Types of phobias: exploring fear disorders

Phobias have long been part of the collective unconscious of the West. Even people who have never experienced a phobia in any of its forms know that human beings are capable of developing an irrational fear of almost anything that can be perceived or imagined: clowns, spiders, concrete colors, etc. But … wouldn’t it be more appropriate to speak of types of phobias than of “phobias” as if they were a single unit?

This is precisely what makes phobias such an interesting subject: there are so many because elements exist in our habitat and our cultures. In other words, they are practically infiniteAnd it is always surprising how much there can be people who at some point in their life develop an excruciating fear of things, ideas or living things that can hardly be described as dangerous. For example, in this article you have some examples of weird phobias.

What types of phobias are there?

Tanta variety, it is difficult to ‘mind map’ phobias and know which are the most common. In fact, it is impossible to have access to a fully exhaustive and detailed classification of phobias, as the variety of these is most likely endless, and therefore there is no point in trying to create an exhaustive classification with all types of phobias. phobias: there will always be rest assured that will come out of the patterns. Anything or any thought is likely to generate irrational fear under certain circumstances.

However, they can be traced general classifications of types of phobias. They may not be perfect or completely exhaustive, but at least they are useful and give a rough idea of ​​how these irrational fears are typically expressed. Thus, a classification of the phobia classes that includes the most common could be the one we offer below.

1. Specific phobias

The types of phobias belonging to the category of specific phobias have in common that what generates fear is a concrete situation, object or being. In other words, something that can be easily identified and separated from the rest. In addition, the DSM IV manual distinguishes five subtypes of specific phobias: those related to blood and injections, phobias triggered by animals, those related to natural environments, situational phobias and the “other specific phobias” category.

Some examples of rare disorders that can be encompassed in this type of phobia are PHONOPHOBIA, or fear of loud sounds, crystallophobia or fear of glasses, or cardiophobia, or fear of strokes such as heart attacks. However, in the following lines, we will focus on the most common and well-known phobias.

1.1. Animal phobia or zoophobia

Here come all these phobias related to living things with a worse image, such as spiders or snakesBut technically any of these types of phobias can fall into that category. The triggering stimulus is any animal, be it a hummingbird, a raccoon, a crab, or one of the possibilities offered by evolution.

Three specific types of phobias in this category that deserve honorable mention for the most common ones that result are idiophobia, arachnophobia and cynophobia, snake phobia, spider phobia and dog phobia, respectively. It can be helpful in some cases to have some respect for these animals for their ability to hurt us, but of course the spiders and dogs being numerous enough to scare them too much can be very counterproductive.

Other examples of animal phobia are found in anxiety disorders such as musophobia, or fear of mice, as well as in school hypophobia or schiphobia.

1.2. Blood phobia or hematophobia

One of the great classics and which, according to some studies, seems to be one of the most common types of phobias. however, blood phobia has a peculiarity that distinguishes it from others: it often leads to fainting. You can find out more about this subject in the article dedicated to this phenomenon.

1.3. Phobias of the natural environment

1.3.1. Acrophobia or fear of heights

The fact that we are more or less above the place that we perceive as the “ground” or the base of the place where we have climbed has an obvious relation to the danger to which we are exposed. The higher the height, the greater the risk of dying in the event of a fall. However, sometimes fear of heights can be so severe and disabling that it can be considered a type of phobia related to the natural environment. This is especially relevant considering that in cities sudden changes in height are common, especially in buildings.

1.3.2. Astrafobia or fear of storms

Storms are often associated with a lot of things that can be quite frightening., And when in addition they are united by a traumatic component linked to past experiences, the existence of astrafobia is not at all strange. It is a type of phobia that can cause special problems, as the sound of storms pierces walls and makes it difficult to calm down.

1.3.3. Pluviophobia, for rain

One of the strangest types of phobias, as in this case the phobic stimulus is the rain itself, something that hardly presents any real risk beyond flooding. However, it is believed that being a relatively common weather phenomenon in many parts of the world, it can be associated with unpleasant or traumatic events with relative ease.

1.4. Situation phobias

1.4.1. Aerophobia or fear of flying in an airplane

Aircraft phobia is probably the most common situational phobia. Not only is there a component of fear of dying if the surrounding machinery breaks down, but also being in a small space with many strangers crowded together makes the stress difficult to reduce.

1.4.2. Claustrophobia, fear of closed spaces

Narrow places or with walls very close to each other generate a feeling of anxiety in many people, but they can also cause panic in some. Claustrophobia is one of the most well-known types of phobia due to the severity of the fear of this type of space in societies where much of life takes place inside buildings and enclosures.

1.4.3. Amaxophobia or fear of driving

The irrational fear of driving this is one of the nasty surprises that many people find when it is their turn to take their first car lessons (the other surprise is the estimate of the money they will spend on them).

But amaxophobia is especially dangerous among all types of phobias, as it prevents safe driving and endangers one’s own life and the lives of others. In fact, in the category of specific phobias, this is one of the most common reasons for consulting in psychotherapy practices. You can read more about amaxophobia in this article.

2. Social phobia

A different type of phobia category than what we’ve seen so far is that refers to social interaction. Social phobias can be very diverse, appear only in some contexts and not others, and be based on different reasons, such as fear of aggression that may be triggered or fear of marginalization.

One of the common symptoms in people with social phobia is erythrophobia, which is the fear of turning red. On the other hand, it is one of the types of phobias in which catastrophic thoughts are more frequent, because it appears as the anticipation of situations which are very compromised or which involve a significant wear and tear of his public image: hesitation to speak, falls, inability to look in the eye … the anticipation of this raises the level of anxiety, so there is the phenomenon known as self-fulfilling prophecy.

Social phobia can be very disabling because it limits the person’s choices considerably when it comes to making friends, asking for help, negotiating, looking for work, etc.

You can delve into the causes, symptoms, and treatments for social phobia by reading this article.

Bibliographical references:

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