How The Brain Works During A Phobia
Some areas of the brain store and recall dangerous or potentially deadly events.
If a person faces a similar event later on in life, those areas of the brain retrieve the stressful memory, sometimes more than once. This causes the body to experience the same reaction.
In a phobia, the areas of the brain that deal with fear and stress keep retrieving the frightening event inappropriately.
Researchers have found that phobias are
What Causes Social Phobia
Like other phobias, social phobia is a fear reaction to something that isn’t actually dangerous although the body and mind react as if the danger is real. This means that someone feels physical sensations of fear, like a faster heartbeat and breathing. These are part of the body’s fightflight response. They’re caused by a rush of adrenaline and other chemicals that prepare the body to either fight or make a quick getaway.
This biological mechanism kicks in when we feel afraid. It’s a built-in nervous system response that alerts us to danger so we can protect ourselves. With social phobia, this response gets activated too often, too strongly, and in situations where it’s out of place. Because the physical sensations that go with the response are real and sometimes quite strong the danger seems real too. So the person will react by freezing up, and will feel unable to interact.
As the body experiences these physical sensations, the mind goes through emotions like feeling afraid or nervous.
People with social phobia tend to interpret these sensations and emotions in a way that leads them to avoid the situation . Someone else might interpret the same physical sensations of nervousness a different way .
Symmetrophobia: Straight Matching Or Not
A handful of unfortunate people have symmetrophobia, a morbid and irrational fear of symmetry. This can manifest itself as a compulsive need to move the tables at either end of the sofa to ensure they dont match or something similar. Sufferers cannot bare the order;of items displayed in an even fashion and will respond with the physical symptoms of terror when faced with them.
On the flip side, there is asymmetriphobia, the fear of uneven or mismatched items. One child who had asymmetriphobia was unable to go outside for fear he would see someone with odd socks. He would not even open the door to his home, in case the caller was wearing something mismatched.
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Common Causes And Triggers Of Verbophobia
There are a large variety of reasons that cause or trigger the fear of words. But the most prominent ones are are:
- Upbringing People who are raised by people that either are afraid, or have transmitted a sense of uncertainty or danger related to words, might experience Verbophobia most commonly.
- Past Experience It might be also induced, or suggested from people that might have had bad past experiences with/in words.
- Genetics A persons ancestors that have been fearful of words were probably more likely to survive and pass down these fearful genes to their children and so on.
How Is Aquaphobia Treated
Since aquaphobia is considered a specific phobia, its treated most commonly with two forms of psychotherapy: exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy.
The preferred treatment method is exposure therapy. During this type of therapy, youll be repeatedly exposed to the source of the phobia in this case, water. As youre exposed to water, your therapist will keep track of your reactions, thoughts, feelings, and sensations in order to help you manage your anxiety.
With cognitive behavioral therapy, youll learn to challenge your thoughts and beliefs about your fear of water. As you learn to challenge your fears, youll also develop strategies to cope with those thought patterns and beliefs.
In addition to professional treatment, there are also several self-care techniques you can practice at home. Mindfulness-based strategies, daily physical activity, yoga, and deep breathing are all helpful strategies when treating phobias.
In the later stages of treatment, you may decide to work with a specially trained swim instructor who can help you learn to feel comfortable swimming.
Your doctor might also prescribe medications to treat some symptoms of anxiety and panic. But the Mayo Clinic notes these arent used long term. Rather, medications can help during initial treatment and for specific reasons.
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When To See A Doctor
A person should see a doctor if they have a phobia that is interfering with their everyday activities.
Sometimes, however, a persons phobia may limit their ability to seek treatment. For example, a person who has severe agoraphobia may fear leaving the house to seek treatment. Likewise, a person who has a fear of healthcare providers or medical procedures may avoid visiting their doctor.
In some cases, a person may feel more comfortable talking to a healthcare provider over the phone. The ADAA have a helpful search tool that allows people to find a psychotherapist in their area.
Some providers also offer counseling services via email or video.
What Are The Effects Of Phobias
Untreated, phobias can significantly interfere with one’s ability to function and enjoy life. People with phobias may experience problems at work, school, and with family and friends. Phobias may get better for short periods of time, but they don’t typically resolve without treatment. Phobias may go hand-in-hand with alcoholism. Those who struggle with alcoholism are up to 10 times more likely to have a phobia compared to those who don’t struggle with alcoholism. And people who have phobias are up to twice as likely to be alcoholics compared to those who do not have phobias.
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Associations With Infectious Pathogens
A 2017 study found that participants tended to associate hole patterns with skin-transmitted pathogens. Study participants reported feelings of skin-itching and skin-crawling when viewing such patterns.
