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The 8 Most Common Phobias In the United States

Last reviewed by Drug Expert on May 30th, 2019.

biggest fears

Do you have anything that you’re really scared of? Are you so scared of this particular thing that just the thought of it makes your heart race and your hair stand on end? When someone has a severe fear of something – a fear that can become so serious it is debilitating – it is often the result of a phobia. Phobias are a phenomenon in which a person has a grave fear of a certain thing. This fear goes far beyond just being scared of that thing. Phobias are often so serious that they manifest in significant physical symptoms, such as tachycardia (fast heartbeat) or syncope (fainting).

Phobias are not rare at all. In fact, over 19 million people in the United States alone are afflicted by some kind of phobia. There are thousands of different phobias that are recognized around the world, but some are vastly more common than others. The following are known to be the eight most common phobias in the United States:

1. Arachnophobia

Arachnophobia is derived from the word “arachnids,” more commonly known as spiders. A debilitating fear of spiders is the most common phobia around the world. As many as 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have a severe phobia of spiders. It is likely that even more suffer from this fear, seeing as many people never report or seek treatment for phobias.

common phobias

2. Ophidiophobia

Ophidiophobia refers to a serious fear of snakes. Whether it be the villainous portrayal of snakes in popular culture, or the fact that certain snake species can give venomous bites, millions of people around the world are so afraid of snakes that the mere mention of one induces panic.

common fears

3. Acrophobia

Acrophobia is one of the most common phobias in the world, and for good reason. Acrophobia refers to the extreme fear of heights. Individuals who are very afraid of heights often site the danger of falling from an extreme height as the fuel behind their fear, which makes logical sense.

common phobias

4. Aerophobia

Aerophobia is an excessive fear of flying on an airplane. People who suffer from this phobia say that the very rare instances in which planes have crashed make them afraid to ever set foot on one. Even though plane crashes are very unlikely, these individuals always assume the worst when it comes to the idea of flying.

fear of flying

5. Cynophobia

Often rooted in a previous personal experience, cynophobia is an intense fear of dogs. While the vast majority of people welcome interaction with man’s best friend, people with cynophobia may have had a prior bad experience (such as a bite or full-on attack) with a dog and are terrified that it will be repeated if they encounter one.

common fears

6. Astraphobia

Astraphobia refers to a severe fear of thunder and lightning. Individuals who struggle with this phobia may experience panic attacks during storms due to the excessive fear that they will be struck by lightning. This often times leads them to hide in closets or small spaces during bad thunder storms.

common phobias

7. Trypanophobia

People with trypanophobia are very unlikely to visit the doctor, since this is a serious fear of needles or injections. These individuals are terrified of vaccinations or any kind of injection at all. This intense fear can obviously lead to other medical issues, since these people avoid medical facilities at all costs.

common fears

8. Social Phobia

Also known as Social Anxiety Disorder, social phobia refers to an immense fear of any social situation. People with social phobia avoid any place or occasion where there will be a lot of people. They are intensely afraid of social interaction and will go to great lengths to avoid interacting with others. This fear is typically rooted in the idea that other people will scrutinize them or ostracize them for any number of reasons.

social anxiety disorder

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