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Strange and Unusual Phobias

Updated on July 5, 2012

A phobia is a very strong and irrational fear of a particular situation, object, or creature. Phobia symptoms consist of sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, difficulty breathing, nausea, and trouble thinking clearly.

Some common phobias include:

  • Arachnophobia (fear of spiders)
  • Social phobia/Fear of public speaking
  • Claustrophobia (fear of closed-in spaces)
  • Acrophobia (fear of heights)
  • Aichmophobia (fear of needles)
  • Fear of the dark
  • Aerophobia (fear of flying)

However, there are also people who suffer from lesser known and much more unusual phobias, such as these.



Spectrophobia is the fear of mirrors and seeing one's reflection. People with this phobia may have become traumatized by horror movies and/or have a superstitious fear of something watching them or coming through the mirror. Other sufferers may have low self-esteem relating to their physical appearance, and therefore avoid seeing their own reflections.



Ommetaphobia is the fear of eyes. People often develop this phobia after seeing something traumatic that involves eyes, such as being hit in the eye, going blind in an eye, or seeing an eye pop out of its socket. Sufferers with Ommetaphobia often have a fear of social situations as well, since they can have great difficulty simply looking into someone else's eyes.



Ablutophobia is the fear of washing or cleaning oneself and is most common in women and children. People may develop this fear after watching a horror movie, such as Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, or they may have seen a parent or other close family member with the same fear in childhood.



People with Phagophobia have a fear of swallowing. Sufferers complain of a variety of swallowing issues without any detectable physical or medical causes. People with this phobia usually experience weight loss and malnutrition, and those with milder cases will only eat soft and liquid foods. As a result, it can lead to (and be confused with) fear of eating.



Somniphobia is the fear of sleeping. This phobia may result from the feeling of loss of control, from frequent night terrors, or seeing something traumatic while watching a movie or television. As with any phobia, Somniphobia should be treated with therapy rather than sleeping pills.



Chromophobia is the fear of either all or particular colors. People with this phobia will make dramatic life changes in an attempt to avoid their fear (though I can imagine how difficult it would be trying to avoid color). There are also phobias that describe the fear of a specific color, such as porphyrophobia (fear of purple) and erythrophobia (fear of red and/or facial blushing).



Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth. Sufferers may fear that their mouth will seal shut and that they will suffocate. This phobia often acts up most in social situations.



Phobophobia is basically the fear of, well, fear. It is the fear of phobias or of developing a phobia. Phobophobia is related closely to numerous other types of anxiety disorders, particularly generalized anxiety disorder, and panic attacks.


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