What Is The Most Common Phobia In The World
7 Most Common Phobias & How They Affect Patients
- Arachnophobia Arachnophobia is possibly the most well-known of all phobias.
- Ophidiophobia Ophidiophobia is the fear of snakes.
- Acrophobia Acrophobia, or fear of heights, affects over 20 million people.
- Aerophobia Aerophobia is fear of flying and affects an estimated 8 million people.
Coping With Fears And Phobias
A fear becomes a phobia when you have to change your lifestyle to manage it. A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear or dread aroused by a particular object or circumstance, to the point where it severely restricts your life.
If you have a phobia, youll go to great lengths to avoid an object or situation that most people consider harmless.
Coming into contact, or even the thought of coming into contact, with the object of the phobia makes you panic.
But you dont need to live with a phobia. All phobias are treatable, says Professor Isaac Marks of King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry. Theres no need for anyone to continue to suffer, he says. People can overcome phobias.
Some phobias, such as the fear of snakes , wont usually affect everyday life, but others, such as agoraphobia , can make it very hard to lead a normal life.
People ask for help when a phobia starts to interfere with their life for example, they may be forced to give up work because they cant take public transport, or staying indoors to avoid meeting people, says Marks.
“Its a disabling condition that affects about 8% of the UK population at some point in their lives.”
Phobias can be specific such as the fear of spiders, heights or dentists or more generalised, such as the fear of open spaces, a fear of interacting with other people or even the dread of developing a phobia .
Different Kinds Of Phobias
There are many different kinds of phobias. The most common kind is a social phobia, which can make someone feel scared of being embarrassed in front of other people.
A kid with a social phobia might feel scared of talking to a teacher or a coach or might be afraid of walking in front of the whole classroom when they need to go to the restroom.
A social phobia can make it nearly impossible for a kid to stand up and give a book report or even enjoy a birthday party. Although most kids might be a little afraid of giving a book report to a big group of kids or talking to a teacher, kids with a social phobia become so afraid that they can’t fully enjoy life or function the way other kids do.
Sometimes people may think that a kid with a social phobia is just shy, but it isn’t the same thing. A kid with a social phobia may want to go out and have lots of friends, but just can’t control the fear of being with others.
Agoraphobia is another kind of phobia. This causes someone to worry about having a panic attack in a place where leaving would be hard or embarrassing. The fear of the panic is so strong that they often avoid places where they might have a panic attack.
Claustrophobia is the fear of being in an enclosed space, like an elevator, a tunnel, or an airplane.
There are almost as many phobias as there are things and situations: arachnophobia is a fear of spiders, whereas ablutophobia is a fear of washing yourself or taking a bath or shower.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Phobia For Bees
What Are The Complications Of Phobias
If not treated, a phobia can worsen to the point in which the person’s quality of life is seriously impaired, both by the phobia itself and/or by attempts to avoid or hide it. For example, a fear of flying can result in the sufferer being unable to travel. Some people have problems with their relationships, have failed in school, and/or been unable to maintain employment as the result of a severe phobia. While there may be periods of spontaneous improvement, a phobia does not usually go away unless the individual gets treatments that are specifically designed to address this condition. Alcoholics can be up to 10 times more likely to develop a phobia than nonalcoholics, and phobic individuals may be twice as likely to suffer from alcoholism or another addiction than those who have never been phobic. It has even been found that phobic anxiety can be life-threatening for some people, increasing the risk of suffering from heart disease in both men and women.
List Of Phobias: The Most Common To The Strangest
Phobias are irrational fears that induce an intense emotion when a certain situation or object is encountered.
A phobia is an irrational fear of something that is unlikely to be dangerous.
People with phobias experience an intense fear when they encounter a certain situation or object.
Naturally, people with phobias do their best to avoid situations in which they might come into contact with the object of their phobia.
Some of the most common phobias are of heights, public speaking and snakes .
Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder, which are extremely common, affecting almost one-third of people at some point in their lives.
You May Like: Katsaridaphobia Pronounce
How Do You Get Treatment For Phobias
Phobias are really difficult to manage alone, and luckily, you dont have to theres help out there. Like many other anxiety disorders, they respond well to treatment. The first step is to see your GP or mental health professional, or get in touch with a professional service online or over the phone.
Your doctor will work with you, at a pace that suits you, to figure out a treatment plan that works for you. This could include a combination of therapy, medication and self-management strategies. Get some more information about treatments for anxiety disorders here.
Pearls And Other Issues
The most common signs/symptoms that can be seen in specific phobia are:
- Feeling nauseous, dizzy, or fainting
- Difficulty breathing, chest tightness, or fast heartbeat
- The fear or anxiety out of proportion to the real danger posed by the specific object or situation
Common modalities of treatment include:
- Systematic desensitization
- Medications such as beta-blockers and benzodiazepines
The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is persistent, typically lasting for 6 months or more.
The fear, anxiety, or avoidance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other relevant areas of functioning.
Don’t Miss: What’s The Phobia Of Long Words
Normal Fears In Children
Many childhood fears are natural and tend to develop at specific ages. For example, many young children are afraid of the dark and may need a nightlight to sleep. That doesnt mean they have a phobia. In most cases, they will grow out of this fear as they get older.
