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Phobia. This word is often overused to relay that someone is afraid of something. To be clear, being scared of something is one thing and but to have a phobia is another thing entirely. A phobia is the irrational fear of something, a situation, or a living thing. Fear is natural. But a phobia occurs when you fear something that probably won’t hurt you.

When exposed to a phobia, you may experience severe distress and will go out of your way to avoid whatever is scaring you. Some fears are common. Just about everyone knows someone who is afraid of snakes, or heights, or small spaces. But some even stranger phobias are not well known.

1. Nomophobia
“But I need my phone!” We all know someone who claims that they can’t live without their phone. It can be an irritating thing to hear, but for some, it is a real phobia. Nomophobia is the fear of not having your cell phone. This phobia usually stems from having a cell phone addiction. A person with this phobia will have extreme anxiety at the thought of being without their phone or having a low battery. While strange, this phobia is common because most people use their phones for everything. They are so used to having their phones with them at all times the thought of being without it is anxiety-inducing.

Have you ever met someone who refused to work? Well, they might have ergophobia, which is the fear of work. Yes, it is a real phobia. Most of the time, there is an underline cause of this phobia. Some people have anxiety so severe that they can stand the thought of being in a work environment where they are around people. Some people have a fear of finding a job or doing manual labor.

3. Arithmophobia
Who didn’t hate math class growing up? Does it make you anxious? This is how people with arithmophobia feel. The fear of numbers affects many people. This fear of numbers makes people nervous at the thought of having to deal with numbers. Life can be difficult because it is hard to live your life without working with numbers. For some, this phobia can include the fear of dealing with math or seeing the actual numbers.

4. Pogonophobia
Who doesn’t love a nice well-groomed beard? People with pogonophobia, that’s who. Pogonophobia is the fear of beards. A person can develop this phobia for a few reasons. If they have been in a tragic or terrifying situation with someone that has a beard. Or if the idea of not being able to see a person’s whole face makes them anxious. If this happens, people with pogonophobia tend to avoid people with beards. They won’t be friends with them, talk to them, or get close to them if they don’t have to.

5. Linonophobia
Did you have a ball of string when you were a kid? Well, if you have linonophobia, the thought of it probably makes you anxious. Linonophobia is the fear of string. This comes from the fear of being restrained or restricted in some way. A person might develop this phobia if they experienced a traumatic event that involved them being tied up or kidnapped.
A person with linonophobia will avoid all types of string, including shoelaces and sewing thread. If they see string they will have a big reaction.

6. Xanthophobia
It’s one thing to hate a color like pea green or poop brown, but have you ever been afraid of one? Well, fearing poop brown, especially when you see it somewhere it isn’t supposed to be(wink, wink), is understandable, but what about yellow? Xanthophobia is the fear of the color yellow. This phobia can affect someone’s day-to-day life. It’s like you never notice how many white cars on the road until you buy a white car.
You don’t how many things outside are yellow until you are trying to avoid the color. People who are xanthophobic try their best to avoid the color the best they can. But you never know when a yellow school bus is going to drive by. Or when you are going to walk by a field of yellow flowers, or a yellow sign or yellow car.
It can be difficult for a person with xanthophobia to function because yellow is everywhere.

7. Optophobia
You ever just not want to look at anything? People with optophobia are afraid to open their eyes. This type of phobia is quite debilitating. How can you live your life or work if you are afraid to open your eyes? People who are living with this phobia like to stay indoors or in places with very little light.

8. Ephebiphobia
Teenagers, am I right? While most of them aren’t very pleasant, all of them aren’t dangerous loudmouths. But if you have ephebiphobia, to you, they might be. Ephebiphobia translates to the fear of adolescents or young people. While occasionally teenagers do suck (if you have one, you know), people with ephebiphobia find teenagers rude constantly. They think all teenagers are bad and don’t want to be around them. They don’t want to be around teenagers in public, and they don’t want them around their homes or on their property. Many people think this fear stems from how teenagers are portrayed in the media.

9. Plutophobia
What’s that saying more money, more problems? Well, for people with plutophobia, that is the case. A person with plutophobia has a fear of money and wealth. People with this phobia either fear having a lot of money or being around wealthy people. They often sabotage themselves out of making more money or getting lucrative jobs. This phobia may develop because they are afraid of having a lot of responsibilities or being robbed.

10. Ablutophobia
Were you a child that loved taking a bath? Or did you act like an ornery cat that had to be bribed, tricked, or elbow dropped into a bathtub? Ablutophobia or the fear of bathing is a phobia most children grow out of, but some don’t. Or some people have experienced traumatic events involving water that make it difficult for them to be around water. While some people have a fear of bathing, others have a fear of all water.

Your Fear Goes Up and Down

Are you someone who would rather climb the stairs than take the elevator? You call it squeezing in a workout after being sedentary the whole morning. Or perhaps you claim it's a faster route. These are both typical, normal, and acceptable reasons. But what if you need to be in the conference room on the eleventh floor in five minutes, and you're wearing your business suit and wingtips? Would you still prefer to take the stairs? If your answer is yes, then maybe it's time to take a closer look at your reasons for avoiding elevators. Elevators stir all sorts of emotions in passengers. From the discomfort of closeness to strangers to the sensations in our gut, elevators can be a source of the heebie-jeebies for many, but for some, they can also be a source of terror. Let's dig a little deeper into the latter, and see what this terror is all about and what can be done to manage it. To begin with, does being inside an elevator give you chills or the sweats? Or does it trigger an unpleasant memory? Perhaps you remember movies you've watched where something terrible happens inside an elevator. From Silence of the Lambs, The Shining, Final Destination 2, or the king of all elevator horror films, 2010’s Devil, the elevator becomes witness to something sinister and horrible. And you want nothing to do with any of it. You know that you're not claustrophobic. You can deal with heights just fine, too. And you know that you're not going to be trapped inside. All of these contribute to a fear of elevators—but they don't apply to you. Yet being inside one does something to you. It's hard to explain.

