Phobias You May Not Know You Have

It’s not uncommon to be afraid of spiders. After all, they do have eight spindly legs, they give you side-eye as they dangle from the ceiling above your bed, and their behavior is unpredictable. Eeks! Being creeped out by a spider doesn’t necessarily motivate you to run screaming out of the room. That’s because your brain is telling you that while spiders are creepy, most of them aren’t dangerous or life-threatening. Some people have a phobia of spiders (Arachnophobia), which is a debilitating fear. Phobias are irrational fears of places, situations, or objects that are actually harmless. Phobias lead to mental distress and, in turn, can lead to dire physical symptoms. Here are some of the strangest phobias plaguing people today. You might be surprised to find that you or someone you love are living with one of these phobias.

Arachibutyrophobia (Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to the Roof of Your Mouth)

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Most of us have had the experience of eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and having a bit of peanut butter stick to the roof of our mouths. Sure, it’s kind of annoying because you have to use your finger to remove the offending PB, which is gross. For most of us, this momentary inconvenience comes and goes, then we move on with the rest of our day. For people who have Arachibutyrophobia, however, the mere thought of this moment is terrifying. So terrifying, in fact, they forego peanut butter altogether to avoid even the possibility of choking to death.

The next phobia is probably more relatable . . .

Nomophobia (Fear of being without your mobile phone)

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No one likes to lose their mobile phone. Doing so can cause frustration and anxiety, mostly because so much of our personal and professional lives play out right there on our handheld screens. If you lose it, you’ve lost a lot of information–information someone else may find! While most people would hate to lose their phone, others have an actual phobia of losing their phone. Those with Nomophobia can experience a range of symptoms from depression, increased heart rate, shortness of breath, panic attacks, and trembling if they even think about losing their mobile phone. Just as losing something can be the basis for fear, so can gaining something . . .

Plutophobia (Fear of Wealth)

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When we think of fears surrounding money, we usually think about the fear of NOT having money. Those who have Plutophobia, however, have a fear of earning money. They don’t fear the bills and cents themselves, but they fear the idea of accumulating money because doing so would put them in a position to decide how to manage it. They also fear wealthy people. In an effort not to become wealthy themselves, people with this phobia often sabotage their own careers. How can the object of so many people’s desire be the object of fear for others? That’s also the case with this next phobia . . .

Ablutophobia (Fear of Bathing)

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We’ve all had the experience of trying to bathe either a child or pet who isn’t in the mood. It isn’t a pleasant experience for anyone involved, but we wouldn’t classify it as horrible or life-threatening either. Usually, a child who isn’t in the mood doesn’t have a fear of bathing, but a good ol’ fashioned aversion to giving up playtime for bath time. It’s a different story for those who suffer from Ablutophobia, which is the fear of bathing. This phobia is often developed as a result of a traumatic experience involving water. If you have this phobia, the thought of getting wet can terrify you. If you think the fear of bathing could be inconvenient, consider the next fear: the fear of opening your eyes!

Optophobia (Fear of Opening Your Eyes)

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Most of us would rather stay in bed a few minutes (or hours) longer than we can on any given day. Our affinity for the snooze button is a result of wanting to sleep more and stay cozy for as long as we can. Those with Optophobia want to keep their eyes closed for a different reason; they are scared of opening their eyes. The general cause of Optophobia is a traumatic experience. The manifestations of this phobia are debilitating for those who have it as it stops them from wanting to open their eyes, be in a well-lit area, and/or leave their homes at all. This is a scary phobia, indeed. If you have a phobia surrounding opening your eyes, you may not realize you have the next phobia . . .

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (Fear of Long Words)

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We’ve all heard of the fear of public speaking (Glossophobia), and the fear of being in the spotlight (Scoptophobia). What is less common is the fear of long words, also known as Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. First of all, whoever named this phobia either had an odd sense of humor or was downright mean. Second, this doesn’t seem like a phobia that could disrupt the normal flow of anyone’s day, but it could. Those who have developed it are fearful of saying long words incorrectly, mostly as a result of a traumatic experience in which they were humiliated by not knowing how to pronounce something properly. The resultant phobia causes the sufferer to second guess their own ability to speak and can lead to silence in most cases. While this phobia is internally motivated, the following can be triggered by other people . . .

