Our List of the 25 Most Common Phobias
Being afraid is common; however, it may be classified as a phobia when the fear becomes overwhelming. Many individuals live with fears and phobias that cause them to want to run away and hide or become reclusive. There are all kinds of fears and common phobias list, but when it comes to the common phobia in the world you may still find different answers. The true fact is that popular phobias come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.
The definition of phobia is an irrational fear or panic of a place, object, living thing, or even a situation. For those that have a true phobia when they encounter the object of their fear, they will become panicked, have a fast heartbeat, become short of breath, tremble, and have an extraordinarily strong desire to run away. Due to these symptoms, many people that suffer from one of the most common phobias often avoid the cause of their fear. Too many times, the fear of embarrassment will stop the individual from receiving the help and treatment they need.
According to an ABC news article, the most common fear is social phobias. However, there are several different phobias found in this category, so we need to delve deeper into research to discover the popular phobias to create a common phobias list common phobia list of our own.
No matter, where you look the most common phobia in the world is Arachnophobia.
Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders but also includes all arachnids.
- Daddy longlegs
The fear can be so intense with some individuals that even just a photo of one of these creatures can have the feeling of flight kick in. It has been estimated that one in four women and one in three men suffer from the most common phobia. It was reported that one individual burned down their parent’s home to get rid of spiders.
When it comes to the most common fears, acrophobia affects more than six percent of individuals worldwide. Acrophobia is better known as the fear of heights. This fear or phobia can wreak havoc on those that live in large cities or must travel.
The fear of heights includes such things as:
- Tall buildings
- Roller coasters
- Ferris wheels
Some individuals cannot even think about climbing a ladder or standing on a hill. The feeling of fear is so intense that panic sets in and they begin to tremble or have a full-blown panic attack with just the thought of going to the second floor of a building or hiking on mountain trails.
Thousands of individuals do not like to come across a snake while hiking or gardening. However, for those suffering from ophidiophobia, one of the most common fears, it is more than just trying not to disturb or kill the snake. Ophidiophobia is listed as a social phobia with references stating that one in twenty individuals suffer from this type of phobia. Their fear can cause them to freeze in their tracks at the mere mention of a snake. Around half of the population of the world are anxious about encountering a snake, but only around 2% to 3% have a phobia.
Symptoms of the fear of snakes include:
- Sweating when you see a snake
- Feeling panicky when you think you may run into a snake
- Avoiding going places where you may see a snake including the reptile room at a zoo
Pteromehanophobia or the fear of flying is one of the most common phobias on every list. This fear may seem like one that many individuals never have to worry about, however, if you wish to enjoy a vacation in an exotic location or just travel to another state for work, the fear may begin when you consider how you will get to the location. In the United States, the fear of flying affects around 40% of the population while 2.5% of those have ptermomehanophobia. In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that 4.5 and 18.4 million individuals suffer from the fear of flying.
A few symptoms include:
- Sweaty palms
- Fast heartbeat
- Queasy stomach
The fear of failure is different from just worrying about succeeding. Everyone often has feelings they may not reach their goals, however, individuals suffering from this phobia often avoid trying to succeed. This means that they may become anxious about taking tests or being up for promotion. In the majority of cases, it is not the fear of failure but the shame they feel when they do not succeed.
A few of the signs that you may suffer from this most common fear include:
- Worrying about what others will think
- Worry about your ability to try to reach your goals
- Worry about how intelligent you are
Claustrophobia is one of the most common phobias that brings on fear when a person is in an enclosed space or even a small room. When a person suffering from claustrophobia is in a small space such as an elevator, they often feel suffocated. They may begin to perspire, shake, and want to run away.
Many times, individuals that have claustrophobia will check for exits when entering a room or will avoid:
- Heavy traffic
- Large gatherings or will stay nearby an exit
- CT scans
Even though thousands of dogs live with humans, there are some individuals that have such a fear of encountering a dog, they will not go outside their home. The thought of seeing a dog even in a movie brings on stress which causes their quality of life to diminish.
Most individuals with cynophobia will avoid such things as:
- Busy areas of town
- Visiting friends and relatives that own dogs
- Watching movies that have dogs in them
Anxiety can come on at the mere mention of a dog. Without professional help, the individual may become withdrawn and begin to stay at home.
The definition of agoraphobia is the fear of a place or a situation that would be difficult to escape. Most individuals believe that this most common phobia is the fear of open spaces, however, this is only just the surface of the phobia.
The fear may include:
- Shopping malls
- Traveling on buses
- Leaving their home
In many cases, the individual will have anxiety symptoms at the thought of going shopping or traveling in traffic even in a car with someone they know. They will always be looking for a way to escape their location, such as different roads, doors, windows, etc.… Staying home becomes the best way to avoid such situations.
