Fear or Phobia?

What is phobia?


We all have fear of something or the other. Some terror is typical but few of those are intense. The severe disgust of a particular thing, object, situation or place is called Phobia. The word comes from the Greek word ‘Phobos’- which means fear or horror.

It can be considered a type of anxiety disorder.


How is phobia different from regular fear?


If you are terrified of something, you attempt to avoid it. You may sweat or tremble on just the thought of getting into that condition. However, on facing it, you may behave in

a different way.

For example- if you dread a cockroach- you may kill it when you face it.

Another example can be fear of thief entering your house- so you check the locks and are cautious while leaving.

Another terror that teenagers have is of the parents. They are Afraid to discuss some issues with them for fear of scolding. But ultimately it is obvious that they are the well wishers and children discuss their problems with them sooner or later.



Phobia is a severe stage of fear. It is a persistent and unrealistic fright. These individuals are aware of the fact that their horror is unreasonable but they are incapable to do anything about it. It affects the normal functioning of life and has an impact of work and personal life. Such people make specific alterations in life to evade the cause of fear as much as possible. In this circumstance, the person is not able to encounter the cause of anxiety.

The individual will show extreme symptoms, such as


· Unease

· Crying

· Distress

· Panic attack

· Sweltering

· Quivering

· Hot flush or chills

· Choking sensation

· Struggle to breathe

· Rapid breathing

· Change in speech

· Blood pressure fluctuations

· Gastrointestinal pain

· Fainting


Types of phobia

There are 2 broad categories which consist of 3 kinds of phobia.


1) Simple phobia or specific phobia

It is the fear of a specific trigger. The cause of phobia is clear and recognized. The person can avoid encountering it and therefore it is not regular to face such a situation. The family and close friends are well aware of the reason of panic and will be considerate and helpful.



2) Complex phobia


a) Social phobia: It is terror of being in public. It is the fear of insult or embarrassment in a group, being judged by people etc. It is NOT being SHY. These people are afraid to meet people and go out to public places. This kind of phobia affects the well-being of a person. The person becomes isolated and lonely. In some cases, and if not treated, it may lead to depression too.

b) Agoraphobia: it is fear of an unrecognized cause. The person panics in a situation which is difficult to escape. This trigger is hard to avoid as the cause is not clear. It is called the fear of open spaces.


What are the reasons of phobia?


There may be known and unknown reasons of various phobia. Nevertheless, for certain situations, sources can be identified. Some causes could be:



· Unfortunate past experience in that situation or with that object

· A bad dream which may be recurrent

· A disturbing incident

· Genetic causes

· Environmental factors

· Trauma

· Stories heard about it in childhood

· Learn from family or parents- if someone has similar phobia.

· Any medical condition or medication may lead to such a fear

· Injury specially brain injuries sometimes give rise to some phobia

· Some health conditions, specifically related to mental health


How to overcome phobia?


Phobia is a mental disorder which is diagnosable. Treating phobia is possible- both medically and with self-help, depending on the intensity of it.

Simple phobia may be easy to cure by a process called desensitization or self-therapy. It includes exposure to the cause of distress gradually to overcome the nervousness. This form of psychotherapy is called exposure therapy.


If an anxiety is suffered at most of the times, it leads to dependence on drugs or alcohol to find relief. It leads to further problem of addiction, depression and short life span.

So, it is recommended that if you have any sort of phobia, which is powerful or upsetting you more than usual, don’t hesitate for help from a therapist or a doctor. Medication may be suggested in some cases besides various therapies.


Ways to win over your reservations


1) Accept your fear and talk about it.


2) Face your fear. Don’t avoid your fear as it wont help in long run.

3) Remind yourself that a phobia will not kill you.

4) Be confident that if you chase your fear, it will be faster to run away from you.

5) Meditate regularly to have control if you face a situation.

6) Look for people with similar phobia and discuss ways to deal with it.

7) Take care of your physical and mental health as sometimes stress and various medicines can be the cause of phobia.

8) Be positive and love yourself.







Let’s discuss some phobia

1) Common phobia.


· Acrophobia: the fear of heights

· Claustrophobia: fear of enclosed spaces

· Hemophobia: fear of blood or injury

· Arachnophobia; fear of spiders

· Cynophobic: fear of dogs

· Ophidiophobia: fear of snakes

· Nyctophobia: fear of darkness

· Hydrophobia: fear of water

· Astraphobia: fear of thunder or lightening

· Autophobia: fear of being alone

· Zoophobia: fear of animals

· Alektrophobia: fear of chickens

· Pogonophobia: fear of names

· Thalassophobia: fear of the ocean

· Cryophobia: fear of ice or cold

· Aphenphosmphobia: fear of being touched

· Entomophobia: fear of insects

· Musophobia: fear of rats

· Leukophobia: fear of color white

· Melanophobia: fear of color black

· Mysophobia: fear of dirt and germs

· Ombrophobia: fear of rain

· Philophobia: fear of love

· Pyrophobia: fear of fire

· Technophobia: fear of technology

· Trypanophobia: fear of injections

· Xenophobia: fear of strangers

· Trypophobia: fear of small holes, patterns, reaction to round shape

· Glossophobia: performance anxiety

Reference: https://www.healthline.com/health/list-of-phobias#az-list-of-fears

Fun fact: we are born two innate fears: fear of falling and fear of loud sound.

2) Rare phobia:

· Panophobia: person has more than one type of phobia. They live in constant fear that something bad is going to happen

· Phobophobia: person has one or more phobia, but constantly fear to develop more phobia.

· Somniphobia: fear of sleeping

· Nomphobia: fear of losing your mobile or lack connection with the internet

· Sesquipedalophobia: fear of long words

· Deipnophobia: social phobia where the person wants to eat in silence- so if anyone eats with them is supposed to be quiet. It is a social phobia.

· Genuphobia: fear of uncovered (or otherwise) knees.

· Scriptophobia: fear of writing in public. It is a social and specific phobia related to graphophobia which is the fear of handwriting

· Consecotaleophobia: fear of chopsticks

· Allodoxaphobia: the fear of opinions.


Reference: (a) https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/fraser-coast/10-strange-phobias-you-might-not-have-known-existed/news-story/d767ae733a47a37ae66f741c1f765853

(b) https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/249347#causes

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