‘There is nothing to fear but fear itself’, the famous line from Franklin D Roosevelt’s inaugural address is not entirely accurate. The sufferers of the below phobias certainly wouldn’t agree, it seems there is plenty to fear including fear itself!
We are not talking about your run of the mill fear of the dark here; we are talking about completely off the wall crippling fears of random and bizarre things. Some of them listed here are so bizarre that it begs the question, how is it that there were enough people fearing the same thing to merit calling it a phobia let alone giving each one a name?
At some time or another, most of us have a moment where we have to face a fear of some sort, be it heights, spiders or enclosed spaces. But it is difficult to imagine a situation where we are faced with our fears on a consistent and daily basis making it difficult to even function performing the simplest of tasks. Phobias in whatever form they come, affect roughly 10% of the adult population around the world.
18. Chromatophobia-Fear of Colours
For sufferers of chromatophobia, the world must be an incredibly scary place. While there are individual phobic disorders and names assigned to each colour, this one applies to a fear of colours in general. Imagine how sufferers must feel when they see a rainbow, we imagine it to be their worst nightmare. Like many others, this phobia is created by the subconscious as a defence mechanism and is in most cases associated with a traumatic event in which a particular colour or colours were involved in some way. The severity ranges from mild reactions as a result of direct stimulation to fearing literally every colour you see.
17. Somniphobia-Fear of falling asleep
Unlike insomnia, sufferers of somniphobia are genuinely afraid to fall asleep. Many of them believe that they will never wake up or they will die in their sleep. Others fear the lack of control they have while sleeping or the repetitive nightmares they may have. Not only this, but many sufferers are afraid of losing the time that will lapse while they sleep. This phobia is caused by a combination of trauma a genetic predisposition. Manifestation of this and many other phobias usually shows in a similar way to an anxiety attack.
16. Omphalophobia-Fear of bellybuttons
This one is really hard to believe. Sufferers are effectively afraid of their own bodies! Many of them connect bellybuttons with the womb and the umbilical cord and are incredibly repulsed by their appearance to the point where they cannot see or touch a bellybutton including their own. While, this is generally not one that evokes panic type symptoms, sufferers report feeling disgusted or fearful in the presence of navels including their own. The more severe sufferers relay feelings of fear that their insides will spill out through their navel.
15. Papaphobia-Fear of the pope
One of the more rare phobias, papaphobia is associated with a fear of all things papal. It is generally triggered by a trauma that is in some way connected to the papacy or the Vatican, though what the rationale behind the fear is, remains unclear. As with most other phobia symptoms, sweating, breathlessness, dizziness and nausea can occur.
14. Pogonophobia-Fear of beards
Although this fear probably has its origins in creepy bearded characters in books, this one must be particularly difficult for sufferers at Christmas. Who knew Santa could strike fear into people’s hearts? The term pogonophobia has been used since the 1800’s to describe this type of fear and continues to be used today. Some sufferers associate the rugged bearded look with lack of personal hygiene and may combine these feelings with mild OCD-like symptoms which manifest as a fear of beards/facial hair.
13. Numerophobia-Fear of numbers
This is exactly what is says on the tin, an irrational fear of all things numeric or mathematical. Some sufferers fear specific numbers like 13 or 666 which they associate with bad luck and are often rooted in religious of cultural superstitions. As numbers are everywhere and essentially inescapable, sufferers often withdraw from society to avoid them. For children suffering from this phobia, school is an incredibly painful and difficult time.
12. Allodoxaphobia-Fear of opinions
Do you want my opinion on this? Oh you don’t? That must mean you suffer from allodoxaphobia and that my opinions scare you. A phobia like this usually results from being in an environment where you or your opinions are not valued and has close connections with low self-esteem and emotional abuse. There are also connections with a fear of confrontation.
11. Alliumphobia-Fear of garlic
A scourge of the vampire world, alliumphobia is a fear of the pungent vegetable, the humble garlic. So no spaghetti Bolognese or chicken Kiev for the sufferers for dinner then? While it is common not to like garlic, being afraid of it conjures images of a horror film in which a clove of garlic grows legs and terrorizes Manhattan!
10. Peladophobia-Fear of bald people
Similar to the fear of beards or the Pope, this phobia is most often connected to a traumatic event in which a bald person is involved in some way or the bald person reminds them of how they felt at that point. Treatment for this phobia is a combination of medication and counselling which is also the case for most phobias.
9. Ambulophobia-Fear of walking
A fear of walking is most commonly a result of an injury related to falling. The fear can also be evoked by an illness that causes pain while standing or walking. For the most part, this phobia has its origins in social anxiety but in certain cases the cause is as simple as embarrassment from a limp or injury and comments being made consistently which results in the sufferer developing a complex.
8. Arachibutyrophobia-Fear of peanut butter getting stuck to roof of the mouth
As bizarre as it sounds, this is a frightening reality for some people. In most cases the root of the fear is in the possibility of choking or even in the texture of the food but in the majority of cases it shows as a panic or anxiety attack. Some people develop the fear of peanut butter after learning of its severe affects on people who are allergic to nuts. As one of the most deadly allergies this is somewhat understandable.
7. Barophobia-Fear of gravity
There are two types of barophobia; one type fears that gravitational pulls will increase to the point of being crushed while the other feels that at some point gravity will simply disappear and we will all float away. Causes of the phobia differ for many patients and can range from a traumatic experience in which they fell from a height to seeing a movie where gravity disappears or increases exponentially.
6. Belonephobia-Fear of pins and needles
This phobia does not refer to a fear of the tingles you get when your foot falls asleep, it refers to sharp implements such as knives, needles, forks and basically anything that has the potential to cut you. It is avoidable to an extent but anxieties can become very severe if the sufferer requires medical treatment as the fear of needles may make it difficult for them to remain calm and cooperate. However, if medical practitioners are made aware of the phobia in advance they can make every effort to allow for it.
5. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia-Fear of long words
Ironically, the longest name on the list of phobias is a fear of long words. It is hard to know how this type of phobia would manifest itself or how it would even be diagnosed but it is in fact a real thing!! The extent of suffering varies greatly as in some cases the sufferer only worries about extremely lengthy words like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious whereas others are frightened by moderate length wording. Both could prove difficult in the right circumstances.
4. Ommatophobia-Fear of eyes
This is considered a social phobia because it involves social situations. It usually stems from being involved in, or witnessing, a trauma to the eye. It could even be as simple as a cartoon showing eyes popping out of a character’s head. In many cases, this can be an extremely crippling phobia as it can be considered rude in many cultures not to make eye contact.
3. Anablephobia-Fear of looking up
Anablephobia is quite literally a fear of looking up. For some, this stems from a fear of the unknown, fear of our insignificance and the size of the universe. For others they fear this in combination with a fear of gravity believing they will be crushed if they look up. Sufferers do not look in wonder at the stars at night like many of us, this fills them will absolute panic and dread, to a point where they find it difficult to cope.
2. Chaetophobia-Fear of hair
Sufferers of this phobia range in severity from fear of stray hair on the floor to full blown terror at the sight of any hair, human or animal. For many sufferers, the fear strikes when they think about, or come into contact with, anything hair related. Some of them fear that they will go bald if they or anyone else touches their hair. The more severe sufferers genuinely believe that hair could hurt them.
1. Panophobia-Fear of everything
Exactly how it sounds- you are afraid of literally everything! As you can imagine, it would be incredibly difficult to live day to day in a constant state of fear. Yes, it is possible to be afraid of being afraid! More specifically, it is a fear of the symptoms that anxiety brings or the fear of developing a phobia.