Astraphobia is the fear of storms or the fear of thunder and lightning. You may just at the sound of thunder however, that does not mean you have a fear of thunder. 2.1% of the population has a fear of thunder and lightning.
Those with this most common phobia may:
- Close the curtains trying to block out the sights and sounds of the storm
- Hide under the bed
- Hide under the covers
- Go into a small room without windows
- Watch the weather channel to ensure the weather is fine
- Not go outside if the news says it might rain
The fear can be so intense that the individual can no longer live a normal life. They may stop socializing, quit their job, or not go to school due to their fear.
Does the thought of a creepy crawly bug make your skin crawl? Does it make you want to run to a safe place where there are no bugs? If so, then you may have entomophobia. Some individuals with this phobia may only fear a few insects while others may not like thinking about a bug, let alone seeing one.
Most of those with this most common phobia are afraid of several different bugs instead of just one. If it is only one bug such as spiders, then the phobia will be more specific like arachnophobia. Around twenty-five percent of the population is afraid of insects.
Individuals often fear going to the doctor because they have an intense fear of medical needles and injections. This phobia prevents many individuals from receiving proper medical care. Most will not go to the doctor on a regular basis as they are more afraid of the doctor wanting them to have shots. This most common phobia is showing up more today since the coronavirus epidemic. Those with trypanophobia cannot stand the thought of a medical needle which includes
- Blood tests
- Intravenous fluids
Some can manage the fear, visit the doctor, and even get the recommended vaccinations and other tests the doctor sees fit, while on the other end of the spectrum are those that the fear is just too intense. A recent study showed that 16% of the population does not receive regular flu shots due to their trypanophobia.
For many getting together with family and friends is a wonderful time. But there are a few individuals that avoid such gatherings. Sociophobia often stops individuals from any type of gathering if there will be more than a couple of people involved. The fear may be irrational, but to these individuals, the fear is overwhelming, and it causes them to lose out on life.
The symptoms of sociophobia include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Muscle tightness
- Anxiety symptoms
Too many times, without professional help, those suffering from sociophobia become reclusive and may develop other phobias.
The fear of germs and contamination known as mysophobia, germaphobia, bacteriophobia, verminophobia, and bacillophobia may have some individuals afraid to leave their homes due to the fear of germs. If you are just cautious and want to steer clear of those with a cold or wash your hands after being outdoors, you probably do not have a phobia. Individuals that have this phobia often avoid:
- Dirt and dust and other substances that may have germs
- Surfaces that may not be clean
- Kissing or coming in contact with bodily fluids from others
Some individuals with germophobia may also have other phobias such as zoophobia (fear of animals, nosophobia (fear of disease), ataxophobia (fear of untidiness), thanatophobia (fear of death), and microphobia (fear of small things).
Atelophobia is the fear of disappointing others. We all more than likely do not want to disappoint our parents, teachers, or bosses; however, some individuals have the fear so bad that it has become a phobia. Due to their fear those with this most common fear will avoid such situations in which they may not perform at their best or might make a mistake. This small action can literally hold people back from promotions or even relationships.
Some of the reasons for the fear might include:
- Others may need their help to succeed
- No set boundaries have been made
- They may feel the need to be in control of all situations
- They may be nervous about saying no to others
- They may also be afraid that others will be mad at them
Zoophobia is an extreme fear of animals. Some individuals with this most common fear may be scared of every type of animal while others may only be scared of just one animal. Research list zoophobia in the top 3 most common phobias known as specific phobias. Anxiety symptoms occur when the person is close to an animal or in some cases, see a photo of an animal.
Other phobias you may experience if you have zoophobia include:
- Fear of dogs (cynophobia)
- Fear of rats or mice (musophobia)
- Fear of bats (chiroptophobia)
- Fear of wasps (spheksophobia)
Dentophobia is the fear of dentists or the fear of visiting a dentist. The fear is often brought on by a previous unpleasant experience or from hearing stories of an unpleasant experience with a dentist. It is estimated that around 75% of adults in the United States have some anxiety when visiting a dentist. Out of the 75%, around 5% to 10% have developed dentophobia making it one of the most common phobias.
The fear causes individuals to not visit a dentist at all, which is detrimental to their health. In some cases, even the thought of seeing a dentist is so fearful that they can have a panic attack.
