Phobias Types List of Phobias: Common Phobias From A to Z By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry Facebook Twitter Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology. Learn about our editorial process Updated on August 04, 2022 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print Table of Contents View All Table of Contents Types of Phobias List of Phobias Symptoms Causes Common vs. Rare Phobias Treatments What Is a Phobia? A phobia is an anxiety disorder involving excessive and persistent fear of a situation or object. Exposure to the source of the fear triggers an immediate anxiety response. Phobias are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH), approximately 12.5% of adults in the U.S. will deal with a specific phobia in their lifetime. Women are more likely to experience phobias than men. Typical symptoms of phobias can include nausea, trembling, rapid heartbeat, feelings of unreality, and being preoccupied with the fear object. Types of Phobias The American Psychiatric Association (APA) identifies three different categories of phobias: Social phobias: Now known as social anxiety disorder, this phobia is marked by a fear of social situations in which a person might be judged or embarrassed. Agoraphobia: This phobia involves an irrational and extreme fear of being in places where escape is difficult. It may involve a fear of crowded places or even of leaving one's home. Specific phobias: When people talk about having a phobia of a specific object such as snakes, spiders, or needles, they are referring to a specific phobia. Verywell / JR Bee While not comprehensive, this list of phobias offers a glimpse of the many phobias that can have a serious impact on a person's life. As you may notice while you browse through this list, most specific phobias fall into one of four major categories: Fears of the natural environmentFears related to animalsFear related to medical treatments or issuesFears related to specific situations One important thing to remember is that virtually any object can become a fear object. The names of specific phobias are often formed as nonce words, or words coined for a single occasion only. These names themselves are often formed by taking a Greek prefix that represents the fear object and adding the -phobia suffix. Because of this, any attempt at a completely exhaustive list of phobias would be a futile exercise. Any list of phobias could grow with the addition of newly coined terms for previously unnamed specific phobias. A–Z List of Some of the More Common Phobias This article lists some of the most common phobias. It also covers some of the treatment options that are available. 1:51 Click Play to Learn More About Common Phobias This video has been medically reviewed by Daniel B. Block, MD. A Ablutophobia: Fear of bathing Achluophobia: Fear of darkness Acrophobia: Fear of heights Aerophobia: Fear of flying Algophobia: Fear of pain Agoraphobia: Fear of open spaces or crowds Aichmophobia: Fear of needles or pointed objects Amaxophobia: Fear of riding in a car Androphobia: Fear of men Anemophobia: Fear of air Anginophobia: Fear of angina or choking Angrophobia: Fear of anger Anthrophobia: Fear of flowers Anthropophobia: Fear of people or society Aphenphosmphobia: Fear of being touched Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter Arachnophobia: Fear of spiders Arithmophobia: Fear of numbers Astraphobia: Fear of thunder and lightning Astrophobia: Fear of outer space Ataxophobia: Fear of disorder or untidiness Atelophobia: Fear of imperfection Atychiphobia: Fear of failure Automatonophobia: Fear of human-like figures Autophobia: Fear of being alone B Bacteriophobia: Fear of bacteriaBarophobia: Fear of gravityBathmophobia: Fear of stairs or steep slopesBatrachophobia: Fear of amphibiansBelonephobia: Fear of pins and needlesBibliophobia: Fear of booksBotanophobia: Fear of plants C Cacophobia: Fear of ugliness Catagelophobia: Fear of being ridiculed Catoptrophobia: Fear of mirrors Chionophobia: Fear of snow Chrometophobia: Fear of spending money Chromophobia: Fear of colors Chronomentrophobia: Fear of clocks Chronophobia: Fear of time Cibophobia: Fear of food Claustrophobia: Fear of confined spaces Climacophobia: Fear of climbing Coulrophobia: Fear of clowns Cyberphobia: Fear of computers Cynophobia: Fear of dogs D Daemonophobia: Fear of demons Decidophobia: Fear of making decisions Dendrophobia: Fear of trees Dentophobia: Fear of dentists Domatophobia: Fear of houses Dystychiphobia: Fear of accidents E Ecophobia: Fear of the home Elurophobia: Fear of cats Emetophobia: Fear of vomiting Entomophobia: Fear of insects Ephebiphobia: Fear of teenagers Erotophobia: Fear of sex Equinophobia: Fear of horses G Gamophobia: Fear of marriage Genuphobia: Fear of knees Glossophobia: Fear of speaking in public Gynophobia: Fear of women H Haphephobia: Fear of touch Heliophobia: Fear of the sun Hemophobia: Fear of blood Herpetophobia: Fear of reptiles Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: Fear of long words Hydrophobia: Fear of water Hypochondria: Fear of illness I Iatrophobia: Fear of doctorsInsectophobia: Fear of insects K Koinoniphobia: Fear of rooms Koumpounophobia: Fear of buttons L Leukophobia: Fear of the color white Lilapsophobia: Fear of tornadoes and hurricanes Lockiophobia: Fear of childbirth M Mageirocophobia: Fear of cookingMegalophobia: Fear of large thingsMelanophobia: Fear of the color blackMicrophobia: Fear of small thingsMysophobia: Fear of dirt and germs N Necrophobia: Fear of death or dead things Noctiphobia: Fear of the night Nomophobia: Fear of being without your mobile phone Nosocomephobia: Fear of hospitals Nyctophobia: Fear of the dark O Obesophobia: Fear of gaining weight Octophobia: Fear of the figure 8 Ombrophobia: Fear of rain Ophidiophobia: Fear of snakes Ornithophobia: Fear of birds Osmophobia: Fear of smells Ostraconophobia: Fear of shellfish P Papyrophobia: Fear of paper Pathophobia: Fear of disease Pedophobia: Fear of children Philematophobia: Fear of kissing Philophobia: Fear of love Phobophobia: Fear of phobias Podophobia: Fear of feet Porphyrophobia: Fear of the color purple Pteridophobia: Fear of ferns Pteromerhanophobia: Fear of flying Pyrophobia: Fear