Guide: Uncommon Phobias & Extraordinary Fears (2023)

What is a Phobia?

For most of us, fear and anxiety are powerful factors in our lives. Fear has been an important evolutionary tool that has allowed humans to develop precautions against dangerous things and situations. However, when a fear or anxiety becomes a greater threat than the actual person, place, or thing, a normally healthy fear or anxiety can become a debilitating phobia.

Mental health professionals consider phobias to be diagnosable mental disorders. The intense stress that generally accompanies a phobia can stop a person from functioning normally and lead to crippling panic attacks. The United States has approximately 19 million people (over 8% of the total population) that suffer from various phobias, with varying levels of severity.

More Statistics on Phobias:

  • Women are nearly twice as likely to be affected by a phobia as men
  • Symptoms of phobias tend to begin in early to mid childhood; the average age-of-onset is about 7 years old
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) are closely tied to anxiety disorders and phobias


Common vs Uncommon Phobias

While most of us are familiar with common phobias like Arachnophobia (fear of spiders), Ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), Acrophobia (fear of heights), Aerophobia (fear of flying), Claustrophobia (fear of confined spaces), there are a large number of phobias that may seem unusual, but still have a profound effect on people’s lives.

By understanding these phobias, we will be better equipped to help our suffering friends and family members, and also allow us to better understand our own fears and anxieties. By mastering our fears and overcoming anxiety, we can create a healthy balance between caution and comfort.

Survival-Based Fears

Common phobias like Arachnophobia and Ophidiophobia have developed as essential survival mechanisms throughout human evolution. These fear-based precautions have been bred into humans as an instinctual response that allows us to identify and avoid danger. Even many uncommon fears are generally based on practical knowledge.

For example, Aquaphobia may seem strange because our bodies are composed of water, we need water to survive, and we see it almost everywhere. So, how can we be afraid of something so common? The fear of drowning ties into Aquaphobia, a very real threat that has also become part of our instinctual evolution. The fear of water also manifests in Thalassophobia, which is specifically tied to anxiety around deep bodies of water like a deep lake, river, or the ocean.

By examining the root causes and history of fear and phobias, we can better understand how they developed and when they are a useful cautionary device and when they can become a debilitating phobia.

Rare and Uncommon Phobias

Now that we better understand fear, anxiety, phobias, and how they affect everything from human evolution to our everyday lives, let’s 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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Ablutophobia | Fear of bathing

This phobia can sometimes be the result of a traumatic, water-related incident, especially if it involves bathing during juvenile years. This phobia can cause a great deal of social anxiety and friction as it can often result in unpleasant body odors. Many sufferers will grow out of this phobia as they get older. Learn more about the causes and treatments of ablutophobia in this post from the Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S blog.

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Arachibutyrophobia | Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth

Though Arachibutyrophobia may sound like a minor issue, this phobia likely stems from a fear of choking or inability to open one’s mouth. While some sufferers may be able to eat small amounts of peanut butter, especially if it is not sticky, like many candy bar fillings, many will not eat peanut butter at all for fear of it sticking to the roof of their mouth.

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Agoraphobia | The Fear of Open Spaces

Agoraphobia is an unexplainable fear or anxiety of open, crowded places, which can eventually turn into a fear of leaving your home altogether. Agoraphobia is a form of anxiety disorder that affects over 200,000 Americans each year. In most cases, agoraphobia can stem from cultural or event-related occurrences. Things like the COVID-19 pandemic, 9/11, and mass shootings are frequently referenced as the main reason that people experience agoraphobia. Learn more about the causes and treatments of agoraphobia in this post from the Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S blog.

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Arithmophobia | Fear of math

While many of us did not enjoy math class, Arithmophobia takes this anxiety to the next level. This phobia isn’t as much a fear of seeing numbers or symbols, as it is a fear of being forced into a situation where one has to do math, especially when that person’s math skills are subpar. Learn more about the causes and treatments of arithmophobia in this post from the Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S blog.