Disgust or fear of potential threats is an adaptive evolutionary response. In many cases, these feelings help keep us safe from danger. In the case of trypophobia, researchers believe it may be an overgeneralized and exaggerated form of this normally adaptive response,
What Are The Causes And Risk Factors For Phobias
A variety of factors contribute to the development of phobias. Genes, cultural influences, and traumatic events can all contribute to phobias. Someone who has an immediate relative with a phobia is about three times more likely to suffer from a phobia than someone who does not have a similar family history. People with phobias try to manage stress by avoiding things they are afraid of. They may also find it difficult to minimize the intensity of fearful or stimulating situations, which reinforces the phobia.
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Zoophobia: A Menagerie Of Fears
The most common type of specific phobia is zoophobia or fear of animals. Zoophobia is actually a generic term that encompasses a group of phobias involving specific animals. Examples include arachnophobia — fear of spiders; ophidiophobia — fear of snakes; ornithophobia — fear of birds, and apiphobia — fear of bees. Such phobias often develop in childhood and sometimes go away as the child ages. But they can persist into adulthood.
Rare And Uncommon Phobias
Now that we better understand fear, anxiety, phobias, and how they affect everything from human evolution to our everyday lives, lets explore some of the most intriguing phobias. We have compiled a list of rare and uncommon phobias that may seem peculiar, but are an important aspect of understanding ourselves and mental health:
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Arachnophobia: Fear Of Spiders
It is not abnormal for a child to have a severe fear of certain animals such as snakes or spiders. These may be the object of childhood nightmares. But when an extreme fear of an animal persists into adulthood, it rarely goes away without treatment. Fear of animals is the most common type of specific phobia. If you saw the Hollywood film Arachnophobia, you know thats the name for the fear of spiders.
What Are The Different Types Of Phobias
The fear associated with a phobia is much greater than that caused by stress or worry. Phobias cause extreme fear. There are many different types of phobias. It’s possible to be afraid of certain situations, animals, and social interactions. When someone is afraid of a certain object or item they are said to suffer from a specific phobia. The list of different types of phobias is endless. The following slides contain information about the most common phobias.
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Other Types Of Phobias
Many people dislike certain situations or objects, but to be a true phobia, the fear must interfere with daily life. Here are a few more of the most common ones:
Glossophobia: This is known as performance anxiety, or the fear of speaking in front of an audience. People with this phobia have severe physical symptoms when they even think about being in front of a group of people. <Glossophobia treatments can include either therapy or medication.
Acrophobia: This is the fear of heights. People with this phobia avoid mountains, bridges, or the higher floors of buildings. Symptoms include vertigo, dizziness, sweating, and feeling as if theyll pass out or lose consciousness.
Claustrophobia: This is a fear of enclosed or tight spaces. Severe claustrophobia can be especially disabling if it prevents you from riding in cars or elevators. <Learn more about claustrophobia, from additional symptoms to treatment options.
Aviophobia: This is also known as the fear of flying.
Dentophobia: Dentophobia is a fear of the dentist or dental procedures. This phobia generally develops after an unpleasant experience at a dentists office. It can be harmful if it prevents you from obtaining needed dental care.
Hemophobia: This is a phobia of blood or injury. A person with hemophobia may faint when they come in contact with their own blood or another persons blood.
Arachnophobia: This means fear of spiders.
Cynophobia: This is a fear of dogs.
Ophidiophobia: People with this phobia fear snakes.
Social Phobia: Beyond Being Shy
Someone with a social phobia is not just shy. That person feels extreme anxiety and fear about how they will perform in a social situation. Will their actions seem appropriate to others? Will others be able to tell they are anxious? Will the words be there when it’s time to talk? Because untreated social phobia often leads to avoiding social contact, it can have a major negative impact on a person’s relationships and professional life.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Thalassophobia
Differing from aquaphobia, which is the fear of any type or amount of water, thalassophobia is the persistent fear of bodies of deep, dark water and what exists below the surface. Whether in the ocean, a deep river, or a large lake, the fear can stem from the thought of an unknown creature swimming below you or even just knowing how deep, expansive, and dark some large bodies of water are. Often, the most frightening part is the waters ability to get darker the deeper it gets, coupled with what little we actually know about the life forms inhabiting the deepest depths.
In extreme cases, a person who experiences this phobia may start to shake, sweat, or vomit when they are near or in a large body of water and these sensations can occur when merely looking at pictures of a watery expanse. It can also be a terrifying thought to be so far away from the land while in the water. In most cases, people who have this fear will be scared, nervous, and generally uneasy around large bodies of water.