of fire S Samhainophobia: Fear of Halloween Scolionophobia: Fear of school Scoptophobia: Fear of being stared at Selenophobia: Fear of the moon Sociophobia: Fear of social evaluation Somniphobia: Fear of sleep T Tachophobia: Fear of speed Technophobia: Fear of technology Thalassophobia: Fear of the ocean Trichophobia: Fear of hair Tonitrophobia: Fear of thunder Trypanophobia: Fear of needles/injections Trypophobia: Fear of holes V-Z Venustraphobia: Fear of beautiful women Verminophobia: Fear of germs Wiccaphobia: Fear of witches and witchcraft Xenophobia: Fear of strangers or foreigners Zoophobia: Fear of animals Zuigerphobia: Fear of vacuum cleaners Recap While listing all of the phobias that may exist is not possible, it can be helpful to look through a list of some of the more commonly described phobias. As you can see by looking at this list, almost any object or situation can become the source of fear. Symptoms of Phobias Phobias lead to physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms. Common symptoms include: Chest tightness or painChills or hot flashesChoking sensationsConfusionDifficulty breathingDizzinessDry mouthIncreased blood pressureNauseaRacing heartbeatShaking or tremblingSweating In addition to these physical symptoms, people may experience dread, a sense of impending doom, fear of losing control, or even the feeling that death is imminent. To avoid such feelings, people with phobias may avoid any situation where they might potentially encounter the source of their fear. Causes of Phobias The exact causes of phobias are not known, but it is likely that a combination of factors plays a part. Some factors that increase the risk of developing a phobia include: Genetics: People with a close family member with a phobia or another anxiety disorder also have a greater risk of a phobia. It is important to note, however, that people who don't have family members with the condition still develop phobias.Traumatic experiences: A difficult, stressful, or traumatic experience can also trigger the onset of a phobia. For example, being bitten by a dog as a child might trigger a fear of dogs in adulthood. Common vs. Rare Phobias Some phobias are more common, while others are often quite rare. A few of the most common phobias include arachnophobia (the fear of spiders), ophidiophobia (the fear of snakes), and glossophobia (the fear of public speaking). The fear of public speaking is so common that some researchers have estimated that as much as 77% of people have some level of this fear. Rare phobias may be novel terms coined to identify a single, unique case. A few of the more uncommon specific phobias include spectrophobia (the fear of mirrors), chiclephobia (the fear of chewing gum), and hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia (the fear of long words). Treatment for Phobias While phobias can be distressing and create disruptions in your life, they are treatable. Some of the different treatment options include therapy and medication. Exposure Therapy Exposure-based treatments are the first-line approach in the treatment of phobias. In this type of treatment, you are gradually and progressively exposed to what you fear. You might start by just thinking about your phobia trigger and then move slowly toward looking at images of the object and finally being near the object in real life. Types of exposure-based treatments that may be used include: In vivo exposure: This involves being exposed to the source of your fear in real life.Virtual exposure: This involves the use of virtual reality to practice gradual exposure.Systematic desensitization: This involves being gradually exposed until you become desensitized to the source of your fear. During this process, you'll also practice relaxation techniques to help calm your body when your fear response kicks in. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Often referred to as CBT, cognitive behaviorial therapy involves learning to identify the underlying negative thoughts that contribute to feelings of fear. Once you become better at noticing these thoughts, you can then work on replacing them with more positive, helpful thoughts. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy utilizes rhythmic eye movements to help people process and recover from traumatic experiences. It is frequently used in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but can also be effective in the treatment of a variety of other mental health conditions including phobias. Medications Medications may be prescribed in some cases to help manage some of the symptoms you might be experiencing as a result of your phobia. Medications your doctor might prescribe include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), beta-blockers, and anti-anxiety drugs. Treatment Options for Phobias A Word From Verywell Phobias can have a serious impact on well-being, but it is important to remember that you are not alone. Phobias are common and treatable. If you believe that you have the symptoms of some type of phobia, consult a doctor for further evaluation and treatment advice. How to Tell the Difference Between a Fear and a Phobia 9 Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. 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Assessing public speaking fear with the short form of the Personal Report of Confidence as a Speaker scale: confirmatory factor analyses among a French-speaking community sample. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2013;9:609-18. doi:10.2147%2FNDT.S43097 Thng CEW, Lim-Ashworth NSJ, Poh BZQ, Lim CG. Recent developments in the intervention of specific phobia among adults: A rapid review. F1000Res. 2020;9:F1000 Faculty Rev-195. doi:10.12688/f1000research.20082.1 Valiente-Gómez A, Moreno-Alcázar A, Treen D, et al. EMDR beyond PTSD: A systematic literature review. Front Psychol. 2017;8:1668. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01668 Spiegel SB. Current issues in the treatment of specific phobia: Recommendations for innovative applications of hypnosis. Am J Clin Hypn. 2014;56(4):389-404. doi: 10.1080/00029157.2013.801009 By Kendra Cherry Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology. 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