For example, somebody suffering from agoraphobia will dread being trapped in an inescapable place or situation.
Here, we discuss 10 most common phobias that people suffer from:
- Agoraphobia: It is a phobia which is quite common. Almost 2 percent Americans are victims of agoraphobia. It is a fear of open or crowded spaces. It creates a vicious cycle and the sufferer gets panic attacks when nearing any event that necessitates facing such circumstances.
- Acrophobia: It is a fear of heights. It is an irrational fear of heights or the fear of falling. Close to 10 percent people in the U.S. suffer from acrophobia. In severe cases, a victim may even suffer panic attacks.
- Aerophobia: It is the fear of flying. Almost 6.5 percent of the world's population has this fear. This phobia is closely linked with agoraphobia and claustrophobia (fear of small and restricted spaces). In extreme cases, this may affect a person's professional and personal life when air travel becomes inevitable.
- Mysophobia: It is a fear of germs. This fear is also akin to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A person may suffer from both these disorders at the same time. Sufferers often become isolated in mysophobia.
- Claustrophobia: The fear of small spaces, this phobia is common as 5-7 percent of the world population suffers from claustrophobia. This phobia is related to fear of suffocation or the fear of restriction. Very few sufferers seek treatment in this phobia and majority of them go untreated.
- Cynophobia: The fear of dogs is called cynophobia. Many people fear dogs and there is no harm in that. But cynophobia is an extreme and uncommon fear about dogs. It is one of the most common animal phobias in the world. It is estimated that about 36 percent of the sufferers seek treatment for cynophobia.
- Trypophobia: It is the fear of holes. It sounds absurd to be afraid of holes, but for a trypophobe the mere sight of a hole is enough to press the panic button as he becomes quite restless and almost reaches on the verge of a collapse.
- Astraphobia: The fear of thunder and lightning is called astraphobia. It is true that thunderstorm and lightning can make even the brave run for cover, but for an individual suffering from astraphobia, it is altogether a different case. Starting in childhood, this fear can continue into adulthood.
- Ophidiophobia: The fear of snakes is known as ophidiophobia. One may think how fearing snakes can be termed as a phobia as almost everyone is scared of snakes. But for people who suffer from this phobia, it becomes impossible to indulge in hiking, camping and related activities.
- Arachnophobia: The fear of spiders afflicts a lot of people in the society with 30.5 percent of them dwelling in the U.S. alone. This is an extreme fear of spiders and other arachnids like scorpions. This causes a lot of embarrassment to the victims.
A little of fear and phobia is normal. However, when it goes beyond control and begins to affect the daily activities of a person, it becomes a concern. Phobias are mental conditions which qualify for intervention. One should see a psychiatrist if faced with an extreme phobia of any kind. In fact, phobias are mostly related to anxiety disorder in a person.