Phobias, or irrational fears, are relatively common disorders, and a comprehensive list of phobias would be quite extensive. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 10 million American adults suffer from a phobia.
What Is Phobia?
A phobia is defined as an extreme irrational fear of or aversion to something that poses little or no actual danger. Phobias are classified as anxiety disorders. Thus, the negative consequences of phobias include panic attacks; physical symptoms, such as cold sweats and a racing heartbeat; and avoidance behaviors, in which the focus of phobia is shunned or eluded.
The most common phobias include fear of spiders (arachnophobia), fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia), fear of people (anthropophobia), and fear of open places (agoraphobia). Furthermore, a comprehensive list of phobias includes more obscure types, such as fear of beards (pogonophobia), fear of the navel (omphalophobia), and fear of rain (ombrophobia).
Arising in children or teens, most phobias continue into adulthood. The causes of specific phobias are not known, but they can run in families. By using fear-reduction techniques that escalate to phobia exposure, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can effectively treat phobias. Moreover, in the early stages of therapy, pharmaceutical medications can help as well.