The fear may be due to:
- The tools used
- The dentist him/herself
- The smells
Peladophobia is the intense fear of bald people. Due to this phobia, individuals that have extreme phobia will avoid those that are bald. If a boss happens to be bald, the person may have such fear that they quit their job to avoid the possibility of seeing or having to talk with the boss. Symptoms found on the most common phobias list associated with peladophobia are:
- Nervousness when thinking of someone bald
- Avoid those that are bald
- Increased heart rate
- May have a panic attack
Trypophobia is the fear of circle clusters. This phobia when triggered can bring on emotional as well as physical reactions. The circle clusters may be spots or holes with the larger ones creating a stronger reaction.
Some of the triggers of this most common fear include:
- The air holes seen in a slice of bread
- Pebbles or holes found in concrete
- Holes in hockey masks
- Skin problems such as scars, measles, sores, etc…
- Shower heads
- Animals with spots such as giraffes
Everyone hates the thought of losing someone or something they love, however, those with thanatophobia have such a fear of death including their own that it is concentered a phobia.
It is normal to have anxiety when you think of your own or others mortality, but when it begins to consume your life, it is a phobia. If the fear shows any of the signs below, it is a phobia:
- Anxiety increases when the individual thinks about dying
- If the fear lasts longer than a few months
- If the fear is consuming your time and causing issues with their life or their relationships
- Hot flashes at the thought of death
- Sweating, dizziness, or increased heartbeat at the thought of death
- Feeling nauseated
Aquaphobia is an irrational fear of water, which is often caused by a traumatic event. This can be from nearly drowning, seeing someone choke, or from seeing someone drown. This is known as a specific phobia and is found on the most common phobias list.
Research suggests that around 7.4% of individuals in the world are diagnosed with aquaphobia with around 10% of women affected by the fear of water at some time in their life.
Individuals with aquaphobia will avoid:
- Swimming pools
- Large bodies of water such as oceans
Some individuals have such a fear of water they refuse to drink water or eat soup.
Nosophobia is an extreme and irritational fear of becoming ill. Too many times individuals with nosophobia cannot stop worrying about their health. They are constantly concerned about developing an incurable disease such as COPD, heart disease or cancer.
They are afraid to be around:
- Doctor offices
- Around anyone that is ill
The fear is so intense that many individuals begin to be afraid to leave their home as they may be around someone that is sick, and they can contract a serious illness or disease.
Nyctophobia is a most common fear shared among children and adults. The fear of the dark affects not only children but also adults. Forty five percent of children have an extreme fear of the dark while nine percent of adults have some type of specific phobia which includes nyctophobia.
Individuals with this phobia often:
- Have a nightlight
- Sleep disorders
- Will avoid leaving the house after dark
- Sleep during the day to avoid sleeping in the dark
- Stay away during the night
- Panic attacks
Hemophobia is the intense fear of blood including another person’s blood, their own blood, an animal’s blood, or a picture of blood. Research shows that 3% to 4% in the world have this common fear. Many individuals will experience anxiety at the sight of blood. Their blood pressure will drop quickly which will cause the heart to slow and they will faint due to the brain not receiving enough oxygen.
When triggered by the sight of the blood an individual may:
- Feel lightheaded
- Have heart palpitations
- Have breathing problems
Around 75% of individuals living in the United States have some type of fear of public speaking. They may have shaky hands or feel extremely nervous. When it comes to this common phobia, close to 10% of the population have a full-blown fear of speaking in public. For many individuals with this phobia, they will avoid speaking, however, some due to their employment must speak to large crowds. This can cause the phobia to show itself with:
- Increase in blood pressure
- A dry mouth
- Upper back muscles will tense
- Feeling nauseated
It may be hard to believe that a childhood “friend” brings on paralyzing fear in 7.8% of Americans adults. The fear of clowns is one of the most popular phobias, even though some individuals may never let anyone know. The fear of clowns can be so devastating that even a photo of a clown can bring on a panic attack.
Individuals will avoid clowns at all costs including:
- Not going to circuses, parades, and even children’s birthday parties
- Will not watch a movie that may have a clown
- Will not look at some children’s books afraid to see a clown
Fear is no laughing matter, and if the fear has developed into a phobia, it can be terrifying and life-altering. To distinguish between a fear and a phobia, the following list should help.
- If a person is in danger, fear is normal … if there is no danger, but there is fear, then it is a phobia
- Phobias are often associated with a specific thing or group such as spiders, water, circle clusters, etc…
- The fear will bring on anxiety and often a panic attack.
Anxiety and panic can bring on:
- Chest pain
- The feeling of losing control
- Fast heart rate
A panic attack can feel like a heart attack. It can last 10 to 20 minutes in most cases if triggered.
If you or someone you know, has any of the symptoms above or know you have an irrational fear, it is time to contact a therapist. A therapist can aid in providing a way to overcome or live with the phobia before it consumes your life.