For example, the following childhood fears are extremely common and considered normal:
0-2 years Loud noises, strangers, separation from parents, large objects.
3-6 years Imaginary things such as ghosts, monsters, the dark, sleeping alone, strange noises.
7-16 years More realistic fears such as injury, illness, school performance, death, natural disasters.
If your childs fear is not interfering with their daily life or causing them a great deal of distress, then theres little cause for undue concern. However, if the fear is interfering with your childs social activities, school performance, or sleep, you may want to see a qualified child therapist.
What Are The Causes And Risk Factors For Phobias
CirculationDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth EditionJournal of Consulting and Clinical PsychologyClinical PharmacistBritish Journal of Clinical PsychologyPsychological MedicineCommunity Dent Oral EpidemiolPsychosomaticsAll Psych JournalArch Gen PsychiatryCirculationJournal of Neural TransmissionJournal of Psychiatry NeuroscienceAmerican Journal of PsychiatryThe Journal of Nervous and Mental DiseaseJournal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental PsychiatryCurrent Opinion in PsychiatryThe British Journal of PsychiatryAmerican Family PhysicianPsychiatric GeneticsNeuroimagingJournal of Studies on AlcoholGenome BiologyJournal of Clinical PsychopharmacologyNew England Journal of Medicine
Recommended Reading: Can Going Off Birth Control Cause Depression And Anxiety
How Common Are Specific Phobias
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that about 5%-12% of Americans have phobias. Specific phobias affect an estimated 6.3 million adult Americans.
Phobias usually first appear in adolescence and adulthood, but can occur in people of all ages. They are slightly more common in women than in men. Specific phobias in children are common and usually disappear over time. Specific phobias in adults generally start suddenly and are more lasting than childhood phobias. Only about 20% of specific phobias in adults go away on their own .
Claustrophobia: Fear Of Closed Spaces
Another common specific phobia is fear of closed-in spaces, or claustrophobia. Like other specific phobias, claustrophobia is more common in women. Specific phobias are estimated to affect about 19 million Americans. Claustrophobia may develop after a traumatic childhood event, such as being trapped in a closet.
Also Check: Depression Topographic Map
Common Types Of Phobias And Fears
There are four general types of phobias and fears:
- 1. Animal phobias such as the fear of snakes, spiders, rodents, and dogs.
- 2. Natural environment phobias such as a fear of heights, storms, water, and of the dark.
- 3. Situational phobias including the fear of enclosed spaces , flying, driving, tunnels, and bridges.
- 4. Blood-Injection-Injury phobia, the fear of blood, injury, illness, needles, or other medical procedures.
Some phobias, however, dont fall into one of the four common categories. These include fear of choking, fear of getting a disease such as cancer, and fear of clowns. Other common phobias that dont fit neatly into any of the four categories include:
Social phobia, also called social anxiety disorder, is fear of social situations where you may be embarrassed or judged. If you have social phobia, then you may be excessively self-conscious and afraid of humiliating yourself in front of others. Your anxiety over how you will look and what others will think may lead you to avoid certain social situations youd otherwise enjoy.
Fear of public speakingan extremely common phobiais a type of social phobia. Other fears associated with social phobia include fear of eating or drinking in public, talking to strangers, taking exams, mingling at a party, or being called on in class.
Agoraphobia was traditionally thought to involve a fear of public places and open spaces, but is now believed to develop as a complication of panic attacks.
Treating Phobias In Baton Rouge
It is perfectly normal to experience some level of hesitation or nervousness when confronted with a new or intimidating situation. However, such instances should not produce symptoms of panic such as increased heart rate, rapid breathing, trembling, and nausea. If these types of symptoms occur as the result of a particular object or situation, you are likely suffering from a phobia. Fortunately, most of these conditions can be improved dramatically with care from a mental health professional. If you are in the Baton Rouge area and struggling with a phobia, contact Psychiatry Associates of Baton Rouge to request an appointment with one of our skilled psychiatric physicians.
Read Also: Pristiq Drug Interaction
What Causes Specific Phobias
The exact cause of specific phobias is not known, but most appear to be associated with a traumatic experience or a learned reaction. For example, a person who has a frightening or threatening experience with an animal, such as an attack or being bitten, can develop a specific phobia. Witnessing a traumatic event in which others experience harm or extreme fear can also cause a specific phobia, as can receiving information or repeated warnings about potentially dangerous situations or animals.
Fear can be learned from others, as well. A child whose parents react with fear and anxiety to certain objects or situations is likely to also respond to those objects with fear.
Treating Phobias With Technology
The treatment of phobias is going high-tech as well, with virtual reality being used as a tool in helping people overcome their anxieties.
“Virtual reality is the other newer treatment being used for phobias,” says Wilson. “It’s three to four years away from being used on a broad basis because the equipment is so expensive to use, but there are four or five places in the U.S. that are using it today.”
