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A Short List of Some Unusual and Interesting Phobias

Updated on June 18, 2018

Phobias - a brief overview

Phobias are categorized by psychologists as anxiety disorders and can r either be classified as mild or extremely severe. Most people who experience phobias recognize the fact that their trepidation, although authentic, is irrational.

Phobias are accompanied by what are known as avoidant behaviors,in which the person either refuses an encounter with the object feared - or requests preparations to have the object removed. Someone who is afraid of green candies for example - may have a friend remove them from the container beforehand.

Although there are several recorded observations of phobic behaviors dating from ancient times, serious interest in them did not develop until the late 19th century.

There are many types of anxiety - Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) - for example, which are rather new. Most of you reading this have heard of this condition - and can probably guess from it's name what this phobia implies.

We want to introduce you to some phobias which you may not have heard of.

Some things to keep in mind

When speaking about other people, it is advised that critical labels be used sparingly, if at all. I have heard people say "she's OCD" about someone who washes their hands a lot. You aren't in a position to inflict such a serious diagnosis.

While the behavior may be out of the ordinary, putting labels on people and using terms when one doesn't have the authority to do so can be damaging. Please be cautious when speaking about other people.

Don't use phrases like Obsessive Compulsive (OCD) to describe someone else. If you don't have the knowledge to make an accurate diagnoses then your words can be damaging. If you do have the credentials to offer such an observation - you recognize that making a statement like that publicly is in violation of your code of ethics.

Phobias - true phobias - are treated as an Anxiety Disorder and referenced in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). A sample of SAD follows below:

A List of Common Phobias

Some Common Phobias

Arachnophobia - the fear of spiders

Ophidiophobia - the fear of snakes

Acrophobia - a fear of high places

Agoraphobia - a fear of open spaces or of crowds

Cynophobia - fear of dogs

Astraphobia - the fear of lightning

Claustrophobia - fear of enclosed places

Social Phobia - a fear of other people or social settings

Phobophobia - the fear of fear

What are you most afraid of

See results

Some Phobias you may not have heard of

Pseudodysphagia – The fear of choking often after a bad eating experience.

Bathophobia – The fear of depths can be anything associated with depth (lakes, tunnels, caves).

Cacomorphobia – The fear of fat people. Induced by the media. Affects some anorexics/bulimics.

Gerascophobia – The fear of getting old. Aging is the most natural thing, yet many of us fear it.

Chaetophobia – The fear of hair. Phobics tend to be afraid of other peoples hair.

Nosocomephobia – The fear of hospitals. Let’s face it, no one likes hospitals.

Ligyrophobia – The fear of loud noises. More than the instinctive noise fear.

Didaskaleinophobia – The fear of school. This phobia affects kids mostly.

Technophobia – The fear of technology is often induced by culture/religion.

Chronophobia – The fear of the future. A persistent fear of what is to come

Keep in mind as well

Keep in mind as well that to the person who suffers a phobia, the anxiety of anticipation and the fear of the encounter with the object or situation is genuinely authentic.

It may appear to be amusing - someone who is afraid of dogs for example (cynophobic) - will really have a tough time around the animal. Even if the animal is a puppy, the person who is afraid may have difficulties being in the presence of the beast.

There may be an underlying trauma that can easily explain the reason behind the fear which may seem irrational. In a few passages below I will list some peculiar phobias that may even sound amusing to the reader.

I always think it's the best policy though to be a little bit compassionate and empathetic when possible. What makes sense to oneself may seem trite to another and vice versa.

A few more

Allodoxaphobia – The fear of opinions. Being afraid of hearing what others are thinking of you.

Samhainophobia – The fear of Halloween affects children/superstitious people.

Disposophobia – The fear of getting rid of stuff triggers extreme hoarding.

Numerophobia – The fear of numbers and the mere thought of calculations.

Ombrophobia – The fear of rain. Many fear the rain due to stormy weather.

Coasterphobia – The fear of roller coasters. Ever seen Final Destination 3?

Thalassophobia – The fear of the ocean. Water, waves and unknown spaces.

Scoleciphobia – The fear of worms. Often because of unhygienic conditions.

Kinemortophobia – The fear of zombies. Being afraid that zombies attack and turn you into them.

Myrmecophobia – The fear of ants. Not as common as Arachnophobia, but may feel just as intense.