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Chionophobia — Fear of Snow

Chionophobia, the fear of snow, may seem unusual to some, especially those who find joy in winter activities. However, individuals with this phobia often associate snow with danger, such as accidents or getting trapped, possibly due to past traumatic experiences. While some might manage to be around small quantities of snow, others might avoid cold climates altogether to prevent exposure to snow.

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Chirophobia | Fear of hands

This phobia can be a fear of one’s own hands or another’s hand. It is often the result of a traumatic event like a severe hand injury or a persistent condition like arthritis.

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Chloephobia | Fear of newspapers

This phobia is often connected to the touch, sound, and smell of a newspaper. Sufferers may become anxious at the sound of a rustling newspaper of the smell of newspaper ink and paper.

(Video) 7 Rarest Phobia You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

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Eisoptrophobia | Fear of mirrors

Sometimes referred to as spectrophobia or catoptrophobia, sufferers are often unable to look at themselves in a mirror. In more severe cases, this anxiety can also extend to reflective surfaces like glass or standing water.

One genesis of this phobia revolves around the superstitions tied to mirrors. The fear of seeing something supernatural or breaking a mirror and being cursed with bad luck can cause someone to develop Eisoptrophobia. In other cases, this phobia can stem from low self-esteem and an aversion to seeing oneself.

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Ergophobia | The Fear of Going to Work

Ergophobia is an irrational and sometimes extreme fear of work and the surrounding features of work, like work-related tasks, social relationships, and public experiences. In most cases, ergophobia stems from a negative or traumatic work experience, like an embarrassing moment or abusive situation in the workplace, like being called out by a boss, or being sexually harassed. For some individuals, just hearing about a negative work situation from a friend or family member can result in ergophobia. Learn more about the causes and treatments of ergophobia in this post from the Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S blog.

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Globophobia | Fear of balloons

This phobia often originates from a traumatic event, especially at a young age when a popping balloon caused a jump scare and is also often linked to a fear of clowns (coulrophobia). Sufferers of this phobia can have varying levels of anxiety with some casually avoiding balloons, while more severe cases would prohibit being around places that simply may have balloons. Learn more about the causes and treatments of globophobia in this post from the Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S blog.

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Heliophobia — Fear of Sunlight

While the sun is essential for life, those with Heliophobia have an intense fear of sunlight. This phobia can be linked to fears of sunburn, skin cancer, or damaging one's eyesight. Some sufferers may be able to tolerate indirect sunlight or sunrise and sunset, while others might go to great lengths to avoid any form of sunlight, often leading to a significant impact on their daily routines.

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Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia — Fear of Long Words

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is an extreme fear of long words, and in a twist of irony, the term itself is one of the longest words in the English language. This fear often stems from the intimidation or embarrassment a person might feel when confronted with long, complex words they may have difficulty pronouncing or understanding. This fear can particularly affect a person's educational or professional life, where exposure to complicated terminology may be unavoidable.

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Hylophobia — Fear of Forests

Hylophobia, or the fear of forests, often originates from a fear of the unknown or feeling overwhelmed by the dense trees and the potential for getting lost. Some individuals might be able to visit small, well-maintained parks, but many avoid forested areas completely. This phobia can significantly limit outdoor recreational activities and travel to certain locations.

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Lachanophobia — Fear of Vegetables

While it might sound like a child's excuse to skip the greens, Lachanophobia is a real and sometimes debilitating fear of vegetables. This phobia could stem from negative experiences in childhood or a fear of the textures or tastes associated with vegetables. Some individuals might be able to consume vegetables when masked in dishes, while others avoid them entirely, which could lead to nutritional challenges.

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Omphalophobia | Fear of Umbilicus (Bello Buttons)

Omphalophobia sufferers will often avoid areas like the beach, where exposed belly buttons are common. In more severe cases, they may even cover up their own belly button with tape or a bandaid. This phobia may be related to Trypophobia (fear of holes) or could be the result of a previous infection in the Umbilicus.

