Unravelling the Whim-Whams : Types of Phobias

Every person has experienced some degree of fear at a given point of time, this fear is known as Phobia. Phobia is defined as an uncontrollable, unexplained, and never ending fear of an object, situation, activity or any of them in a varied combination in a person. A person may suffer from more than phobia at a time. In phobia a person may go to any lengths just to avoid the source of the fear. Phobia happens when there is no real danger. Today, we are going to unfold types of phobias. 

If you are suffering from any kind of phobia, you may experience symptoms like  severe anxiety and panic attacks when you’re :

  • introduced to the object or situation you’re fearful of
  • thinking about the thing you’re afraid of
  • anticipating an encounter with the item you’re scared of

Phobias are classified into different categories based on the object or situation that triggers fear. Here are some common types of phobias :

  1. Specific Phobias: These are fears related to specific objects or situations, such as fear of heights (acrophobia), fear of spiders (arachnophobia), fear of flying (aviophobia), fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), etc.
  2. Social Phobia : This involves an intense fear of social situations, such as public speaking, meeting new people, or being in crowds. This phobia can bring a great amount of distress and impacts your daily life.
  3. Agoraphobia : This is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or help might not be available in case of panic symptoms. People with agoraphobia often avoid crowded places, open spaces, or situations where they feel trapped.
  4. Panic Disorder : While not strictly a phobia, it involves recurrent panic attacks that are often unexpected and intense. These attacks can lead to a fear of having future attacks, which can contribute to the development of agoraphobia.
  5. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) : strictly not a phobia, but it involves excessive worry and anxiety about various aspects of life, like work, relationships, health, etc. It can manifest as a persistent state of apprehension and tension.
  6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) : involves intrusive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) performed in response to those thoughts. It involves intense anxiety and can significantly impact daily life.
  7. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder : This can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It involves intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, and avoidance of triggers related to the traumatic event.
  8. Separation Anxiety Disorder : This is commonly seen in children but can also occur in adults. It involves excessive fear or anxiety about separation from loved ones or attachment figures.

These are just a few examples, and there are many more specific phobias and anxiety disorders recognized by mental health professionals. Each phobia or anxiety disorder may require different approaches to treatment, such as therapy, medication, or a combination of both.


Specific phobia

Specific phobia is described as an extreme fear of an object or situation that is not actually harmful for persons in general.

Examples may include a fear of : 

  • Flying (fearing the plane will crash)
  • Pets (fearing the pet will bite or attack)
  • Closed-in places (fear of being trapped)
  • Tunnels (fearing a collapse)
  • Heights (fear of falling)

Specific phobia is seen in almost 5–10% of the general population.

There are five types of specific phobias:

  1. Natural environment type
  2. Animal type
  3. Situational type
  4. Blood injection or injury type
  5. Other type includes all those categories which does not come under the natural, animal, injury, etc

Symptoms of specific phobia include :

  • fear from a specific object or situation that triggers anxiety immediately.
  • Person is trying to avoid specific object or condition that is known to cause fear for at least six months
  • fear of a phobic object or situation is disproportionate to the actual danger of the object or situation
  • Disturbances in day to day life processes like attending school, office, etc
  • Other mental health disorder with no symptoms

Specific phobia in children is exhibited by symptoms like :

  • Crying
  • Freezing
  • clinging to a caregiver
  • extreme emotional reaction

Social phobia

What is social phobia?

Social phobia is an anxiety disorder. In this phobia a person suffers from major anxiety and discomfort when it comes to interacting with people socially. Even after when they manage to confront this fear, people with social phobia usually suffers from : 

  • anxiety before the event or outing
  • uncomfortability throughout the event or outing
  • unpleasant feelings after the event or outing

Social phobia often happens with the following:

  • Public speaking Meeting people
  • Dealing with authority figures
  • Eating in public
  • Using public restrooms

What are the characteristics of social phobia?

Social phobia is often confused with shyness or introvert nature, but they are not the same. Shy people are very uneasy around others, but they don’t suffer from extreme anxiety in a social situation. They don’t necessarily avoid such circumstances. Whereas, people with social phobia are not necessarily shy, but can be completely at ease with some people most of the time.

Diagnosing social phobia

Social phobia is diagnosed when the fear majorly disrupts your normal routine. Social phobic people will have issues pertaining to their career or social relationships. It is seen in families over generations although the exact cause is difficult to tell. It is often closely associated with depression or alcoholism and often starts in early adolescence. 

Agoraphobia : Different Types Of Phobias

Agoraphobia is the fear of having a panic attack in a place or situation from which escape is difficult. In agoraphobia anxiety is so intense that panic attacks are very common. So such people try to avoid such situations. 

Agoraphobia includes fear of situations mentioned below: 

  • Being alone outside his or her home
  • Being at home alone
  • Being in a crowd
  • Traveling in a vehicle
  • elevator or on a bridge

Persons suffering from agoraphobia will avoid crowded spaces like streets, stores, theaters, etc. 

List Of Phobias Names : Types of Phobias

  1. Acrophobia : Fear of heights
  2. Arachnophobia : Fear of spiders
  3. Claustrophobia : Fear of confined spaces
  4. Glossophobia : Fear of public speaking
  5. Ophidiophobia : Fear of snakes
  6. Cynophobia : Fear of dogs
  7. Astraphobia : Fear of thunder and lightning
  8. Nyctophobia : Fear of darkness or night
  9. Aerophobia : Fear of flying
  10. Hemophobia : Fear of blood
  11. Thanatophobia : Fear of death or dying
  12. Emetophobia : Fear of vomiting
  13. Zoophobia : Fear of animals
  14. Dentophobia : Fear of dentists or dental procedures
  15. Triskaidekaphobia : Fear of the number 13
  16. Coulrophobia : Fear of clowns
  17. Pteromerhanophobia : Fear of flying on airplanes
  18. Aquaphobia : Fear of water
  19. Phonophobia : Fear of loud sounds or noises
  20. Chromophobia : Fear of colors
  21. Pyrophobia : Fear of fire
  22. Automatonophobia : Fear of human-like figures or mannequins
  23. Entomophobia : Fear of insects
  24. Anatidaephobia : Fear of being watched by a duck
  25. Caligynephobia : Fear of beautiful women
  26. Decidophobia : Fear of making decision

Also read : 15 Kinds Of Strange Phobias People Have In Their Life

Phobias are an ongoing fluctuating distressful condition for an individual. In most cases, they are treatable when the source of fear is avoidable. If you have a phobia don’t be scared to seek help. They are easily identifiable and have various mode of treatment available.  

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Sonia Solanki

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Sonia Solanki

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