Pogonophobia (Fear of Beards)

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Beards have made a big comeback. Not only do we see this fashionable choice trending on the street, in malls, etc. we’ve also seen a huge growth in beard manicuring tools. Tools such as beard brushes, scissors, and curlers are purchased on Amazon in tandem with beard oils and creams. It’s a whole thing! That being said, not everyone is fond of beards. People who have Pogonophobia can be downright panic-stricken by beards. Whether they come across a photo of someone with a beard, see someone sporting one on TV, or come face-to-face with someone in real life, those who suffer from this phobia can experience degrees of fear ranging from anxiety to panic. While this phobia occurs as a result of looking at other people, the next one is triggered by looking at one’s self . . .

Eisoptrophobia (Fear of Mirrors)

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It’s pretty common for people to have good and bad hair days. Depending on the kind of day we’re having, we may enjoy looking in the mirror or try to avoid it. Even on our worst hair days, however, it’s not common to literally fear your mirror. Unless, of course, you are Eisotrophobic. Those who suffer from this phobia can experience symptoms like nausea, rapid heartbeat, and panic when they even think about looking into a mirror. Some who have this phobia find that they’re most fearful when they catch a glimpse of themselves in a mirror, while others are terrified by mirrors themselves. I wonder how people who have a phobia of mirrors know what their outfits look like? The next phobia would compound that issue.

Vestiphobia (Fear of Clothing)

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Traumatic events involving clothing can lead to Vestiphobia. Among the most common occurrences of this phobia are military soldiers, and men and women who grew up in environments in which restrictive clothing was mandated. For soldiers, Vestiphobia can develop when they begin to associate camouflage fatigues, bullet-proof vests, and military boots with bad experiences. For those who have been forced to wear constrictive clothing, any kind of tight garment can lead to feeling breathless, dizzy, claustrophobic, and/or out of control. While a phobia of clothing might seem all-encompassing in one’s daily routine, the next fear might be more so . . .

Chirophobia (Fear of Hands)

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You know that feeling when you look down at your fingernails and think, “Ugh. I need a manicure!” That’s pretty common. You aren’t scared of the chipping polish on your hands but you’re annoyed by how they look. Did you know some people have a debilitating fear of hands? This phobia, known as Chirophobia, is characterized by extreme anxiety when someone sees or comes into contact with hands. Even seeing their own hands out of the corner of their eyes can bring about full-blown panic attacks. Hands are all around us. There’s no avoiding this appendage. The only positive about the next phobia is that it can be avoided.

Globophobia (Fear of Balloons)

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Oprah Winfrey has Globophobia. This is the fear of balloons, in general. More specifically, it can manifest as the fear of popping balloons or simply being in the vicinity of a balloon. While it’s common for people not to enjoy loud, sudden sounds, it’s not common to anticipate immense danger coming from an inanimate object. As is the case with this phobia, those who suffer from it are subject to such physical symptoms as pins and needles sensations when they’re around balloons, as well as heart palpitations, dry and sticky mouth, sweating excessively, and panic attacks. Have you ever experienced this level of trauma as a result of balloons? Have you ever experienced this level of trauma as a result of . . . cheese? Read on to discover what a phobia of cheese causes in the daily lives of those who have it.

Turophobia (Fear of Cheese)

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There are a lot of common food-related allergies that we’re used to hearing about and/or dealing with on a daily basis. Phrases like “gluten free,” “peanut free,” and “hold the onions” are standard in restaurants and around dinner tables all around the country. What’s not standard to hear is, “I’m deathly afraid of cheese.” This is a phrase spoken by people who are Turophobic. Turophobia is an irrational and disproportionate fear of cheese. Not an allergy, but a fear. People who suffer from this phobia can be triggered by the taste, sight, or smell of cheese. The symptoms they experience include vomiting, shakiness, nausea, and/or intense anxiety. Is there any food that triggers you to this extent? Are there any colors that trigger this kind of panic?