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Optophobia — Fear of Opening One's Eyes

Optophobia is the fear of opening one's eyes. This phobia can stem from a variety of sources, such as traumatic past experiences, fear of the unknown, or heightened sensitivity to light. People with Optophobia may be able to manage their fear in familiar or controlled environments, like their homes, where they can predict what they'll see when they open their eyes. However, they can experience significant anxiety or panic when faced with new or unpredictable situations, where they don't know what visual stimuli they may encounter upon opening their eyes. This fear can greatly impact a person's daily life, affecting their ability to perform routine tasks, interact with others, and navigate their surroundings.

(Video) 9 Common Phobias You’ve Probably Don’t Know Much About

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Optophobia | Fear of opening your eyes

This phobia is generally the result of a traumatic event, especially during childhood. This phobia can be extremely debilitating, as sufferers will often avoid leaving their homes and seek out dark or dimly lit areas.

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Nomophobia | Fear of not having your cell phone

This is an anxiety that many of us feel to varying extents, however, it becomes a phobia when the anxiety turns into a consistent panic or fear, especially when perseverating on the mere idea of being without a mobile phone. This phobia also extends to having a phone with a dead battery or being out of service, thereby making the phone unusable. Nomophobia is often connected with an addiction to our phones and the need to be constantly connected. Learn more about the causes and treatments of nomophobia in this post from the Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-Sblog.

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Plutophobia | Fear of wealth

This phobia deals less with the fear of physical currency and more with the anxiety around wealth or being wealthy. Sufferers dread the responsibility and weight that accompanies wealth. They fear that they will be targeted for their wealth and subsequently put into danger. They may sabotage their career or money-making opportunities.

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Pogonophobia | Fear of facial hair

This fear is often the result of a traumatic experience with someone who has significant facial hair or a beard. Beards also partially hide someone’s face, creating an additional layer of anxiety for those that struggle in social situations, or reading social cues. In more severe cases, a sufferer of pogonophobia may not even be able to look at a picture of someone with a beard.

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Rhytiphobia — Fear of Getting Wrinkles

Rhytiphobia is an intense fear of getting wrinkles. It's often associated with a fear of aging or a loss of attractiveness and youth. This fear can lead individuals to go to great lengths to maintain their appearance, often investing in a myriad of skin care products and procedures. While some might manage their fears and accept the natural aging process, others may develop obsessive behaviors related to their appearance.

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Teratophobia — Fear of Disfigured Individuals

Teratophobia, or the fear of disfigured individuals, can stem from a fear of the unfamiliar or the fear of becoming disfigured oneself. This fear can result in the avoidance of individuals with physical differences or those who have experienced accidents or illnesses that have altered

their appearance.

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Thalassophobia — Fear of the Ocean

Thalassophobia is the deep-seated fear of the ocean or large bodies of water. This phobia often stems from the vastness of the sea, the feeling of insignificance it inspires, or a fear of the unknown creatures that reside beneath its surface. People with Thalassophobia may tolerate smaller, controlled bodies of water, like swimming pools or ponds, but can experience intense anxiety when faced with large expanses of water, such as the sea or ocean. This fear can limit a person's enjoyment of activities such as swimming, boating, or even traveling to coastal areas. The unpredictability and overwhelming nature of the sea can trigger feelings of dread and panic in those suffering from Thalassophobia.

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Trypophobia — Fear of Holes

Trypophobia, characterized by an intense fear of holes, particularly those that are clustered together, may seem peculiar to those who don't experience it. This phobia is often triggered by patterns found in nature, like honeycombs or lotus seed pods, or even everyday objects like aerated chocolate or a sponge. Researchers believe this fear may have evolutionary origins. The patterns that trigger trypophobia often resemble those found in dangerous animals or are associated with disease or decay, suggesting that this fear may be an instinctual response to avoid potential danger.

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Turophobia | Fear of cheese

A fear of cheese can often be traced back to an incident with cheese, especially in early childhood. Being forced to eat cheese, especially when lactose intolerant can create an aversion of anxiety towards cheese. More severe cases can result in a fear of seeing cheese.

