15 Most Common Phobias

15 Most Common Phobias and Their Definitions

Having a specific phobia of something means suffering from an exaggerated fear and panic reaction to the stimulus that torments us so much. According to psychology, phobias are distinguished from fear by being disproportionate responses and without an apparent reason. Today, there are many people who suffer from some type of specific phobia , in fact, they are one of the main reasons for consultation in therapy. But what are the most common phobias?

Next, we are going to offer you a definition of the types of fear according to psychology and a detailed list of the 15 most common phobias in our society. If you want to know in depth which phobias affect more people, do not hesitate to continue reading this interesting article from Psychologyorg where you will find the list of the most common phobias.

The most common phobias

What are the most common phobias? Before starting this article on the 15 most common phobias, we are going to answer the following question ” What is a phobia? ” A phobia is expressed as an excessive, irrational, and uncontrollable fear reaction towards a stimulant. The origin of phobias can be a traumatic experience itself or the mere observation of a negative event. That is, we do not necessarily have to go through a traumatic event to develop a phobia.

Phobias have different levels depending on the discomfort they cause and the avoidance behaviors that the person with said phobia presents.

  • For example, it is not the same as being afraid of heights but being able to climb a mountain as experiencing anxiety attacks if we lean out of a balcony, even if it is on the first floor.

Types of fear

What is fear in psychology? It is important to define the different types of fear since some are more adaptive than others. We can distinguish irrational fears from rational ones, exaggerated ones from controllable ones, and specific ones from general ones.

  • For example, the phobia of needles is an exaggerated, irrational, and specific fear (it is only directed at a stimulus). On the other hand, some people who experience social anxiety suffer from a pervasive, irrational but therapy-controllable type of fear.

List of the most common phobias

The most common phobias in our society are the following:

  1. Agoraphobia: phobia of open spaces
  2. Acrophobia or fear of heights
  3. Fear of flying or aerophobia
  4. Claustrophobia
  5. Needle phobia or belonephobia
  6. Coulrophobia or phobia of clowns
  7. Social phobia
  8. Glossophobia or fear of public speaking
  9. hemophobia
  10. Scotophobia
  11. transphobia
  12. Arachnophobia
  13. phobophobia
  14. thanatophobia
  15. cynophobia

Next, we are going to explain what each of the most common types of fears consists of.

1. Agoraphobia: phobia of open spaces

Agoraphobia is one of the most common phobias. People who suffer from agoraphobia are characterized by anxiety and a lot of psychological discomforts when they have to face open spaces. Agoraphobia has very marked symptoms and they are the following:

  • fear of going out
  • Irrational fear of being alone
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Anxiety symptoms in an open space
  • Tendency to avoid social gatherings

2. Acrophobia or fear of heights

The fear of heights is one of the most common phobias in our society. This is because it is an adaptive fear. That is, at an evolutionary level it is normal to be afraid of heights since they are potentially dangerous situations for our physical integrity.

However, when acrophobia or fear of heights extends to less dangerous stimuli (climbing stairs, leaning out of a balcony, climbing a mountain…) it becomes a phobia that we must treat in order to have a normal and calm life.

Acrophobia or fear of heights

3. Fear of flying or aerophobia

Closely linked to the fear that we have discussed previously, aerophobia is defined as the fear of airplanes and of flying in general. Aerophobia is also one of the most common phobias, derived from an adaptive fear. Aerophobia or fear of flying is usually based on the belief or fear of having an accident during the flight. This phobia can become very disabling since it does not allow many people to take flights and travel by this means of transport.

Treatment for aerophobia is usually cognitive therapy to deal directly with the belief and fear. However, for these cases, directly exposing yourself to the stimulus can end up being quite effective therapy.

4. Claustrophobia

Another of the most common and well-known phobias is claustrophobia. Also known as the fear of closed spaces, claustrophobia is defined as the irrational fear of being in a small place without access to the outside, such as an elevator, for example. The fear of limited spaces can manifest itself in the form of anxiety attacks, sweating, tension,…

Claustrophobia, like many fears and phobias, has different levels of severity: from some anxiety when entering a small room to a terrible panic that prevents the person in question from entering an enclosed area.


