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Phobias

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Phobias

Alyse Amos, Staff Member

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A phobia is an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something. These are very complex and difficult to analyze. Scientists don’t know everything about phobias, and a lot of what they do know is theory simply because phobias are complicated to study.

 

Most phobias typically develop in early childhood between the ages of four and eight. Although it is less common, phobias can also develop throughout teenage years and early adulthood. It’s very uncommon for anything to develop after that. Around 8.7% of Americans 18 and older have some sort of phobia or irrational fear. That’s about 19.2 million people.

 

There are many reasons a phobia might present itself. It could be from a traumatic or uncomfortable experience. For instance, if someone had a terrible experience on an airplane, they may develop a fear of flying.

 

It’s also possible to attach to a phobia because of the way parents react to things. There’s no evidence that this is genetic, however, if a child is deeply aware of a fear that either parent has, the phobia can be taught to the child. If one of the parents has a deep fear of spiders, the child will learn to be afraid of spiders as well.

 

Another possible reason that can explain phobias is basic human instinct. The fear of certain things is rooted in our ancestry. Back then there were certain things that people had to be afraid of in order to survive. When people see a snake, even if it’s not poisonous, their brain alerts them of danger and they become afraid. It’s almost instinctual to be afraid or alarmed by snakes and other things that pose a threat.

 

Phobias are complex and it’s not always clear what drives some of these crazy fears-

 

  1. Alektorophobia- Fear of chickens
  2. Cacophobia- Fear of ugliness
  3. Ephebiphobia- Fear of teenagers
  4. Arachibutyrophobia- fear of having peanut butter stick to the roof of your mouth
  5. Alliumphobia- Fear of garlic
  6. Octophobia- Fear of the figure 8
  7. Selenophobia- Fear of the moon
  8. Venustraphobia- Fear of beautiful women
  9. Chaetophobia- Fear of hair
  10. Catoptrophobia- Fear of mirrors
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Phobias