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Wiccaphobia — Fear of Witches & Witchcraft

Wiccaphobia is the fear of witches and witchcraft. This phobia often originates from cultural or religious beliefs, horror films, or historical events such as the Salem Witch Trials. Those with Wiccaphobia might be able to tolerate fictional depictions of witches, like in children's stories, but can become extremely anxious when exposed to real-world references to witchcraft, such as Wiccan practices or Halloween decorations.

(Video) The Top 7 Most Common Phobias

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Xanthophobia | Fear of the color yellow

This is a difficult phobia to deal with, as some things in nature and many man-made things are yellow. Sufferers may fear something seemingly benign like a flower, school bus, or wheel of cheese. This phobia could originate from survival-based evolution, as animals that are brightly colored, like frogs or snakes, are sometimes poisonous or venomous.

Get Help with Your Phobias and Anxieties

Though some of these phobias may seem harmless, even the most obscure ones can have a serious, adverse effect on someone’s life. At Louis Laves-Webb we take all phobias seriously and will work with you to find the root cause of your phobia. Our expert team of licensed therapists will help you learn coping strategies and move forward on the path to peace and mental health. Please submit a contact form or call our offices to get started on the journey to overcome your fears and phobias.

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(Video) Bro has no fear. 😳😳

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What is the rarest phobia in the world? ›

1. Arachibutyrophobia (Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth) Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. While the phenomenon has happened to everyone at one point or another, people with arachibutyrophobia are extremely afraid of it.

What is the longest phobia name? ›

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is one of the longest words in the dictionary, and ironically, it means the fear of long words. It originally was referred to as Sesquipedalophobia but was changed at some point to sound more intimidating.

What is Xanthophobia? ›

Xanthophobia, fear of the color yellow.

How rare is traumatophobia? ›

Fear of blood (hemophobia), injections (trypanophobia), needles or other sharp objects (belonephobia), or injury (traumatophobia) occurs to some degree in at least 5% of the population.

How rare is megalophobia? ›

Megalophobia is common among many people, but can be felt and experienced differently. For example, someone might just be afraid of large animals like elephants and whales, while others might be afraid of man-made objects specifically.

What is the darkest phobia? ›

Nyctophobia is an extreme fear of the dark. This phobia is very common among children but can affect people of all ages.

Is Bananaphobia a real thing? ›

It is very rare and uncommon, but the fear of bananas or bananaphobia does exist. A very famous case about such a phobia has been reported in the Daily Mail.

What is the forgotten phobia called? ›

Athazagoraphobia is a fear of forgetting someone or something, as well as a fear of being forgotten.

What is the 2nd longest phobia? ›

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is a phobia, meaning the fear of long words. Ironically, it is a long word itself. The phobia isn't considered an actual phobia, but more of a social phobia. This is the second longest word in the English language.

Is there a phobia name for everything? ›

This explains why the words “panophobia” and “pantophobia” came to describe an extreme, wide-ranging fear of everything. If you have a specific phobia, you feel intense anxiety about a particular object or situation, such as storms or insects.

What is the 2nd longest phobia name? ›

2. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (36 letters)

What is plutophobia? ›

Plutophobia is derived from Pluto (wealth) and Phobia. (fear) is the fear of wealth.

What means Tomophobia? ›

Introduction. Tomophobia refers to fear or anxiety caused by forthcoming surgical procedures and/or medical interventions.

What fear is Megalophobia? ›

A person with megalophobia experiences intense fear and anxiety when they think of or are around large objects such as large buildings, statues, animals and vehicles.

How rare is Trypanophobia? ›

How common is trypanophobia? Research shows that between 33% to 63% of children may have a specific phobia of needles. While individuals often become less afraid of needles by the time they are adults, some studies suggest that up to 10% of the total population experiences trypanophobia.

What is dystychiphobia? ›

Dystychiphobia is a fear of accidents. With this specific phobia, you may feel anxious when you think about or see a place where you fear an accident may happen.

