Weirdest Phobias that people have
Mark Twain once said – Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain. However, for all the rationality that we human beings possess, there are certain fears that we just can’t get rid of, howsoever trivial they may be. From darkness to heights to books, there exists a wide range of fears that we have no rational explanation for.
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear.”
A phobia is defined as an extreme, persistent or irrational fear of a specific thing or situation that compels one to avoid it, despite the awareness and reassurance that it is not dangerous. More people than we think around the world have some kind of strange phobia. In this post, we look at some of the interesting and weird phobias that people have.
Obesophobia, also called Pocrescophobia, is the fear of gaining weight or becoming obese (or fat). It is generally more prevalent in cultures that value being thin. Sufferers of obesophobia have a compulsive desire to avoid anything that could result in weight gain and this aversion could result in a sense of failure if weight is gained. It may also result in anorexia nervosa, a psychological disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat, even to the point of starvation! It can be caused by both internal predispositions about weight gain as well as external influences or events.
Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. The fear is not just restricted to evil clowns like the Joker from the Batman series and movies; rather coulrophobia is a fear of clowns in general. Since clown costumes exaggerate facial features and other body parts, clowns can be perceived by a few people as scary and deformed rather than comical.
Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking or even of speaking in general. Glossophobia is derived from the Greek words glossa (meaning ‘tongue’) and phobos (meaning ‘fear’). Stage fright may be a symptom of glossophobia, which is characterized by strong anxiety, physical distress, panic or nausea before speaking or even thinking about speaking to a group of people.
Acrophobia is the extreme fear of heights. ‘Acro’ is derived from the Greek word ákron, meaning peak or summit. People having acrophobia can become very agitated and experience panic attacks at heights, even if they aren’t particularly high up. It is estimated that 2% of the general population suffers from acrophobia and is more pronounced in women than in men.
Chronophobia is the fear of time and time moving forward. Those having chronophobia experience a feeling of unease and anxiety about time or events moving too fast and hard to make sense of. While it can affect anyone who has extreme stress and anxiety in their life, it is common among prison inmates and the elderly population.
Nomophobia, short for “no-mobile-phone phobia” is the fear of being out of mobile phone contact. It was coined during a 2010 study in Britain, in which it was found that nearly 53% of mobile phone users tend to be anxious when they “lose their mobile phone, run out of battery or credit, or have no network coverage”.
Bibliophobia is the fear or hatred of books. Such a fear often arises from fear of the effect that books can have on society. Sometimes perhaps, it could just be because of the dreaded thing called exams 🙂
Numerophobia is the fear or numbers or mathematics. Well, Math does give a lot of people shivers!
Ergophobia is the fear of work, workplaces or finding employment. Sufferers of ergophobia experience undue anxiety about the workplace environment, often stemming from a combination of fears such as fear of failing at assigned tasks, speaking before groups at work & socializing with co-workers.
Decidophobia, as the name suggests, is the fear of making decisions. It was coined by a Princeton University professor in 1973 and described that people having this phobia tend to leave the task of making decisions to somebody else and then simply accept their decisions.
Anuptophobia is the fear of being single or in some cases, fear of being married to the wrong person. Safe to say, a lot of us probably have this at some level!
Venustraphobia is the fear of beautiful women! Some of the causes for this phobia include past experiences of failures when dealing with or being around beautiful women and a poor self-image.
Gametophobia or Gamophobia is the fear of getting or being married! Such a fear often stems from the challenge of living with another person or the responsibility of raising a family or fear of failing as a sexual partner.
Ablutophobia is the persistent fear of bathing, washing or cleaning. It tends to be more common in children and females than in males. In children, the fear generally dissipates as they learn that bathing is nothing to be afraid of.
Gerascophobia is the fear of growing old or ageing. ‘Gerasco’ comes from Greek gerasko, meaning “I grow old”. Symptoms of this phobia include fear of the future and the need to rely on others for daily tasks and may be triggered by anxieties of being alone, without resources and incapable of taking care of oneself.
Autophobia, also called Monophobia or Isolophobia, is the fear of being alone or isolated. People who suffer from autophobia don’t need to be physically alone to feel isolated and even the belief that they are ignored or unloved is enough. They can be in crowded areas with people around them and still feel secluded. Some symptoms of autophobia include extreme anxiety and stressing about times and places where you’ll be alone, believing a disaster will occur when you are alone and going to great lengths to avoid isolation. It is also commonly associated with agoraphobia or the fear of open spaces and crowded places.
Dromophobia, also called agyrophobia, is the fear of crossing streets or roads. ‘Dromo’ is derived from the Greek word dromos, meaning ‘running’ or ‘racetrack’. It may result from experiencing a road accident and may be a part of accident-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is more common in children, especially those with autism, as crossing a road does involve complex skills such as judging the speed of cars.
Aviophobia is the fear of flying or fear of being on a flying vehicle such as airplane and helicopter. While it may be a standalone phobia, it is often a result of other fears such as fear of crashing, fear of closed spaces (claustrophobia), fear of heights (acrophobia) and even, fear of hijacking! Normally, a person having aviophobia might experience anxiety and distress about upcoming flights, but in extreme cases, may also have panic attacks at the mere mention of aircrafts or air travel!
Phobophobia is the fear of phobia(s) or fear itself! More specifically, it is the fear of the internal sensations associated with a phobia. So if you are scared that you’ll get any of the above phobias, you probably have phobophobia!