Derived from the Greek word ‘Phobos’ meaning ‘fear’, ‘Phobia’ is a term to describe an anxiety disorder or irrational fear of objects or situations. Some may look at phobias as unreasonable and ridiculous, but those who have the phobia would argue otherwise. Like it or not, we all have some phobia to variable degrees.
There are no conclusive reasons why someone develops certain phobias. According to John Hopkins Medicine, research has pointed to factors such as genetics and environment that cause phobias. Some phobias might develop because of terrible first encounters with the feared object or situation. Though, mental health experts are still questioning whether this first encounter is required or is simply occurs to those who are likely to have them.
Or this could simply be the case of extreme self-preservation reaction. Since fear is a natural part of self-preservation, it makes sense that these phobias are just excessive self-defense mechanism that the mind and body created.
In this article, we’ll be listing the 10 most common phobias in no particular order. We would not insert any images relating to the phobias in fear of triggering one’s phobia.
First in our list is acrophobia. From the Greek; ‘ákron’ meaning “peak, summit, edge”, it describes the fear of heights. A serious condition of this phobia would not discriminate the heights between ridiculously high and being not that high up. They would have panic attacks from the fear of falling from the heights.
In the subject of heights, this time above the clouds, our second one in the list is aerophobia. Aerophobia describes the fear of flying. Based on the Greek word ‘aéros’ meaning “air, lower atmosphere”. It is not properly related to the fear of getting on a plane because that would be more related to the fear of closed spaces or fear of heights.
Speaking about confined space, claustrophobia! Breaking away from the Greek origin, this term derived from Latin’s ‘claustrum’ meaning “a shut-in place”. This term is used to describe the fear of confined spaces. Things that can trigger it include but not limited to elevators, especially when crowded to capacity, windowless rooms, hotel rooms with closed doors and sealed windows, and small cars.
Returning back to Greek; ‘zoon’, meaning ‘animal’, this feels a bit like cheating when it comes to a list article, this term is an umbrella term for many other phobias of animals. Common phobias under zoophobia are and not limited to:
Trending on the internet recently, Phasmophobia is an indie survival horror video game developed by Kinetic Games. Derived from the Greek ‘phasma’ meaning ‘apparition’, it is also used to describe the fear of ghosts and the supernatural. It is especially prevalent in cultures that believe in spirits and the afterlife.
From the Greek word ‘trupṓ‘ meaning ‘drill’, it is used to describe the fear of needles. According to Dr. James G. Hamilton, the author of a paper on needle phobia, it is likely that the form of needle phobia that is genetic has some basis in evolution. Thousands of years ago, humans who avoided stab wounds would have a greater chance to survive.
Derived from the Greek word ‘astrape’ meaning lightning, it is used to describe the fear of thunder and lightning. When they experience a thunderstorm or something similar, they tend to develop an excessive obsession with the weather, wanting to know if a thunderstorm is coming. Symptoms include shaking, rapid heart rate, and increased respiration.
Not to be confused with the phobia of Thanos, the Mad Titan; thanatophobia is the phobia of death or dying. Originated yet again from Greek, ‘Thanatos’ which is the representation of death during ancient Greek. It was also the inspiration to the Mad Titan’s name, the child that refused to die. Not to be confused with necrophobia where it is the fear of the dead while thanatophobia is the fear of the concept of death.
Coined by a participant in an online forum in 2005, trypophobia is the fear of cluster of holes or circles. Continuing the Greek trend, ‘trûpa’ meaning ‘hole’. Even though people are calling it a phobia, it is not recognized by name as a mental disorder, and so is not a specific diagnosis in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). As it invokes disgust rather than fear, describing it as a phobia is questionable.
Coming from the Greek ‘nyktos’, “night”, it describes the fear of the dark. Though it is common among children, it can also be seen among adult to some degree. It is not limited to the fear of darkness, it also includes the possible and imaginary danger concealed within darkness.
There are plenty of other common phobias that weren’t listed in this list. But that doesn’t subtract the severity of such disorder. If you have any of the listed phobias or others that weren’t listed, no need to be ashamed or embarrassed about it. If its severity is high and is hindering your everyday life, don’t be afraid to seek help from friends, family, or medical professionals. Stay safe.
*Cover photo credit: MART PRODUCTION on Pexels
Ahmad Hashri | Degree in German Language and Linguistic, University of Malaya