Fear in a dangerous situation is normal. Phobias, however, go beyond normal fear and are irrational. The fear could be an animal, object, place or situation. Many times the source of the fear poses no actual threat or danger, but the person is overwhelmed by fear nonetheless. 

People with specific phobias will do everything they can to avoid what is causing their fear, even when doing so greatly interferes with their daily lives. When faced with their phobia, they will experience intense anxiety, which is sometimes debilitating.

This article presents the 12 most common types of phobias as well as a list of all the phobias (that are currently recognized) that people may experience. Keep in mind that if a person meets the diagnostic criteria for a specific phobia, they are living with a mental health condition that likely requires treatment.

What Is a Phobia?

phobia is an irrational fear associated with a certain stimulus like elevators, needles or animals. A specific phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, and it causes people to feel a sense of fear that is out of proportion to the actual danger that the source of the phobia presents. For instance, riding in a plane can be dangerous in rare instances, like in a plane crash, but most people accept that a crash is unlikely and flying is generally safe. Someone with a specific phobia of flying will view the act of getting into a plane as being a life-threatening danger. 

There is not one single cause of anxiety disorders like phobias, but experts believe they are caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors. For instance, children who have a family history of anxiety disorders and a stressful living environment in early childhood are at increased risk of specific phobias. People who develop a specific phobia will show certain symptoms, such as having intense anxiety upon coming face-to-face with the source of a phobia and going out of their way to avoid it.

A-Z List of Phobias

The following is a complete, alphabetical list of phobias from A to Z:

Phobias A-D

A

  • Ablutophobia – Fear of bathing, cleaning or washing
  • Acarophobia – Fear of itching or tiny insects that cause itching
  • Acerophobia – Fear of sourness
  • Achluophobia – Fear of darkness
  • Acousticophobia – Fear of noise
  • Acrophobia – Fear of heights
  • Aerophobia – Fear of flying, drafts or fresh air
  • Algophobia – Fear of pain
  • Agoraphobia – Fear of crowds of people and open spaces
  • Agrizoophobia – Fear of wild animals
  • Agyrophobia – Fear of crossing roads
  • Aichmophobia – Fear of pointed objects, like needles
  • Ailurophobia – Fear of cats
  • Albuminurophobia – Fear of kidney disease
  • Alektorophobia – Fear of chickens
  • Alliumphobia – Fear of garlic
  • Allodoxaphobia – Fear of opinions
  • Amathophobia – Fear of dust
  • Amaxophobia – Fear of being in a car
  • Ambulophobia – Fear of walking
  • Amychophobia – Fear of being scratched
  • Anablephobia – Fear of looking up
  • Androphobia – Fear of men
  • Anemophobia – Fear of wind or drafts
  • Anglophobia – Fear of England or Britain
  • Anginophobia – Fear of choking
  • Anthrophobia – Fear of flowers
  • Antlophobia – Fear of floods
  • Anuptaphobia – Fear of staying single
  • Apeirophobia – Fear of  infinity
  • Anthropophobia – Fear of people or society
  • Aphenphosmphobia – Fear of intimacy
  • Apiphobia – Fear of bees or bee stings
  • Arachibutyrophobia – Fear of peanut butter getting stuck to the roof of the mouth
  • Aquaphobia – Fear of water
  • Arachnophobia – Fear of spiders
  • Arithmophobia – Fear of numbers
  • Asthenophobia – Fear of fainting
  • Astraphobia – Fear of thunder and lightning
  • Astrophobia – Fear of celestial space
  • Ataxiophobia – Fear of ataxia, which is muscular incoordination
  • Ataxophobia – Fear of disorder or untidiness
  • Atelophobia – Fear of imperfection
  • Athazagoraphobia – Fear of being forgotten or ignored
  • Atychiphobia – Fear of failure
  • Aulophobia – Fear of flutes
  • Aurophobia – Fear of gold
  • Auroraphobia – Fear of an Aurora, sometimes called northern lights
  • Automatonophobia – Fear of ventriloquist dummies or wax statues
  • Automysophobia – Fear of being dirty
  • Autophobia – Fear of being alone
  • Aviophobia – Fear of flying

