types of fears

20 most common types of fears/phobias

What is fear in psychology? Fear is an emotion that alters both perception and reasoning before certain events or situations. Why are we afraid? What is fear for? Adaptive fear serves to protect us from threatening situations, however, when fear is dysfunctional, it can complicate life for us. Dysfunctional fears can generate distressing disturbances in the proximity of damage (real or imagined). 

In this sense, fears are lived habitually in people, but it is necessary to know to what extent it is a normative and adequate fear and, conversely, when this psychological fear crosses the border and is considered an excessive fear, it is It can turn into a phobia. Is it possible to live without fear? No, but it is possible to regulate fear.

There are many types of fears, do you want to know if your biggest fear is among the 20 most common types? Then do not hesitate to continue reading this Psychologyorg article, 20 most common types of fear and their characteristics, where you will find a list of fears.

types of fears

20 most common types of fears

1. Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia refers to the fear of spiders. It is one of the considerable ordinary precise phobias, understanding exact phobia as an anxiety disease in which fear occurs due to the existence or expectation of a worried object or circumstances, in this case, spiders.

Arachnophobia: Symptoms

The symptoms of arachnophobia can appear before the sight of spiders or in anticipation, that is, before seeing them, for example, if the person approaches a place where they have previously seen spiders. Thus, people with arachnophobia usually present some of the following symptoms: avoidance behaviors, nausea, anxiety, sweating, tachycardia, crying, among others.

2. Apiphobia

One of the most common types of fear is apiphobia. The term apiphobia refers to the fear of bees and wasps. It is a fear very similar to arachnophobia, although in this case spiders are replaced by bees and wasps. People who are afraid of these insects experience symptoms that are very similar or identical to the symptoms experienced by people with a fear of spiders. It is a very common fear. What causes fear? Possibly, the fact that people cannot control these insects and cannot get rid of them with a simple step, a fact that increases the chances of receiving a bite.

3. Ornithophobia

Fear of birds or ornithophobia refers to another of the most common fears, to which people respond, in the presence of birds, with symptoms of anxiety (sweating, tachycardia, increased heart rate…). In this case, as in apiphobia, people do not have control of these animals, a fact that can foster greater anxiety. The fear of birds can be directed at both predatory birds (eagles…) and harmless birds (pigeons, parakeets…).

4. Zoophobia

What is the phobia of animals called? zoophobia. Zoophobia includes all the most common fears directed towards animals. Within zoophobia are arachnophobia apiphobia and ornithophobia, these being the most common. 

However, fears of other animals are also included, such as phobia of dogs (cynophobia), phobia of cats (ailurophobia), phobia of horses (hypophobia), irrational fear of snakes (ophidiophobia), phobia of sharks (selachophobia), among others. This type of fear can be explained by the experience of a traumatic situation with a specific animal or, on the contrary, it can be an irrational and inexplicable fear.

5. Entomophobia

Following the thread of fear of animals, entomophobia should be taken into account, which refers to the fear of insects in general. It is one of the most familiar kinds of fear that is contained within zoophobia. However, within entomophobia, you can find different types of fear, among which are fear of bees (apiphobia), fear of ants (myrmecophobia), and fear of butterflies (motephobia), among others.

6. Agoraphobia

Another of the most common types of fear is agoraphobia, considered an anxiety disorder. People with agoraphobia are afraid of two or more of the following situations: riding public transport, being in open or closed spaces, standing in line (for example, at the checkout of a supermarket), being in a crowd, being alone outside the home in other situations. 

When these situations generate excessive fear, the people who suffer from it tend to avoid this type of situation, and, to deal with them, the presence of a companion is almost always necessary.

Agoraphobia: Symptoms

People are often fearful in these situations due to disabling or humiliating thoughts and symptoms in circumstances where escape would be difficult or circumstances where the person is aware that no help would be available. Some of these thoughts and symptoms may be the following: dizziness, fainting, sweating, tremor, tachycardia, palpitations, increased heart rate, feeling short of breath, choking sensation, pain or discomfort in the chest, nausea, unsteadiness, derealization (feeling of unreality), fear of losing control, fear of dying, among others.