How common is Porphyrophobia? ›

How common is porphyrophobia? There aren't specific statistics about porphyrophobia. But studies show that about 12% of adults and 19% of teenagers in the U.S. experience a specific phobia at some time in their lives.

How rare is Phobophobia? ›

How common is phobophobia? It's hard knowing exactly how many people have a specific phobia, like phobophobia, but it's rare. We do know that about 1 in 10 American adults and 1 in 5 teenagers will deal with a specific phobia disorder at some point in their lives, though.

Is Astrophobia a rare phobia? ›

It typically affects children, but many adults still deal with a fear of thunderstorms. Astraphobia is one of the most common specific phobias.

How rare is coulrophobia? ›

How common is fear of clowns? There are few studies on coulrophobia. Some experts believe as many as 1 in 10 adults have a fear of clowns. One study on hospitalized children found that approximately 10 out of 1,000 children, most of them girls, were afraid of the clowns the hospital brought in to cheer them up.

Why am I scared of the dark at 13? ›

Being afraid of the dark often starts in childhood and is viewed as a normal part of development. Studies focused on this phobia have shown that humans often fear the dark for its lack of any visual stimuli. In other words, people may fear night and darkness because they cannot see what's around them.

What is the fear of Bibliophobia? ›

Bibliophobia is an intense fear of books. The condition is a specific phobia (fear), which is a type of anxiety disorder. A person with bibliophobia might fear all books or only a specific kind, such as textbooks or children's books.

What is the phobia of being watched? ›

Social anxiety disorder is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and other daily activities. It can even make it hard to make and keep friends. The good news is social anxiety disorder is treatable.

Is Pediophobia real? ›

Pediophobia is a fear of dolls or inanimate objects that look real, and pedophobia is a fear of actual children. People can suffer from both phobias, so someone who fears children (pedophobia) may also fear the childlike features of dolls (pediophobia), and someone with pediophobia may also have pedophobia.

Is Deipnophobia real? ›

Deipnophobia is a form of social anxiety disorder, manifesting as the fear of eating in front of others. The condition can be difficult or even debilitating to deal with every day.

Is Podophobia real? ›

Podophobia is an intense fear of feet. Someone with the condition might be scared of their own feet or other people's feet. If your fear prevents you from enjoying everyday activities, or if it affects your ability to function at work, school or in social situations, it's time to get help.

What causes Frigophobia? ›

Chinese traditional beliefs also states that working women are particularly susceptible to frigophobia, triggered by a combination of stress, menopause, pregnancy and other disorders such as anemia. During winter, these women are likely to experience coldness in extremities and back pains caused by the disorder.

What causes spectrophobia? ›

An individual who has experienced a traumatic event involving a mirror may develop spectrophobia. For example, a child who was frightened by someone in the mirror one or multiple times may eventually develop spectrophobia.

What is the easiest phobia? ›

Simple phobias are fears about specific objects, animals, situations or activities. Some common examples include: dogs. spiders.

What is the newest phobia? ›

Neophobia is the fear of new things. It is a relatively complicated phobia.

What is the 52 letter word? ›

Aequeosalinocalcalinoceraceoaluminosocupreovitriolic. This is the longest word in English which is composed of seven words. This 52-letter word was coined by Dr. Edward Strother to describe the spa waters in Bath, England.

What is Sidonglobophobia? ›

Sidonglobophobia is a type of specific phobia — a mental health condition that involves an intense , irrational fear of a particular object, place, or sensation. In sidonglobophobia, a person fears cotton wool or other objects that consist of cotton.

Is there a phobia of being touched? ›

Introduction. Haphephobia is a morbid fear of being touched or touching. The symptoms of Haphephobia are very similar to other specific phobias.

What causes Panphobia? ›

Causes of Panophobia

The intense anxiety or fear that something terrible is about to happen can be triggered by negative news, events or traumatic episodes in the past. The person might actually turn into a Phobophobic individual, where s/he might fear anxiety itself.