- Uncontrollable anxiety when confronted with the fear
- The need to avoid the source of the fear at all costs
- Inability to function normally when around the trigger
- Awareness the fear is irrational, yet an inability to control the feelings
Additionally, if you are experiencing the feelings of panic and intense anxiety when exposed to a large body of water, physical sensations can include:
- Chest pains or tightness in the chest
- Dry mouth
Unusual And Uncommon Phobias
A phobia is a mental condition that occurs due to feelings of persistent and unreasonable fear caused by an object or situation. Although there is normally little danger in object of the phobia, the presence or anticipation of the object can cause signifiant distress, including panic attacks, fainting, and/or sweating. Some of the most unusual and uncommon phobias are included below.
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Emetophobia: Calling On The Porcelain Telephone
I have yet to meet the person who doesnt hate vomiting. That horrible moment when your mouth starts to flood with drool, your stomach muscles clenching and then the arrival of that uncontrollable spasm as your body tries to part ways with your last meal.
According to a Columbia University study just looking at certain foods, especially if it is the last thing you ate before you last threw up can be enough to set off the cycle of panic and fear. Emetophobia is sometimes the fear of vomiting because of the actual physical event, or it can also apply to the fear of vomiting and the associated embarrassing that might cause if it happens in public.
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.
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What Is Social Phobia
If you have social phobia, you will feel a sense of intense fear in social situations. You will often try to avoid them. You might worry about a social event before, during and after it has happened. It is also known as social anxiety or social anxiety disorder.
A lot of people find social situations difficult, or feel shy or awkward at certain times this is completely normal.
Social phobia however can completely overwhelm you. You might find it very difficult to engage in everyday activities such as:
- talking in groups
- speaking to authority figures, such as talking to doctors
- eating and drinking in front of others
- regular trips out, to the shops for example
- going to work.
“I have suffered from phobias since I was three years old and couldn’t cope with the social demands of a playgroup. I then went on to suffer from School Phobia right through to my teens, then various phobias surrounding college and work, which led to me becoming unemployed, isolated, agoraphobic and severely depressed.”
You might worry about these social situations because you fear that others will judge you negatively. Or maybe you fear that you’ll offend others by something you say or do. You may also worry about others noticing that you are anxious.
Social phobia can hugely affect your everyday life. It might:
Lots of social phobia, but no friends
“When I walked through the door and was amongst other people, I couldn’t even open my eyes.”
Pediophobia: Hey There Doll
The fear of dolls is one of the more understandable phobias. This beady little eyes staring out, watching you, waiting until you are asleep to come alive and get you, ahhhhhh.
Sorry, got a little distracted there. Where was I? Oh yes, pediophobia, the irrational fear of dols which is actually a very broad phobia that includes the fear of mannequins, puppets, robotic figures, waxworks and any other doll-like item.
This doesnt mean that all sufferers are scared of all things. In fact, some are only scared of particular forms of dolls such as one with a porcelain face or a doll that walks.
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List Of Phobias By Name
Phobias are listed on this page alphabetically by their medical or scientific label. If you are looking for a specific fear; , go to the list of phobias by category
Listings underlined;may indicate other more serious anxiety disorders such as OCD. Some phobias may also indicate self esteem issues, PTSD or forms of abuse. Please see About Phobias for more information
Bacillophobia- Fear of microbes.Batophobia Fear of heights or being close to high buildings.Batrachophobia Fear of amphibians, such as frogs, newts, salamanders, etc.Belonephobia Fear of pins and needlesBibliophobia Fear of books.Bogyphobia Fear of bogeys or the bogeyman.Botanophobia Fear of plants.Bromidrosiphobia or Bromidrophobia Fear of body smells.Brontophobia Fear of thunder and lightning.Bufonophobia Fear of toads.
Caligynephobia Fear of beautiful women.Cancerophobia or Carcinophobia Fear of cancer.
Carpophobia fear of wristsCardiophobia Fear of the heart.Carnophobia Fear of meat.Catagelophobia Fear of being ridiculed.Catoptrophobia Fear of mirrors.Cenophobia or Centophobia Fear of new things or ideas.Ceraunophobia Fear of thunder and lightning.Chaetophobia Fear of hair.Chemophobia Fear of chemicals or working with chemicals.Chiraptophobia Fear of being touched.Chirophobia Fear of hands.
or Fibriphobia or Fibriophobia Fear of fever.Felinophobia Fear of cats.Frigophobia Fear of cold or cold things.