We are afraid of various things. It is a natural response to threats, but it can become excessive, irrational and debilitating at times. This is known as a phobia. A phobia entails more than simply being afraid of something or someone.
According to Dr Sanjay Kumavat, a renowned psychiatrist, “Phobias are characterized by intense and persistent fears of specific objects, situations, or activities.” They can have a significant impact on a person’s day-to-day life and general well-being. Read on to learn the most common types of phobias that people may experience.
Common types of phobias
Dr Sanjay Kumavat, Consultant Psychiatrist and Sexologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, tells us about different type of phobias. Here are 10 most common phobias people suffer from:
This type of phobia occurs when a person fears medication and has a negative attitude towards drugs in general. Some factors that can cause this phobia include biases, prejudices about medicines, belief systems about treatments, and emotional trauma related to drugs.
Heliophobia happens when a person fears the sun, sunlight, or any bright light. When such a person is in the sun, they feel intense discomfort, anxiety, and nausea, which may cause panic attacks. They may also feel a burning sensation under the sun, both in their body and eyes.
Ailurophobia is a persistent and excessive fear or hatred of pets like cats and dogs. People with this phobia may experience extreme nervousness and anxiety when hearing meowing, hissing, or other sounds generally associated with cats.
A specific phobia brought about by the irrational fear of spiders and other arachnids such as scorpions and ticks, Arachnophobia can cause extreme anxiety when people who have them encounter these species. Although anyone can develop a specific phobia at any age, including Arachnophobia, most develop in childhood and adolescence.
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This phobia revolves around the fear of adult men. This may be preceded by some untoward incident or watching something inappropriate by the person during their younger days. Also, adults with androphobia often know their fear of men is irrational, although they can rarely control their physical responses.
Also read: How to conquer your fears: 6 tips from a mental health expert
Another rare phobia involves fear of pain or impending pain. It can stem from observing someone in pain, like a mass hysteria in the children’s ward. In most cases, this condition can be treated with behavioral therapy and anti-anxiety medication.
Defined as a fear of birds or dislike for birds, people who have ornithophobia worry that birds will attack them and feel like they’re in danger when they see birds. Since birds are present everywhere, it is not possible to avoid them completely. Someone with an extreme fear of birds may choose to stay home where they feel safe. This can lead to another phobia called Agoraphobia, a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult.
This is a food phobia that generally revolves around the strong scent, sight, and contact of foods hailing from the allium family, such as garlic, onions, chives, and shallots. Someone who has Alliumphobia may find themselves avoiding places where they will encounter these food items.
Acrophobia is the fear of heights, and it goes beyond the normal caution one might feel when standing at a great height. Those with acrophobia experience intense anxiety and panic attacks when exposed to heights, even if they are in a safe environment. This phobia can make activities like climbing stairs or visiting tall buildings incredibly distressing.
Claustrophobia is the fear of enclosed spaces, such as elevators, tunnels, or small rooms. People with claustrophobia often experience extreme discomfort and panic when in such environments. This phobia can significantly limit their ability to travel or participate in various activities, leading to a reduced quality of life.