7. Hematophobia

Another of the most common specific phobias is hematophobia. In this case, the fear is directed at the sight of blood, needles, and wounds, although rather, the fear is directed towards the fear of anticipating the unpleasant consequences of situations in which needles, blood, and/or are witnessed. injuries, such as dizziness or fainting. Thus, in this type of fear, there are also avoidance and/or escape behaviors, related to places, objects, and situations, such as a blood donation room, a hospital, and violent movies, among others.

The most notable physiological responses or physical symptoms of hematophobia or blood phobia are divided into two phases. In the first phase, there is an increase in heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration. Then, in the second and last phase, there is a rapid decrease in these three aspects already mentioned, especially heart rate and blood pressure. This sudden decrease is what can lead people to dizziness and, sometimes, to fainting at the sight of blood.

8. Brontophobia

Another of the most common types of fear is brontophobia. What is the meaning of brontophobia? Brontophobia refers to the fear of meteorological phenomena, such as storms, thunder, and lightning. In cases of not excessive fear, people may feel anxiety and/or discomfort. However, in extreme cases of fear of meteorological phenomena, people’s daily lives can be interfered with, since at times of the year when these phenomena are more common, people can feel completely unprotected, a fact that leads them to be unable to carry out normal day-to-day activities, such as getting up and going to work, going out to buy bread, among others.

9. Claustrophobia

Claustrophobia is one of the most typical types of fear. It consists of the fear of being in a closed space. Although there are different types of claustrophobia, in general, claustrophobic people will try to escape or avoid situations such as the following: being in small rooms or without windows, using the elevator, wearing a full-face helmet (the kind that covers the entire face), and others situations in which they are in closed or small places that cause them the feeling of difficulty to escape.

The difficulties presented by people who have this fear are breathing difficulties, fear of suffocation, restriction or inability to move or leave a place fear of having a panic attack, fear of hurting yourself due to nerves, fear of losing control or going crazy, among others. In addition, these people also tend to perform defensive behaviors to reduce the intensity of their fear, such as leaving a window open, not locking the door, etc.

10. Scotophobia

Scotophobia is defined as the fear of the dark. It is a very common fear in childhood, although it can also be suffered in adulthood. If the fear is very persistent, it can interfere significantly with the development of the individual and considerably affect family functioning, especially when it comes to a fear of the dark in childhood, since, on some occasions, with such In order to get the child to sleep, inadequate solutions are carried out, such as letting the child sleep with the parents.

11. Hydrophobia

Another of the most common types of fear is hydrophobia. The meaning of hydrophobia is experiencing fear of water. It is not about water as a drink, but water from the sea or from the pool, where people can swim. People with this type of fear are afraid of falling into the water, being pushed, not being able to swim, and choking or drowning if they swallow water, among others. For this reason, people who are afraid of water avoid going to the beach or places where they can find themselves in front of a swimming pool. 

However, in the cases in which they are faced with a feared situation, the behaviors that they usually carry out to reduce their fear are: carrying a float or inflatable that allows them not to drown, being accompanied by a trusted person, not entering in the water and stay on the shore.

12. Aerophobia

The fear of flying in airplanes is commonly called aerophobia or fear of flying. Among people who are afraid of flying, two types can be distinguished: people who avoid flying and people who do so with intense and considerable discomfort. Within this fear, you can find other fears that vary depending on each person, such as thinking about the possibility of having an accident (therefore, fear of harming yourself and dying in the accident), being locked up for a certain time in a small space, dizziness and nausea due to the instability of the aircraft, altitude, not having control or losing it (for example, screaming), among others.