The University of Washington is one institution that uses virtual reality , coupled with real life, in treating phobias. According to a news release, “Researchers at the University of Washington’s Human Interface Technology Lab measured aversion and anxiety responses of students, some of whom had a clinical phobia of spiders, before and after undergoing VR therapy. During the therapy, some of the subjects touched a realistic model of a large spider while grasping a virtual one.”
The combination of fact with fiction worked: Those students were able to come twice as close to a real spider after completing three therapy sessions, and reported a greater decrease in anxiety during treatment, than those who underwent VR therapy alone.
You May Like: What Is The Fear Of Throwing Up Called
What Are The Symptoms Of Aquaphobia
Seeing water can trigger intense fear and anxiety in a person with aquaphobia. This could be a very small amount of water, like whats found in the bathroom sink, or a large body of water, such as an ocean. The amount of water isnt what causes the phobia. Its the water itself that creates the fear and resulting anxiety.
Some of the more common symptoms of aquaphobia include:
- an immediate feeling of intense fear, anxiety, and panic when thinking about water
- a persistent, excessive, or unreasonable fear when exposed to water
- recognizing that the fear of water is excessive or out of proportion to the actual threat
- avoidance of water
- tight chest and difficulty breathing
Tips For Managing Claustrophobia
Many people with claustrophobia will avoid the spaces that trigger the condition. But that may not be a good long-term solution because you may eventually find yourself in a scary but unavoidable situation. Here are some ways to cope during an attack:
- Breathe slowly and deeply while counting to three with each breath.
- Focus on something safe, like time passing on your watch.
- Remind yourself repeatedly that your fear and anxiety will pass.
- Challenge whats triggering your attack by repeating that the fear is irrational.
- Visualize and focus on a place or moment that brings you calm.
Its also important not to resist the attack when its happening. You may want to stop the attack from happening, but if youre unable to stop it, your anxiety may increase and make the attack worse.
Instead, accept that the attack is occurring, remind yourself that its OK to experience these feelings, reassure yourself that the attack isnt life threatening, and remember that it will pass.
Recommended Reading: Lamictal For Borderline Personality Disorder
Social Phobia: Fear Of People
Fear of being embarrassed in front of other people is called social phobia. In mild cases it may be experienced as the common fear of public speaking, but for some people this fear may extend to something as simple as writing a check in front of another person or eating in public. Social phobias are also called social anxiety disorders and they affect about 15 million American adults, men and women equally.
How Is Autophobia Diagnosed
Autophobia is a phobia, or fear-based disorder. If you suspect you have autophobia, you should visit your general practitioner. They can refer you to a mental healthcare specialist.
When you see a mental health specialist they will perform a psychological evaluation. They will ask for your medical history to see if a physical problem is affecting your mental health. After that they will perform a psychological evaluation. This involves asking lots of questions about your daily activities and feelings.
Autophobia is considered a situational phobia. This means that the situation of being alone or loneliness causes extreme distress. To be diagnosed with autophobia, your fear of being alone causes you so much anxiety that it interferes with your daily routine.
In some cases, people have more than one phobia at a time. Its possible that youre dealing with more than one phobia, which could be making your autophobia even more challenging to cope with. Talk to your doctor about any other fears you have.
People with specific phobias like autophobia are often treated with psychotherapy. The most common types are exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
Don’t Miss: Feretrophobia
When To Seek Help For Phobias And Fears
Although phobias are common, they dont always cause considerable distress or significantly disrupt your life. For example, if you have a snake phobia, it may cause no problems in your everyday activities if you live in a city where youre not likely to run into one. On the other hand, if you have a severe phobia of crowded spaces, living in a big city would pose a problem.
If your phobia doesnt impact your life that much, its probably nothing to be concerned about. But if avoidance of the object, activity, or situation that triggers your phobia interferes with your normal functioning, or keeps you from doing things you would otherwise enjoy, its time to seek help.
Consider treatment for your phobia if:
- It causes intense and disabling fear, anxiety, and panic
- You recognize that your fear is excessive and unreasonable
- You avoid certain situations and places because of your phobia
- Your avoidance interferes with your normal routine or causes significant distress
- Youve had the phobia for at least six months
How Safety Behaviour And Objects May Reduce Phobia Symptoms
Safety behaviour or safety objects may reduce certain specific phobia symptoms and, therefore, negatively influence the test results. Safety behaviours are coping behaviours that help you to reduce anxiety and fear when facing the feared object, animal or situation. An example of safety behaviour is: leaving the situation early, not approaching the feared animal, but also certain rituals or compulsions, such as checking if the cage is locked several times. A safety object is any object or human being that calms someone down or reduces their anxiety levels when facing the feared animal, situation or object. An example of a safety object or person: taking a friend to the store in case the person has Agoraphobia , using soap to wash hands excessively in case of Mysophobia , and a safety blanket for children to protect them against ghosts.However, apart from the possible negative influence on the phobia test, safety behaviour also has a negative effect on treatment and enhances the experienced anxiety. Safety behaviour basically teaches someone with a phobia that their fear can only reduce because of the safety behaviour or object .
Recommended Reading: How Does Schizophrenia Affect Families