Taphophobia – The fear of being buried alive by mistake and waking up in a coffin underground.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Thalassophobia is fear of the oceanPhobias can seem realAgoraphobia is the fear of crowdsPhasmophobia is the fear of ghosts
Thalassophobia is fear of the ocean
Thalassophobia is fear of the ocean
Phobias can seem real
Phobias can seem real
Agoraphobia is the fear of crowds
Agoraphobia is the fear of crowds
Phasmophobia is the fear of ghosts
Phasmophobia is the fear of ghosts

Some Unusual Phobias

Xanthophobia - fear of the color Yellow

Turophobia - the fear of cheese

Omphalophobia - the fear of the navel

Nomophobia - the fear of being without mobile phone coverage

Obrophobia - the fear of rain

Papaphobia - the fear of the pope

Pogonophobia - the fear of beards

Trypophobia - the fear of holes

Triskaidekaphobia - the fear of the number 13

A few more words

Some of those phobias listed above do seem unusual - the fear of yellow or or cheese. What differentiates a phobia from a desire to avoid. Probably not much in the grand scheme of the things.

Phobias though do have to be prevalent for a measurable period of time and cause a serious level of duress: crying, inability to think, insomnia.

Phobias are in the Anxiety classification of psychological disorders and has to be present in almost every encounter - real or imagined - with the object and be out of proportion to the danger the feared object poses in its social context. In other words, the fear has to be irrational.

So if one is afraid of the dark because a blackout has occurred there is concern about falling down the stairs because you cannot see, that is not a phobia.

Treatments

There are many treatments available in order for one to deal with phobias. In many cases - if not most - there is no need for treatment. If a certain fear is irrational and it manifests itself so that there is an infringement upon ones well being or ability to function, then intervention is needed.

Someone who is afraid of touching towels because they might be dirty and have germs will probably go through a gradual procedure where they are placed in a room with towels and or shown pictures. They may then have a towel placed at their setting at a table or on a chair. Eventually they will have physical contact with the feared object and then be able to recognize the irrationality of their fear.

Some More Phobias

Photophobia - the fear of light

Sesquipedalophobia - the fear of long words

Ablutophobia - the fear of bathing

Ergophobia - the fear of work or workplace environments

Bibliophobia - the fear of books

Phonophobia - the fear of loud noises - fear of voices or one's own voice

Misophonia - the fear of synonyms

Leukophobia - the fear of the color white

Amoraphobia - the fear of love

Caramelaphobia - the fear of candy

Mortuusequusphobia - the fear of ketchup

Coulrophobia - the fear of clowns

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      4 months ago from USA

      I know someone with Chaetophobia and it’s quite remarkable. It seems to be about contamination at least for them. They can spot a stray hair in restaurant food that anyone else would clearly miss. Pet hair sends them into a near meltdown if it’s not on the pet (flying in the air when you pet an animal or stray hairs on clothes or furniture).

    • wpcooper profile imageAUTHOR

      Finn Liam Cooper 

      4 months ago from Los Angeles

      it could be a phobia if it causes undue duress or anxiety. It might be a compulsion response as well.

      but then again, not many people like to see dirty mirrors or glass

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 

      4 months ago from LOS ANGELES

      I don't know if this is considered a phobia but hand prints or should I say palm prints on glass or walls drives me bananas. It is so bad that even at work I will grab the glass cleaner or something and clean it off. "This is driving me crazy" I would mumble to a co-worker while I scrub furiously at the offending palm print. Of course my coworkers think I'm crazy but it literally makes me itch.

    • The0NatureBoy profile image

      Elijah A Alexander Jr 

      4 months ago from Washington DC

      What a list, Finn, I would ever have known about some of them, thank you for them. The following is two phobias I aided a friend to eliminate.

      She was a Cynophobia. Her reason she had unknowingly explained to me so when she told me about it while in a park where people often walk dogs I explained to her the reason for it and told her if a dog's tail is wagging it shows friendliness but when it is tucked between its legs she should be aware. Then I suggested she remember what I told her and ask some owners if she could pet their's. After doing it for a few experiences she found her phobia was gone and she became quite pleased with herself.

      Another time we were ordering a "Subway" sub and she said she would have what I was having. When I ordered black olives she said she didn't like them and I suggested she had not eaten them before so instead of not liking them why not try them. She did and found she really liked them.

      She is one exceptional girl, to say the least, someone who accepts reasoning and rationalized with it to eliminate her phobias.

    • Venkatachari M profile image

      Venkatachari M 

      4 months ago from Hyderabad, India

      Very interesting information. So many phobias are there. It is true. Each person may be experiencing something or other. Some people let it go by allowing reason to take hold. But, some people feel most awkward and unable to come out from those moments.

    • wpcooper profile imageAUTHOR

      Finn Liam Cooper 

      4 months ago from Los Angeles

      yeah. many of these seem a bit exaggerated or unrealistic

    • Coffeequeeen profile image

      Louise Powles 

      4 months ago from Norfolk, England

      There's some strange phobia's out there. It's strange to have a phobia of ketchup or the Pope!

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