Fear is a common human emotion and happens to the strongest of us. But, if this fear turns into a debilitating and overwhelming panic related to anything, then it can take the form of a phobia. Your fear could be an object, a place, a situation, a feeling, an animal or anything. In comparison to regular fear, phobias happen when you have an exaggerated and unrealistic sense of danger about an object or a situation.
Phobias are a form of anxiety disorder and it can impact your day to day life. Below you will find the top ten phobias most commonly found in people.
1. Social phobias
As the name suggests, it is the fear of embarrassment, humiliation or something bad happening in a social situation. It can take such intensity that to avoid these feelings, people may cut down on social events such as hanging out with friends, places such as work or school, people or any event that is likely to trigger their social anxiety. Severe forms of social phobias can hinder a person’s ability to function in day to day life.
It is the intense fear of being left alone in a place where things could get dangerous and escape might be difficult. This phobia starts as an unexpected and spontaneous panic attack where a person starts to feel on edge. People with Agoraphobia fear crowded events, open places, or any situation that is expected to trigger such an attack. Out of this fear, people with Agoraphobia might even hesitate about leaving their home because of their intense fears.
Claustrophobia is the fear of being trapped in close spaces. People with this phobia fear that they might be enclosed in a space so tight that they might have difficulty breathing. People with Claustrophobia fear going into crowded places, travelling in congested vehicles, or any other setting where they might feel trapped or confined. Severe Claustrophobia can prevent people from riding cars or even getting into elevators.
It is the fear of spiders and other insects. People with Arachnophobia can get triggered by the sight of a spider and it can induce intense anxiety and fear and in some cases panic attacks. Even if the insect does not pose any physical threat, being near one such insect can still cause the person to go into panic mode. These fears most commonly appear during childhood but can also develop into adulthood.
People with this phobia fear that they might develop a disease. Even having minor symptoms can throw people off into thinking that they have developed a serious medical condition. In some cases, even if medical professionals diagnose these symptoms, the person with the phobia might still believe that they are seriously ill and the practitioner misdiagnosed them.
This phobia is the intense fear of canines. It could be that the person was bitten or attacked by a dog during childhood and they carried this fear with them into adulthood. This phobia is more than just the normal apprehension of unfamiliar dogs, and it can severely impact a person’s ability to function properly in the presence of a dog. People with this phobia might avoid certain pathways out of the fear of encountering a dog and it can make it difficult to get to work or school.
It is the fear of injection and needles in people. They might sometimes avoid getting medical attention just because they fear being injected. Even when they get an injection, people with this phobia can experience extreme dread and elevated heart rate. People with this condition may even neglect their serious health issues out of the fear of being injected when visiting the doctor.
This phobia includes an intense fear of heights. People with this fear avoid going to high places out of the fear of getting an anxiety attack. While it is common for people to have some degree of fear when visiting high places, someone with Acrophobia might completely go into a panic mode out of the fear of falling from heights. This phobia could also be due to some traumatic experience in the early years but it can follow well into adulthood.
Aerophobia is the fear of flying. This phobia can be a combination of several other phobias such as the fear of being in tight spaces, the fear of not being able to escape, the fear of heights etc. People with this phobia avoid travelling by planes at all costs and might experience intense panic when they find no other option and have to travel by air. It could be due to an early life incident or having parents that are anxious about flying themselves could cause Agoraphobia in children.
It is simply the fear of death. Although everyone fears death and this is not a rare fear. It happens to almost everyone, but people with this phobia might experience this fear on a day to day basis hindering their ability to function properly. It can become a serious issue where a person may reject to participate even in normal activities out of the fear of getting hurt and eventually dying.
Whatever intense fear you may experience, it is completely valid. If your phobia is something that takes a huge toll on your wellbeing, then it should not be ignored. Talk to a professional if these phobias become a regular interference with your day to day life. Getting proper treatment can help you rationalize your fears and learn techniques that you can use on your own to control yourself from being overwhelmed by fears.