When you have a fear, it can sometimes feel like you’re the only person who has ever felt that way.
It can actually be quite comforting to be open about our fears, and learn that most people in the United States suffer from at least one of these eight common fears.
These fears have built up in our lives as a response to unwelcome or uncomfortable situations- sometimes, we can clearly remember the moment when our fear started, while other times it remains a mystery.
However you came to have your fears, it’s important to know that your fears make you human, but it’s important not to give your fears power over your life.
Fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears among Americans today.
As we get more comfortable with technology, we become accustomed to typing out messages in texts or emails instead of communicating in person, which is why a lot of young people now are growing up with a strong fear of public speaking.
Known medically as glossophobia, a fear of public speaking is characterized by a person experiencing symptoms of panic or anxiety before they’re scheduled to speak or present in public.
Acrophobia, the fear of heights, is a common anxiety disorder that is estimated to affect one in every 20 adults.
If you suffer from acrophobia, it’s likely that you’ll avoid tall buildings, mountains, or even balconies.
Many people who have acrophobia chose to live in small towns rather than larger cities, because even seeing skyscrapers can make them feel uncomfortable.
Acrophobia can be cured by hypnosis, or by practicing meditation to calm the anxious mind.
Another fear that’s so common it has become a movie trope is arachnophobia– the fear of spiders.
It’s estimated that 48% of women and 12% of men are arachnophobic.
Many people who fear spiders don’t understand why they’re so afraid, but scientists believe that it may be due to an evolutionary response- spiders are often poisonous, and have been carriers of infection and disease in the past.
Arachnophobia is often a phobia that’s passed down from parent to child, and varies widely depending on which global population you sample.
Open or Crowded Spaces
There are a lot of misconceptions about agoraphobia– the fear of open or crowded spaces.
The most common stereotype of an agoraphobic is that the person lives their life shut up in their home, refusing to interact with others.
Actually, agoraphobia can be anything from a fear of large, open spaces to a fear of crowded rooms.
In many cases, this fear is caused by an underlying panic or anxiety disorder, which leads people to fear what would happen to them if they were to have a panic attack in public.
Fear of needles is known as trypanophobia, and it affects as much as 10% of the global population.
Many of the people who suffer from this phobia are children, who eventually grow out of it.
Adults who suffer from severe trypanophobia will often find that their health is adversely affected by their anxiety surrounding needles- many people avoid the doctor solely because they’re afraid of routine injections.
If you’re the owner of a loving, docile pup, it’s hard to imagine that so many people around the world suffer from cynophobia– the fear of dogs.
While people do tend to fear large and aggressive looking dogs like Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers, there are some people that suffer from cynophobia so intense that even the most cuddly Shi Tzu or Chihuahua can inspire anxiety and terror.
Scientists believe that this phobia is common because of our evolutionarily-ingrained fear of wolves, and other large hunting animals.
Every person who has ever had a middle seat on a crowded, long-haul flight knows what it’s like to experience a little bit of aerophobia– the fear of flying.
It’s estimated that nearly 25% of people who step on to planes suffer from mild to moderate aerophobia.
This fear manifests in mild ways, like an elevated heart rate, trembling, and dizziness, but people who are extremely aerophobic can also experience intense panic attacks, become disoriented, and lash out at unsuspecting airline staff.
Mysophobia, the fear of germs, is becoming ever-present in our culture today.
This phobia is common among people who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder- a condition in which people obsessively clean themselves or their surroundings.
If a person is mysophobic, they may refuse to use public restrooms, insist on an intense cleaning regime for themselves and their loved ones, and even avoid social interaction entirely.
Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns.
Clown make up tends to be exaggerated and can be seen by some people as monstrous or deformed.
Others may also feel that their make up hides their true expressions.
Do you have any of these phobias?
If so, just know that you are not alone.
Many people out there suffer from the same fears as you.