13. Acrophobia

Another of the most common types of fear is acrophobia. Acrophobia is characterized by the commonly called fear of heights. There are different aspects that can foster this type of fear in people, such as the distance in which they are from the ground, transparent or grated floor (non-solid floor), the lack of railings, looking down, certain attractions theme parks, lean out of a balcony or a window, among others.

People with a fear of heights, as with so many other fears, tend to avoid being in situations where they are at a certain unevenness in relation to the ground. However, when people cannot avoid these situations, they usually respond to them with psychological discomfort and symptoms of anxiety.

14. Carcinophobia

Carcinophobia or fear of suffering from cancer, is characterized by the presence of anxiety before medical tests, and the search for information about the disease, among others. In this sense, carcinophobia can negatively affect the well-being and quality of life of people who suffer from this fear. On the one hand, it can be a fear of developing a relapse or the reappearance of a tumor from a previously suffered disease. On the other hand, it can be a fear of developing the disease without ever having suffered from it before.

15. Thanatophobia

Another of the most common types of fear is thanatophobia. Thanatophobia is known as the fear of death, caused by the presence or anticipation of objects or situations related to death (coffin, hearse, mortuary, funeral,…). The fact of witnessing situations or objects related to death causes anxiety in people with thanatophobia. It is common for these people to try to avoid situations of this type. Normally people who suffer from fear of death are people who are in a vital period close to the end of life.

Thus, it is usually the elderly or those who suffer from a serious and incurable disease who usually suffer from this type of fear. Therefore, it could be stated that thanatophobia is nearly bonded to carcinophobia (fear of suffering from cancer) or the fear of losing ill, either due to cancer or any different type of severe disease that endangers life. of the person.

16. Glossophobia

Glossophobia or fear of public speaking, is one of the most common types of fear among adults and adolescent students who are dedicated to giving conferences, exhibitions, and others. People with this type of fear consider that having to appear in front of an audience and speak is one of the most difficult situations to which they are exposed. The fear of speaking in public is an anxiety response to different aspects (the public’s reaction, the teacher’s evaluation, etc.).

17. Amaxophobia

Amaxophobia is defined as the fear of driving, both during and before driving, that is, the fear also appears in anticipation of the action. These people may show great fear of having an accident, getting hurt, queuing in a traffic jam with the feeling of being trapped, aspects of the road (curves, potholes, slopes…), and speed, among others.

It should be noted that people who feel anxious when it comes to taking the car but manage to drive it do not suffer from amaxophobia, it is simply a slight fear of driving but easily overcome. On the other hand, when people suffer excessive and incapacitating fear, it can be considered amaxophobia.

18. Trypophobia

Trypophobia is characterized by the fear of the repetitive succession of geometric figures that are very close together and in large numbers, especially if they are small holes and/or holes (for example, a honeycomb). These are patterns of geometric shapes that have an asymmetrical appearance. People who have this type of fear show repulsion and/or anxiety in the face of this type of pattern.

19. Harpaxophobia

Another of the most common types of fear is hapaxophobia. Hapaxophobia is the fear of someone entering the house, fear of thieves, or being robbed. Crime is perceived as a threat that makes people feel insecure and/or defenseless with respect to possible aggressors. In this sense, the fear of thieves or of being robbed goes further, since it is closely related to the fear of the possibility or the perception of people being violently attacked. 

Therefore, it can be closely related to the experience of previous experiences, depending on whether we have previously been robbed with or without violence or, on the contrary, if we have never been robbed or, we create ideas related to movies, experiences of friends or relatives, among others.

