We are afraid of different things. It is a natural response to threats, but can sometimes become excessive, irrational and disabling. This is known as a phobia. A phobia involves 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 daily life and general well-being. Read on to learn the most common types of phobias people can experience.
Common types of phobias
Dr. Sanjay Kumavat, Consultant Psychiatrist and Sexologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund, tells us about different types of phobias. Here are the 10 most common phobias that people suffer from:
This type of phobia occurs when a person is afraid of drugs and has a negative attitude toward drugs in general. Some factors that can cause this phobia include prejudice, preconceptions about medications, belief systems about treatments, and emotional trauma related to drugs.
Heliophobia occurs when a person is afraid of the sun, sunlight, or any bright light. When such a person is in the sun, he feels intense discomfort, anxiety and nausea, which can cause panic attacks. They may also experience a burning sensation under the sun, both in their body and in their eyes.
Ailurophobia is a persistent and excessive fear or hatred of pets such as cats and dogs. People with this phobia may experience extreme nervousness and anxiety when hearing meowing, hissing, or other sounds commonly associated with cats.
A specific phobia caused 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 an untoward incident or the person watching something inappropriate during their younger years. Furthermore, adults with androphobia often know that their fear of men is irrational, although they can rarely control their physical responses.
Also read: How to Overcome Your Anxieties: 6 Tips from a Mental Health Expert
Another rare phobia is the fear of pain or impending pain. It can arise from observing someone in pain, such as a mass hysteria in the pediatric ward. In most cases, this condition can be treated with behavioral therapy and anxiety medications.
Defined as a fear of birds or an aversion to birds, people with ornithophobia fear that birds will attack them and feel in danger when they see birds. Since birds are everywhere, it is not possible to avoid them completely. Someone with an extreme fear of birds may choose to stay at home where they feel safe. This can lead to another phobia called agoraphobia, a fear of being in situations where escape may be difficult.
This is a food phobia that usually revolves around the strong smell, sight and contact with foods from the allium family, such as garlic, onions, chives and shallots. Someone with Alliumphobia may avoid places where they encounter these foods.
9. Fear of heights
Acrophobia is a fear of heights and goes beyond the normal caution one might feel when standing at a great height. People with a fear of heights experience intense anxiety and panic attacks when exposed to heights, even when they are in a safe environment. This phobia can make activities such as climbing stairs or visiting tall buildings incredibly painful.
Claustrophobia is the fear of enclosed spaces, such as elevators, tunnels, or small rooms. People with claustrophobia often experience extreme discomfort and panic in such environments. This phobia can significantly limit their ability to travel or participate in various activities, leading to a reduced quality of life.