Is it OK to have 2 phobias? ›

Some people may experience multiple phobias. They can be broadly categorised into two groups: Specific phobias. Complex phobias.

Which is the shortest word? ›

One-letter words

The indefinite article a is only capitalized when it begins a sentence, but the pronoun I is always capitalized. Another single-letter word that is always capitalized is O. It's not common in everyday writing, but it appears as an interjection in poetry.

Is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious a real word? ›

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is a nonsensical word that is sometimes used to describe something as being great or extraordinary. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is used especially by children and fans of Disney movies to describe something as being really good.

What fear is gynophobia? ›

Gynophobia is a fear — or phobia — of women. People with this condition often experience fear or anxiety that can interfere with daily life. And despite common myth, gynophobia is not simply misogyny but a real phobia.

What does Lilapsophobia mean? ›

What is lilapsophobia? You may have lilapsophobia if you have an abnormal fear of tornadoes or hurricanes. The official diagnosis for this is “specific phobia,” meaning that it causes fear of a particular situation. Often, the fear isn't rational and much greater than the actual risk of danger.

What is Dendrophobia? ›

What is dendrophobia? People with dendrophobia have a fear of trees. The word “dendron” is Greek for tree, and “phobos” is Greek for fear. Someone with dendrophobia may have extreme fear or anxiety when thinking about or seeing trees. They may stop walking outside or driving just to avoid trees.

What is the legendary phobia? ›

1. Arachnophobia – The fear of spiders.

Can you have more than 1 phobia? ›

Some people may experience multiple phobias. They can be broadly categorised into two groups: Specific phobias. Complex phobias.

How rare is Trypophobia? ›

How common is trypophobia? Some studies suggest that as many as 17% of children and adults (about one in six people) have some degree of trypophobia. It's a fairly new disorder first named in 2005.

Are there more than 400 phobias? ›

You can have a phobia of pretty much anything, but there are over 400 recognised phobias out there! Some, however, are much more common than others.

What is Methyphobia? ›

Methyphobia is the Fear of Alcohol.

Is Diokophobia real? ›

Tokophobia is a pathological fear of pregnancy and can lead to avoidance of childbirth. It can be classified as primary or secondary. Primary is morbid fear of childbirth in a woman, who has no previous experience of pregnancy.

Do phobias get worse with age? ›

As we age, we produce much less adrenaline, which can cause racing hearts and dizziness. This means the intense fears we may have experienced in youth no longer trouble us as much. However, older people often experience a greater sense of vulnerability, so things like heights or big crowds become more of an issue.

What's the phobia of being watched? ›

Social anxiety disorder is an intense, persistent fear of being watched and judged by others. This fear can affect work, school, and other daily activities. It can even make it hard to make and keep friends. The good news is social anxiety disorder is treatable.

What is clowns fear called? ›

Introduction: Fear of clowns or coulrophobia is a little understood phenomenon despite studies indicating that it has a high prevalence in the general population.

Is trypophobia skin real? ›

So-called “trypophobia skin” is not a real skin disease, but trypophobia may be a common reaction to skin diseases that can present with clusters of holes, bumps, or nodules. Skin that has holes, bumps, or nodules and trypophobic patterns is also commonly seen on characters in movies, television shows, and video games.

Is having a phobia rare? ›

Phobias are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), approximately 12.5% of adults in the U.S. will deal with a specific phobia in their lifetime.1 Women are more likely to experience phobias than men.

Is there a phobia of being scared? ›

Phobophobia is an intense fear of being afraid. Some people might be terrified of the physical symptoms that come with fear, such as rapid breathing or dizziness.


1. How To Beat Fear And Anxiety | Jordan Peterson | Powerful Life Advice
2. Phobias Counseling | Louis Laves-Webb
(Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S)
3. What Skydiving Taught Me About Fear | STORYTIME
(Will Smith)
4. How Fear Works - Part 1 - The Ultimate Guide To Dealing With Fear
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