5. Phobia of needles or belonephobia

Belonephobia, another of the most common and common phobias, is the uncontrollable fear of needles or any sharp object. This phobia has its origin in our survival instinct and the unconscious response of not wanting to be harmed. However, when this fear becomes exaggerated and uncontrollable, it must be treated immediately since it can be an impediment when doing some type of medical procedure. Discover here how to overcome the fear of needles.

Phobia of needles or belonephobia

6. Colurophobia or phobia of clowns

Coulrophobia, this is what the phobia of clowns is called. Coulrophobia is a very common fear that usually originates during childhood and the phobia of clowns is a phenomenon experienced by more people than we think. Some experts affirm that coulrophobia or fear of clowns occurs as an adaptive response to a different and disconcerting stimulus. Other people simply claim that clowns are terrifying, both because of the makeup and the gestures they use.

  • A study carried out in different hospitals in 2008 determined that the use of clowns to reduce anxiety levels was not an effective proposal. In addition, another study carried out in England states that children experience higher levels of discomfort and anxiety when the hospital room is decorated with motifs related to clowns.
Colurophobia or phobia of clowns

7. Social phobia

Despite not being a specific phobia of a stimulus, we want to highlight social phobia in this article about the 15 most common phobias since, as indicated by its prevalence (between 3 and 13%), social phobia is one of the most common types of phobias We define social phobia as a state of anxiety and great discomfort when we are surrounded by people or when we have to attend an event where more individuals will attend. Some of the symptoms of social phobia are:

  • Avoid interacting with others
  • poor social skills
  • Difficulty establishing intimate bonds
  • Feeling dizzy, drowning, or anxious when around people
Social phobia

8. Glossophobia or fear of public speaking

Glossophobia or fear of public speaking is another of the most common phobias. Glossophobia may be related to the social anxiety that we have discussed above. There are many people who do not have a good time when they have to speak in public, however, glossophobia can cause really serious panic attacks. One of the factors related to the fear of public speaking may be a shy and introverted personality.

Glossophobia or fear of public speaking

9. Hemophobia or hematophobia

Better known as fear of blood, hemophobia or hematophobia is characterized by a feeling of dizziness (and even fainting) when seeing blood and is also one of the most common and common phobias. This fear is closely related to belonephobia (the fear of needles), so people with hemophobia tend to avoid needles and sharp objects.

One of the limitations of people with hemophobia is that they have great difficulty helping someone who has suffered an accident since they get dizzy when they see blood and that does not allow them to be aware of said person.

10. Scotophobia

This name may not sound familiar to you, but fear of the dark is one of the most common phobias today. The explanation for scotophobia is based on the fear of the unknown and the inability to know what surrounds us.

Our fear is triggered by not being prepared for a possible attack and people who suffer from fear of the dark are not able to correctly manage these emotions.


11. Trypophobia

In this list of the 15 most common phobias, trypanophobia has also earned its place. This curious phobia is defined as the fear of holes or very close geometric figuresIf you want to know more, you can read the following article on the causes and symptoms of trypophobia in humans.

12. Arachnophobia

The fear of spiders is one of the most common phobias in our society. Arachnophobia is the most common animal-related specific phobia. The typical symptoms that people with arachnophobia present in the presence or possibility of spiders are sweating, increased heart and respiratory rates, dizziness, and nausea.


13. Phobophobia

This type of fear is very surprising since it is defined as the phobia of having a phobia. It is one of the 15 most common phobias and one of the most disabling since people with phobophobia can feel strong anguish and anxiety at the slightest danger or possibility of it.

14. Thanatophobia

Also known as necrophobia, one of the most common phobias is the exaggerated fear of death and dying. Thanatophobia is also linked to hypochondria and should be treated if we notice that it prevents us from having a peaceful life.

15. Cynophobia

To finish the list of most common phobias, we find cynophobia. They are man’s best friend, however, there are people who suffer from cynophobia or fear of dogs. This type of phobia is usually triggered by a traumatic event that produces this fear response.

Read Also: Characteristics of Narcissistic Personality Disorder psychologyorg

If you want to read more articles similar to The 15 most common phobias and their definition, we recommend that you enter our  Mental Disorders category.

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