Approximately 20 million adults are diagnosed with a specific phobia each year (National Institute of Mental Health, 2013). The exact cause is unknown at this time, but genetics appear to the play a significant role in its development and progression. The complete list of specific phobias is boundless, but this article highlights the most common specific phobias that individual experience.
The most common specific phobias include:
Acrophobia is an intense fear of heights. This specific phobia can cause panic attacks, breathing difficulties, accelerated blood pressure and heart rate, nausea, vomiting and/or dizziness. If you suffer from acrophobia, you may be afraid of high places such as: cliffs, mountains and/or the top floor of buildings. Acrophobia is sometimes mistaken for vertigo, can cause vertigo, a debilitating condition that causes dizziness and disorientation when peering down from a high place. Acrophobia and vertigo are two different conditions
Claustrophobia is an extreme fear of enclosed spaces. This condition can range, in severity, from mild to severe. If you suffer from claustrophobia, you may experience a panic attack simply by walking through a hallway. You may also discover that your fear of enclosed spaces is triggered by certain situations such as: traveling in an airplane or riding in an automobile.
Arachnophobia is an intense fear of spiders. This is the most common specific animal phobia. If you suffer from arachnophobia, you may be deathly afraid of spiders and anything related to spiders such as cobwebs, spider props and/or photographs of spiders.
Ophidiophobia is an extreme fear of snakes. This phobia revolves around snakes only. If you suffer from ophidiophobia, you may become ill (nausea, vomiting, tremors, chills, hysterical crying and generalized weakness) simply from looking at or thinking about snakes. You may also experience panic attacks when someone mentions snakes.
Nyctophobia is a severe fear of the dark. This phobia is most common in children who often move from place to place. If this condition persists long then 6 months and causes panic attacks and/or anxiety, six months and causes extreme anxiety, then it is important that you seek treatment for your child. It is important to note that this phobia is uncommon in adults.
Trypanophobia is an extreme fear of medical-related needles and injections. This condition is considered a medical specific phobia. If you suffer from this phobia, you may experience a decrease in blood pressure and faintness when providing a blood sample or when receiving a vaccination or shot. In severe cases, this phobia may prevent you from getting the medical care that you need.
Astraphobia is an excessive fear of thunder and lightning. This phobia is common amongst small children, but if it persists longer than 6 months, you should seek treatment for your child. If you suffer from astraphobia, you may be able to ease your fear by seeking shelter in an enclosed space, sans windows, until the storm passes and you feel safe enough to emerge.
Nosphobia is an irrational fear of having a disease. When you suffer from this phobia, you are terrified that you have a chronic or fatal disease. This phobia is related to the hypochondriasis, another condition that causes an unrealistic fear of an illness or disease. If you have either condition, you may constantly go to the doctor’s office because you think you are ill or you may avoid going to the doctor’s office for fear that your doctor confirm that you have a chronic or fatal illness or disease. In some cases, a medical student may start to believe that he/she has the symptoms that he/she is learning about in class and/or at their internship.
Germophobia is the unrealistic fear of germs. If you suffer from germophobia, you have an extreme fear of being contaminated by germs. This condition is related to obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), a psychological disorder that is characterized by obsessive thoughts and repetitive behaviors. The only difference between the two conditions is that OCD focuses on the act/behavior itself, while germophobia focuses on removing something that is causing the behavior, which in this case is germs.
Triskaidekaphobia is an extreme fear of the number 13. If you suffer from this phobia, you are afraid of seeing or hearing the number 13. You may also be afraid to leave your home of the 13th day of the month and/or live or work on the 13th floor. Although many researchers do not believe that this condition is an actual phobia, many people experience phobia-related symptoms when coming in contact with the number 13.
Bourne, E. J. (2011).The anxiety and phobia workbook (5th ed.). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications.
National Institute of Mental Health. (2013). Specific phobias. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety- disorders/specific-phobias.shtml
Verschaeve, G. (2010). How to stop anxiety & panic attacks: A simple guide to using a specific set of techniques to stop panic attacks, agoraphobia, social phobia, fear of driving or flying and stress. Create Space Independent Publishing Platform.