Uncertainty phobias, a fragment of the human experience. Some thrive in uncertain times, while others turn out emotionally paralyzed. The way one responds to the uncertainty may depend on how scared they are of the unknown.

If one fears spiders or snakes, cause of what they have learned. Like ‘some of the creatures are poisonous and can actually kill you’. But not all fears form based on such real information.

Some fears exist based on what one doesn’t know. So let us see a little bit about these phobias.

Phobias- fear of something

Phobia, an extreme and unreasonable fear reaction. If one has a phobia, they experience a strong sense of terror or panic. Only when they encounter the source of the phobia. Fear can be of a certain place, circumstances or object. Unlike anxiety disorders, phobia is connected to something precise.

The impact of phobia range from irritating to very disabling. People with phobias often recognise their fear as irrational. But powerless to do anything about it. Such phobias can hinder with work, school and personal relationships.

Causes of having fear

Genetic and environmental elements can cause phobias. Also kids who have a close relative with anxiety disorder risk developing a phobia. Disturbing events, like nearly drowning, can bring on a phobia. Exposure to confined spaces, extreme heights and animal or insect bites can all be sources of phobias.

People with medical conditions or health concerns usually have phobias. Another high rate of people getting phobias after traumatic brain injuries. Substance abuse and depression also cause phobias.

Symptoms of phobias

The most common symptom of a phobia- panic attack. Traits of a panic attack include:

  • Pounding heart,
  • Shortness of breath,
  • Hasty speech or inability to speak,
  • Dry mouth,
  • Upset stomach,
  • Nausea,
  • Raised blood pressure,
  • Trembling or shaking,
  • Chest pain or tightness,
  • A choking sensation,
  • Dizziness or light-headedness,
  • Profuse sweating,
  • Sense of approaching doom.

Treatment options

Treatments for phobias include therapeutic techniques, medications or combination of both.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) 

The most commonly used therapeutic treatment for phobias. It involves disclosure to the source of fear in an organised setting. This treatment deconditions people and reduce anxiety.

Therapy emphases on identifying and changing negative thoughts. Also dysfunctional beliefs and negative reactions to the abnormal situation. To expose people to the source of their phobia safely.

Medication

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications. They can help calm emotional and physical reactions to anxiety. A mixture of medication and professional therapy would be the most helpful.

The Unusual Phobias

Agoraphobia

Fear of places or circumstances that one can’t escape from. The word denotes “fear of open spaces.” People with this phobia distress being in huge crowds or stuck outside the home. Also often avoid social circumstances altogether and stay in their homes.

Many individuals with the phobia fear that they may get a panic attack in a place where one can’t escape. And those with chronic health problems fear them having a medical emergency in public area. Or even a place unavailable of help.

Social phobia

Also referred as social anxiety disorder. Extreme concern about the social circumstances and it can also lead to self-isolation. This phobia could be so severe that the modest interactions can cause panic. Such as ordering at a restaurant or even answering the phone. People with the phobia often go out of the way to avoid public circumstances.

Glossophobia

Also known as performance anxiety. The fear of talking in front of spectators. People with the phobia get severe physical symptoms. Even when they think about being in front of a group of people. Treatments can include either therapy or medication.

Dentophobia 

A fear of dentist or dental procedures. This phobia normally develops after an unfriendly experience at a dentist’s office. It can be dangerous if it prevents one from obtaining required dental care.

Xanthophobia

Fear of yellow colour. Subjects of this phobia fear whatsoever in yellow. Including the sun, daffodils and yellow color paint. However, in its most violent form symptoms include devastating fear of the expression ‘yellow’.

Turophobia

Fear of cheese. People having this phobia would avoid eating cheesy stuff like cheese pizza. They fear cheese often cause of the mushy appearance and cheesy taste. They would’ve hard time getting near cheese and result in cold sweat on sight of cheese. Some even fear the words like cheese, cheesy and likewise sounded words.

Somniphobia

Fear of falling asleep. Also known as sleep phobia. An abnormal fear of sleep or falling asleep. However, not to confuse it with insomnia, it isn’t the inability to fall asleep. A very rare sleep disorder that stops one from getting enough sleep. Symptoms are more evident in children. They begin to cry and refuse to be left alone in the room, not wanting to sleep.

Coulrophobia

Fear of clowns. Can be a debilitating fear. For those who fear clowns, it would be difficult to be calm near happenings that others view with joy. Like circus, carnivals or other festivals. However, depiction of clowns as scary and negative characters in popular films, contribute to increasing instances of this phobia.

Hylophobia

Abnormal fear of forests. May only apply to deep or wooded area irrespective of size. Generally arises from a disturbing experience with wild animals inhabiting forests. Sometimes, it can come from the trees themselves. Particularly from the threat of a branch fall or a tree fall.

Omphalophobia

Fear of the navel. Some people seeing belly buttons look unpleasant to them. Also those with the phobia wouldn’t touch their belly button or even the whole belly. Normally caused by traumatic childhood experiences involving belly button. Like being too obsessed about it, resulting in poking it and getting hurt. So if someone touches their belly button or even watching someone else touch their own, symptoms can result. Like trembling, fleeing, nausea, vomiting, fast heartbeat and breathing.

Nomophobia

Fear of being without mobile phone. A term describing an increasing fear in today’s world. It’s on the rise among high school and college students. A growing number of college student shower with their cell phone. Average adolescent would rather lose a finger than cell phone. Reason being rising percentage of text or tweet instead of really talking to others. 

Ombrophobia

Fear of rain. A common anxiety disorder seen in kids and adults alike.

Hemophobia

A phobia of blood or injury. Also people with this kind of phobia may faint when in contact with own blood or another person’s.

Nyctophobia

Fear of night time or darkness. It always begins as a childhood fear. But considered a phobia as it progresses past adolescence.

A few more of unusual phobias:

Cynophobia: The fear of dogs.

Aviophobia: The fear of flying.

Arachibutyrophobia: The fear of peanut butter sticking to roof of mouth.

Arithmophobia: The fear of numbers.

Chirophobia: The fear of hands.

Genuphobia: The fear of knees.

Plutophobia: The fear of money.

Ablutophobia: The fear of bathing, washing or cleaning oneself.

Octophobia: Fear of the number eight.

Pentheraphobia: Fear of mother-in-Law.

Deipnophobia: Fear of dining.

Decidophobia: Fear of making decisions.

Taphophobia: The fear of being buried alive. 

Eisoptrophobia: The fear of mirrors. More specifically, of seeing one’s own reflection in a mirror.

Myrmecophobia: The fear of ants.

Chorophobia: The fear of dancing.

Optophobia: The fear of opening one’s eyes.

Globophobia: The fear of balloons.

Linonophobia: The fear of string.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia: Fear of long words. Ironically, also the longest word in the dictionary!

Conclusion

Phobia- intense fear of a certain object or scenario, which affects the behaviour and sometimes daily life. Often deep rooted psychological reaction tied to a traumatic incident in past. Sometimes people fear things which seems harmless to other people. Like butterflies, balloons, or clowns.

If one has a phobia, it’s important to seek treatment. Overcoming them can be difficult, but there’s hope. With the right treatment, one can learn to manage their fears and lead a fulfilling life.

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