Xanthophobia (Fear of the Color Yellow)

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Most of us have a favorite color. Statistically, if you’re reading this your favorite color is blue since that’s the most popular favorite color in the world. That being said, not many of us would say there is one color we hate. Or–to take it a step further–one color we fear. Those who struggle with Xanthophobia can say just that! They fear the color yellow. The symptoms of Xanthophobia can be physical and/or mental. Some of the physical symptoms for those who fear yellow can be tightness in the chest, nausea or vomiting, hot or cold flashes, and/or numbness in their extremities. Some of the mental symptoms include the desire to escape, fear of going crazy, and/or fear of death. Other color-related phobias do exist, and they fall under the heading of Chromophobia.

Selenophobia (Fear of the Moon)

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The moon is a source of romance, mystery, and navigation for most. For others, it’s a source of overwhelming dread. Those who are Selenophobic can be overcome with fear when they see the moon, or simply when they’re in darkness. Unfortunately, this phobia is a result of traumatic experiences that occurred in the person’s past. Some with this phobia ascribe mythical powers to the moon, while others believe the moon will force people to engage in devious and/or dangerous acts. Common symptoms of this phobia include sweating, dizziness, feeling trapped, and an inability to articulate one’s thoughts. Much like a phobia of the moon, the next phobia often trickles down from the sky . . .

Pteronophobia (Fear of Feathers)

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It is often noted that Pteronophobia (fear of feathers) can be closely related to Orinthophobia (fear of birds). Pteronophobia can be triggered by thoughts of birds or the sight of birds, as well as thoughts about or the sight of feathers themselves. It is often noted that one specific aspect of this phobia is the fear of being tickled by a feather. Some common symptoms of this phobia include anxiety at the thought of going to a park, headaches, trembling, feeling faint, and/or hyperventilation. This phobia is one that some dogs struggle with, too. The next phobia is also fairly universal and extends across species . . .

Coulrophobia (Fear of Clowns)

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Out of all the phobias mentioned on this list, you’re most likely to experience this one. According to statistics, 7.8 percent of Americans have Coulrophobia. Our question is why doesn’t everybody? Clowns are super creepy! As we mentioned previously, being creeped out by something doesn’t equal having a phobia to it. An actual phobia of clowns can be developed from various sources–scary movies, traumatic experiences, books, and/or an older caregiver with the same phobia. The symptoms of this phobia are triggered when someone thinks of clowns or sees one either in print or in real life. Those symptoms can include, shaking, feelings of dread, difficulty breathing, and/or intense emotions such as screaming, crying, or becoming angry at the sight of a clown. While it’s possible for people to avoid clowns altogether, it isn’t possible for those with the next phobia to avoid their object of terror . . .

Panophobia (Fear of Everything)

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You may have heard people say things like, “My toddler won’t eat anything,” or, “My partner never wants me to spend any money.” We speak in hyperboles because we understand these figures of speech get our general points across. When we say some people are afraid of everything, we’re not speaking in hyperbole; we’re describing people who have Panophobia. Pantophobia is also known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder. It’s characterized by persistent and extreme worry, tension in the body, sudden loss of color in the face, and racing heartbeat among other things. This phobia can be caused by traumatic events, prolonged chaotic circumstances, and/or certain genes passed down from parents to their children. Speaking of children . . .

Televisiophobia (Fear of Watcing TV)

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Anyone who grew up watching the movie Poltergeist has probably dealt with this phobia at one time or another. Especially when we were all subject to the body-sucking possibilities inherent in the snowy screens we had to endure before Smart TVs and streaming. People who have Televisiophobia are likely to experience panic attacks when they either see a TV or–in severe cases–when they think of one. Other physical symptoms include sweating, trembling, hot flushes or chills, shortness of breath, and a choking sensation.

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