15 Weird Phobias You Never Knew Existed
Most of us are afraid of something. Spiders, the dark, and even death are common things people fear. But there is a difference between fearing something and what are known as true weird phobias.
As Howard E. LeWine, MD states in Harvard Health Publishing, “a phobia is a persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear of an object, person, animal, activity or situation.” It’s considered a type of anxiety disorder that triggers real fear in people. Phobias can cause a wide range of symptoms, including having a panic attack, sweating, shortness of breath, dizziness, and nausea.
You might be scared of snakes or spiders and freak out when you see them. This is a normal reaction. But if seeing a spider gives you nightmares or you refuse to be in the same room as someone’s pet snake, you are more than likely suffering from a phobia of these creatures.
But it’s not just animals. You can have phobias about people, environments, objects, and situations. The good news is phobias can be treated, often through cognitive behavioral therapy whereby you are exposed to your phobia and gradually learn to live with it.
There is a strange array of phobias that people have been diagnosed with over the years. This article will look at 15 of these weird phobias that plague thousands of people around the globe.
One of the more common phobias, agoraphobia impacts thousands of people. It’s a fear of open or enclosed spaces, being in public, or finding yourself in a large crowd. It’s based on the fear of not being able to escape a situation. People who suffer from this phobia often get panic attacks which increase with severity unless treated. It’s a big cause of social anxiety. Many who live with this condition find it hard to leave their homes. Going to the shops or riding public transport is like a nightmare for them.
There is no cure for agoraphobia. It requires a person to understand how to manage their anxiety to a level where they can live as much of a normal life as possible.
Ever seen the movie Buried and got a shiver at the thought of being buried alive? Then you might suffer from taphophobia. It’s been suggested this fear gained traction in the 1700s when the plauge ravaged Europe. People were scared of mistakenly being declared dead while sick and then being buried alive. People were so worried that safety coffins were invented, featuring a mechanism that allowed the buried to signal if they were actually alive. While this specific phobia isn’t as prevalent today, there are still those who worry about being buried alive.
Belly buttons aren’t attractive, but to fear them seems a little silly. But it’s a real thing. Omphalophobia is the term used for people who are disgusted by seeing or touching a human belly button. This is a very specific phobia that about 12.5% of adults in the United States have, which is wild.
There is no real reason why people suffer from omphalophobia, which is what makes it such a weird thing to be afraid of. Like the majority of phobias, there is no official cure, but therapy is the best bet to overcome this issue.
Imagine never being able to look at yourself in the mirror? While some might find this refreshing, the same can’t be said for those suffering from eisoptrophobia. People with this disorder have a fear of mirrors, often stemming from other body issues they might be dealing with.
People diagnosed with eisoptrophoiba often have other phobias related to their body weight and appearance. This phobia often leads to depression and other mental health issues, so while being weird, it can also be quite destructive to a person’s general wellbeing.
This is a really strange phobia. Arachibutyrophobia is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth. Crazy right? While anyone who has eaten peanut butter has experienced it sticking to the roof of their mouth, they don’t normally freak out like someone with arachibutyrophobia does.
These people often find it hard to eat peanut butter altogether and can only tolerate small spoonfuls. Those affected by this irrational fear often also worry about choking or have experienced a bad situation involving peanut butter in the past.
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Here’s a phobia that has only become prevalent in recent years. Mainly impacting young people, nomophobia is the fear of not having your phone nearby. It causes people to become anxious and panic when they can’t have access to their mobile phones. While classified as a rare phobia, it is becoming much more common these days as people are constantly on their phones scrolling through social media.
One study found that 23% of male students suffer from this disorder and that 77% check their phones more than 35 times a day. With the way people are attached to their phones, this is sure to increase over the coming years and become a real problem for many.
One of the strangest phobias is coulrophobia, a fear of clowns. Clowns are meant to be funny characters who provide laughs and joy, especially to children. But this isn’t an irrational phobia. When you think about John Wayne Gacy, the serial killer who dressed as a clown, or the hundreds of horror films about killer clowns, it’s easy to see why people have developed a fear of Ronald McDonald.
This is a phobia that many famous people suffer from, including Johnny Depp. He had this to say about his fear of clowns: “There always seemed to be a darkness lurking just under the surface, a potential for real evil. I guess I am afraid of them because it’s impossible – thanks to their painted-on smiles – to distinguish if they are happy or if they’re about to bite your face off.”
As you can probably guess by the name, numerophobia is the unusual phobia of numbers. This could explain why maths is always a struggle. People with this phobia have a great fear of doing maths, even simple things like adding or subtracting. These people don’t actually have a problem with numbers themselves, just when it comes to working out maths equations.
Xanthophobia is the persistent fear of the color yellow. Whenever people with this phobia see something yellow, it causes them anxiety and other symptoms. While it sounds funny, it can actually be quite distressing. There are many everyday things that are yellow, including school buses, bananas, flowers, birds, and lemons, that they might come across and trigger their anxiety.
This is the fear of chickens. That’s right, there are people out there who have an overwhelming fear of these feathered creatures. If you need proof, a 2016 study centered on a woman who suffered from alektorophobia. She experienced a traumatic event involving a chicken when she was younger. When she got older, she would instantly fear being attacked by a hen or rooster when she saw one. She even began to feel uncomfortable when in the vicinity of chicken dishes at restaurants.
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We’ve already discussed the fear of numbers, but octophobia is the specific fear of the number eight. People with this phobia can’t stand seeing the number eight, whether it is written down or appears on television in an advertisement. Along with triskaidekaphobia, the fear of the number 13, octophobia is one of the only phobias associated with a certain number, making it very unique.
The reason people suffer from octophobia is often to do with them experiencing something bad on a day that is the eighth or during the eighth month of the year.
Would you be surprised to learn that hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is an extreme fear of long words? It just seems mean that whoever named this phobia would use such a long word. Interestingly it isn’t recognized as an official phobia by the American Psychiatric Association and is considered a social phobia.
That aside, people with dyslexia are most likely to have to deal with this phobia that also goes by the name sesquipedalophobia.
This is one phobia you don’t want to experience. Optophobia is the fear of opening your eyes. As strange as it might sound, there is a small number of people in the world who struggle with this. It can be a very debilitating disorder and causes those who have it to live very sheltered lives. They often don’t like going outside and prefer to inhabit low-lit areas. While treatable, it can take many years for someone with optophobia to overcome their fear.
Not a fan of balloons? You might be suffering from globophobia. People with this phobia try their best to stay well clear of rubber balloons. While most people with globophobia are only impacted when they encounter ballons in real life, there are some who begin to get anxious if they see them on television or in magazines.
What’s worse is children who suffer from globophobia. Balloons are a big part of many children’s childhoods, especially at birthday parties, which can cause issues for people with this phobia.
This could be the worst phobia of them all. Phobophobia is fear of fear itself. That’s right, people with this phobia are afraid of pretty much everything. Weird phobias don’t get much more strange than this one. It’s been described as “free-floating anxiety” and is often associated with other anxiety disorders.
Because these people are worried and afraid of almost everything, they find it very hard to function. Day-to-day life is tough and people with this phobia often become recluses. It can also lead to drug and alcohol abuse as people try and deal with their issues.
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