20. Coulrophobia

Coulrophobia is the name that refers to the fear of clowns. This type of fear can be mocked by other people, especially when it comes to children, but people who suffer from this fear really go through unpleasant and negative situations when they see the figure of a clown. These people generally experience anxiety, tremors, discomfort, a feeling of intense fear, tachycardia, rapid heart rate, and breathing difficulties, among others. People with a fear of clowns try to avoid finding themselves in situations where they might come across such a figure, but in the child population, it is more difficult to avoid, since it is a very common figure at birthday parties.

types of fears

Overcoming fear: Treatment

There are psychological treatments to overcome fear, the most common being exposure, a cognitive-behavioral technique that has shown good results in the treatment of phobias. How do you understand if you require to see a professional? The different types of psychological fears require treatment by specialists when they:

  • They experience disproportionately: intense and excessive fears, which can incapacitate them person.
  • They do not have a logical explanation: patients are aware of how absurd their fear can be, but even so, they find themselves unable to overcome it.
  • They are uncontrollable: when the fears are out of the patient’s reach and he is unable to control them voluntarily.
  • They try to avoid: when patients understand that the only way to feel good is to avoid their fears and everything that can cause them.


What are the 10 most common fears?

Fear of Heights (Acrophobia): Many people are uneasy or afraid of being at great heights.
Fear of Public Speaking (Glossophobia): Public speaking can be a common fear due to the fear of being judged or making mistakes in front of an audience.
Fear of Spiders (Arachnophobia): The fear of spiders is one of the most common specific phobias.
Fear of Snakes (Ophidiophobia): Snakes can elicit fear in many due to their appearance and reputation.
Fear of Flying (Aviophobia): The fear of flying is often related to the loss of control and fear of accidents.
Fear of Enclosed Spaces (Claustrophobia): Claustrophobia involves anxiety or fear of tight or enclosed spaces.
Fear of Needles (Trypanophobia): The fear of needles can relate to medical procedures and injections.
Fear of the Dark (Nyctophobia): Fear of darkness is common among children and can persist into adulthood.
Fear of Social Situations (Social Anxiety): This fear involves social interactions, particularly in unfamiliar or public situations.
Fear of Failure (Atychiphobia): The fear of failing can manifest in various aspects of life and often relates to performance anxiety.

What are popular fears?

Popular fears often include those fears that are commonly experienced by a significant portion of the population. These may include the fears mentioned above, such as fear of heights, public speaking, spiders, and snakes. In addition to these, other popular fears can encompass fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of rejection, and fear of death.

What are the 5 most common fears?

The five most common fears can vary by demographics and individual experiences, but typically include:
Fear of Public Speaking (Glossophobia): Speaking in front of an audience can be a widespread fear.
Fear of Heights (Acrophobia): The fear of being at great heights is a common phobia.
Fear of Spiders (Arachnophobia): Many people are afraid of spiders due to their appearance and potential danger.
Fear of Failure (Atychiphobia): The fear of failing or making mistakes is a common anxiety.
Fear of Death (Thanatophobia): The fear of death and the unknown can be a universal fear.

What are the 3 main fears?

The three main fears, often considered fundamental to human psychology, are:
Fear of Loud Noises (Phonophobia): This is a primal fear that likely evolved to protect early humans from potential threats.
Fear of Falling (Basophobia): The fear of falling relates to the instinctive need for self-preservation.
Fear of Loud Noises (Phonophobia): This fear can trigger a fight-or-flight response and is tied to survival instincts.

What is the biggest fear in life?

The “biggest” fear in life can vary greatly from one individual to another. It’s a subjective matter and depends on personal experiences and circumstances. However, the fear of death and the fear of the unknown, including what happens after death, are often considered among the most profound fears for many people.

What are the 6 main fears?

The six main fears include:
Fear of Death (Thanatophobia): Fear of the unknown and what happens after death.
Fear of Failure (Atychiphobia): The fear of making mistakes or not succeeding.
Fear of Rejection (Fear of Abandonment): The fear of not being accepted or loved by others.
Fear of Change (Metathesiophobia): Fear of the unknown and transitions in life.
Fear of the Dark (Nyctophobia): Fear of darkness and what might be lurking in it.
Fear of Public Speaking (Glossophobia): The fear of speaking in front of others, particularly in public or unfamiliar settings.

If you want to read more articles similar to the 20 most common types of fears and their characteristics, we recommend that you enter our Psychology category.

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