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Many people feel an uncontrollable fear from mundane things like going to the terrace of a building or going near a water body. These fears are known as Phobias and one in every ten adults suffer from them.

Fear is a universal feeling and we all experience it. But if this fear starts taking over your normal life and you find yourself unable to rationalize it, it becomes a Phobia. Phobias normally arise from a past experience of harm or pain from an activity or object. It can also be triggered by just the anticipation of harm.

Phobias are pin varying degrees and some people can live a normal life with them, while others might need therapy and medication to overcome their fears.

The list of phobias is too long to compile here, but let us discuss 10 most commonly found phobias among adults around the world:

1.    Acrophobia

The phobia of heights. People who suffer from this are scared of altitude. Its symptoms include breathlessness, palpitations, weakness in limbs and nausea. According to the experts, a traumatic experience involving heights can cause acrophobia.

2.    Bathmophobia

Many people experience the fear from walking down the stairs. This fear makes a person extremely cautious of climbing and coming down the stairs. This phobia often occurs after a major accident on stairs that had left the sufferer seriously injured. People who suffer from bathmophobia experience anxiety, high heart-rate and inability to think clearly.

3.    Claustrophobia

This is the fear of closed and small places. The person suffering from Claustrophobia feels anxious in places with close walls and no windows, like changing rooms, elevators and crowded places. A person fears that he is being trapped in a small and confined space. Most people with this phobia feel like they are not getting enough air to breath in small spaces and start to panic. This might even result in unconsciousness and panic attacks. This phobia is treated with cognitive behavior therapy and is quite similar in symptoms to other anxiety disorders.

4.    Nyctophobia

Nyctophobia is the fear from darkness. This fear is quite common in children, but it’s also found it adults. The person becomes extremely wary of dark spaces and might experience panic attack, palpitation and disoriented, if exposed to complete darkness for a considerable amount of time.

5.    Emetophobia

This is little known, but very common phobia. A person fears vomiting and being with somebody who is vomiting. This phobia also originates from a traumatic experience in the past, commonly during childhood. People with this phobia avoid any place where there is a sick person or there’s a high possibility of someone vomiting. Such people even avoid vomiting themselves and would rather endure nausea than vomit. Symptoms of Emetopobia are belching, extreme nausea and anxiety when exposed to vomiting.

6.    Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia means the fear of spiders. Even though, most of us are scared of large, poisonous spiders, but people from Arachnophobia are extremely scared of even the smallest and harmless spiders. As a result, they avoid any situation that might bring them closer to a spider like playing outdoors or camping etc. This phobia affects women more and can cause extreme discomfort, panic and anxiety at the sight of a spider.

7.    Mysophobia

This phobia is often called germophobia as it causes extreme fear of contamination from germs. It is also called OCD or Obsessive Compulsive disorder which is a phobia that forces people to have extremely rigorous hygiene routine and they are obsessed with keeping their hands and surroundings clean.

8.    Sociaphobia

Most of us dislike getting judged in a social setting. But sociaphobia is the extreme fear of being negatively judged or scrutinized in public. This phobia is often misunderstood as shyness. People suffering from this phobia often have trouble in explaining their nature and personality to others. The person may show anxiety in public settings and may over-eat, stammer and start to sweat excessively. Patients with sociaphobia are given Hypnotheraphy and NLP to help him face his fears.

9.    Carcinophobia

Many people have the phobia of getting cancer. Carcinophobia can be a result of an overprotective mental set up of a person towards his own health. This phobia is often found in cancer survivors or people who’ve had a cancer patient in close relation. A sequence from a movie or a program on TV can also trigger this phobia in people. The patient my experience rapid heartbeat, imaginary pain and breathlessness at the thought of cancer.

10.    Aviophobia

The literal translation of Aviophobia is “fear of flying.” It is the fear of from travelling by air. A large number of people experience sever anxiety while travelling by air. This phobia might be interlinked with a number of fears; for instance unable to control the circumstances, fear of being hijacked or getting stuck in a closed space for long hours.

Most people with phobias see normal people around them and start feeling like they are the only ones who feel like this in the whole world. But there are millions of people who have one or more phobias. So, the best way to handle a phobia is to accept your situation and get professional help.

  • Photo courtesy of buttonsandhope