10 Most Common Fears

Fear is an emotion. It usually kicks in when somebody senses a threat. Phobia is just the fancy Greek word for “fear.” Psychologist shop-talk usually defines phobias as the “excessive or unreasonable fear of an object, place or situation.” In everyday peoplespeak, phobia is a heightened form of fear.

There are many different types of fears and phobias – common fears such as fear of the dark, and quirky fears like fear of clowns. Some are worse than others.

If you have a phobia, you are not alone! Everyone is afraid of something. In fact, nearly 20 percent of us experience a specific phobia at least once in our life. And, despite what people say, some people do NOT “grow out of it.”

Here are 10 of the most common fears:

Flying

Aerophobia is the fear of flying. It affects nearly 7 percent of the world’s population. Serious fear of flying impacts the sufferer’s professional and personal life, making any air travel virtually impossible. No travel on business. No vacations. The mere thought of an upcoming flight can cause intense distress and outright health problems, including nausea, panic attacks and more.

oneinchpunch / Shutterstock.com
oneinchpunch / Shutterstock.com

Germs

Mysophobia is the excessive fear of germs, and is closely related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). This notorious phobia is openly talked about by celebrity germaphobes like Howard Stern and Howie Mandel.

Although you don’t need to have OCD to have mysophobia, many people with OCD do struggle with mysophobia, and many have compulsive habits like excessive bathing or hand washing. The unhealthy fear of germs causes phobics to also fear contact like hand-shaking (some prefer closed fist bumps as an alternative), contamination of food or exposure to bodily fluids from those around them. It may lead to many complications, since some germaphobes go to extreme lengths to avoid all kinds of social situations where germs may spread. Isolation is a common symptom.

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com
wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock.com

Being Closed In

Nearly 7 percent of the world is plagued by claustrophobia, the fear of small or restricted spaces or being closed in, anywhere. Doctors say that claustrophobia is mainly related to the fear of suffocation or the fear of restriction. The phobia has been highly studied by experts and scientists, though the sad fact remains that only 2 percent of people with claustrophobia actually seek treatment.

Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock.com
Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock.com
1 of 4