What is the Fear of Elevators Called?

What you have is a fear of elevators, which is called elevatophobia. It is most commonly triggered by an experience of getting stuck inside either due to a power outage or technical maintenance. Hearing about other people's experiences or watching a movie about similar circumstances can prompt a fear of elevators getting stuck with you inside. Usually, claustrophobics and agoraphobics may also develop elevatophobia because the triggers and objects of these fears are related. Claustrophobia is the fear of closed and cramped spaces, while agoraphobia is the fear of being trapped without any means of escape. Put the two together, and the elevator becomes the perfect combination of both phobias. The space is limited and closed, with only one means of entry and exit. You can add another point of access if you consider climbing the cables like they do in the movies, but that certainly isn't ideal.

Symptoms of Elevatophobia

If for some reason an elevator stops due to an outage or some technical difficulty, passengers with elevatophobia may go into full panic mode. Even if the maintenance team advises that it will just be a matter of minutes, by then, the person's mind has become irrational with the fear of the elevator falling, being stuck for hours, or other unpleasant thoughts. You would expect a person to exhibit the following physical symptoms: Additionally, you would be filled with that overwhelming anxiety where you feel that you have zero control over the situation. You start fearing the unknown and are filled with negative thoughts about death and imminent doom. You become irrational and unresponsive.

Possible Complications of Elevatophobia

When the panic sets in, the possibility of emergencies related to pre-existing conditions may make themselves known. This might include serious health crises like heart attacks or asthma attacks. When this happens, fear becomes a medical emergency. Elevator rides do not last long; it's just a matter of minutes or even less. But the fact that a person can escalate from panic to a near fatal medical situation classifies the fear of elevators as a 'hard phobia.'

Trying Some Self-Help Methods

Your fear of elevators can likely interfere with your social and work life and relationships. Not everyone understands that elevatophobia, like most phobias, can be crippling. But don't be disheartened. Depending on the level of your fear and level of control, you can gradually face and manage your phobia. Here are some recommendations you can try:
  1. Make a List of Everything that Entails Riding in an Elevator This is a systematic approach to getting over your anxiety. By following a step-by-step process, you can identify where the fear kicks in at its strongest. You can write a list of steps like pressing the topmost button and waiting to arrive on that floor, watching as the door closes and opens, being alone inside the elevator, or having delays with the doors opening. Now try doing the opposite. For example, face away from the door or occupy yourself with your phone so that you are distracted.
  2. Create Your Fear Ladder Although the name says fear of elevators, it is not the whole process that scares you. There are just phases and parts of the elevator riding experience that cause you to panic. So go back to the list you initially created and label the fear level you feel. You can do it numerically, too, like ten being 'really scary,' six, 'manageable scary,' and one, 'not scary at all.' You can put the corresponding fear levels so you can focus more time and effort into activities that are more scary to you.
  3. Face Your Fear By now, you have identified what scares you the most. You can try repetitive action to minimize your fear and increase your sense of ‘normalcy’. Remember that the longer you expose yourself to your fear, the better you get at handling your emotions. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stop. Pushing yourself too fast and too soon can backfire. Modify your pace and go slower instead.
  4. Talk About Your Fear People by nature, unfortunately, are not quick to offer understanding and support. You need to tell them what's wrong before they can empathize. Talk to someone who you trust and ask for their support, especially in the initial phase of overcoming your fear. If you are too afraid to ride the elevator alone, you can ask them to go with you, and before you realize it, you are on your floor, and there was no indication of panic.
  5. Learn To Be Patient Be patient with yourself and your predicament. This is, after all, your fight against fear. It might take hundreds of elevator ride practices before the fear gets under control. Even then, there might be some hesitations and episodes of nervousness. These are acceptable and expected, so cut yourself some slack and congratulate yourself for every progress.

Seeking Professional Help

Along with self-help, you can always enlist a medical professional's aid to support you with your elevatophobia. Talking to someone who has experience with similar cases can be comforting, because you know that you are not alone, and this situation can get better. Talk to your doctor about the severity of your fears and the symptoms that you experience. Explain how you deal with it in an attempt to control it. An exam and a health history are made to ensure that there are no unrelated or underlying problems that your symptoms might mask. Usually, phobias like this are approached with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Your doctor will talk about these options with you, and it's entirely up to you, with your doctor's recommendation, what you want to pursue. For psychotherapy, the most common type is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to help you find different ways of behaving, thinking, and reacting when about to step inside an elevator or when already inside it. With medications, there are beta blockers and benzodiazepines, but note that these can have side effects. Whatever these side effects are, you should promptly share it with your doctor.

Simple Tips to Overcome Elevatophobia

Elevators are not perfect, but their likelihood to malfunction, fall, or get stuck is very low. If you are not fully confident with this information, you can help overcome your elevatophobia by learning common elevator safety tips and basic elevator operations. These should help curb your mild fear until you become more self-assured. In addition to that, here are some of the things that you can do to gradually overcome your fear of elevators—both in getting on and riding one.


Yes, elevatophobia can be a challenge in today's world, but don't allow the elevator to win. Don't let it stop you from taking a job on the top floor or attending a social gathering on the rooftop. Sure, you can take the stairs if you insist and arrive winded and sweaty, with the party about to wrap up. But is this the quality of life you seek? Elevators are designed to make life easier. There are guaranteed ways to help you overcome elevatophobia. Take the first step and seek help. Soon, you’ll see yourself breezing through the floors with those arduous stair climbs little more than a memory.
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