B

  • Bacteriophobia – Fear of bacteria
  • Ballistophobia – Fear of missiles or bullets
  • Barophobia – Fear of gravity
  • Basophobia – Fear of falling
  • Bathmophobia – Fear of steep inclines, slopes and stairs
  • Bathophobia – Fear of depths
  • Batrachophobia – Fear of amphibians
  • Belonephobia – Fear of pins and needles
  • Bibliophobia – Fear of books or reading aloud
  • Bogyphobia – Fear of the bogeyman
  • Botanophobia – Fear of plants
  • Bovinophobia – Fear of cows or cattle
  • Bromidrosiphobia – Fear of body smells
  • Bufonophobia – Fear of toads

C

  • Cacophobia – Fear of ugliness
  • Cainophobia – Fear of newness or novelty
  • Caligynephobia – Fear of beautiful women
  • Carcinophobia – Feat of developing cancer
  • Cardiophobia – Fear of getting heart disease
  • Carnophobia – Fear of meat
  • Catagelophobia – Fear of being ridiculed
  • Catapedaphobia – Fear of jumping
  • Cathisophobia – Fear of sitting
  • Catoptrophobia – Fear of mirrors or the undead
  • Ceraunophobia – Fear of thunder and lightning
  • Cetaphobia – Fear of whales
  • Chaetophobia – Fear of hair
  • Chemophobia – Fear of chemicals or chemistry
  • Cherophobia – Fear of happiness
  • Chionophobia – Fear of snow
  • Chiraptophobia – Fear of being touched
  • Chirophobia – Fear of hands
  • Chiroptophobia – Fear of bats
  • Cholerophobia – Fear of anger, or being afraid of cholera
  • Chorophobia – Fear of dancing
  • Chrometophobia – Fear of money
  • Chromophobia – Fear of colors
  • Chronomentrophobia – Fear of clocks
  • Cibophobia – Fear of food
  • Chloephobia – Fear of newspapers
  • Chronophobia – Fear of Time
  • Claustrophobia – Fear of confined spaces
  • Cleisiophobia – Fear of being locked in a space that is enclosed
  • Climacophobia – Fear of climbing, especially stairs
  • Clinophobia – Fear of beds or going to bed
  • Coimetrophobia – Fear of cemeteries
  • Contreltophobia – Fear of sexual abuse
  • Coprastasophobia – Fear of constipation
  • Coprophobia – Fear of feces or defecation
  • Coulrophobia – Fear of clowns
  • Cremnophobia – Fear of steep cliffs
  • Cryophobia – Fear of extreme cold
  • Crystallophobia – Fear of crystals or glass
  • Cyberphobia – Fear of computers
  • Cyclophobia – Fear of bicycles
  • Cynophobia – Fear of dogs

D

  • Decidophobia – Fear of making decisions
  • Defecaloesiophobia – Fear of painful bowel movements
  • Deipnophobia – Fear of dining with others
  • Dementophobia – Fear of going insane
  • Demonophobia – Fear of demons
  • Dendrophobia – Fear of trees
  • Dentophobia – Fear of dentists
  • Dermatophobia – Fear of skin lesions or skin disease
  • Dextrophobia – Fear of having objects to your right
  • Didaskaleinophobia – Fear of going to school
  • Dikephobia – Fear of justice
  • Dinophobia – Fear of dizziness
  • Diplophobia – Fear of double vision
  • Dipsophobia – Fear of drinking alcohol
  • Dishabiliophobia – Fear of undressing in front of another person
  • Domatophobia – Fear of houses
  • Doraphobia – Fear of animal fur or skins
  • Dromophobia – Fear of crossing streets or wandering
  • Dysmorphophobia – Fear of deformity
  • Dystychiphobia – Fear of accidents
Phobias E-K

E

  • Ebulliophobia – Fear of bubbles
  • Ecclesiophobia – Fear of church
  • Ecophobia – Fear of one’s home
  • Eisoptrophobia – Fear of mirrors or seeing oneself in a mirror
  • Electrophobia – Fear of electricity
  • Eleutherophobia – Fear of freedom
  • Emetophobia – Fear of vomiting
  • Enetophobia – Fear of pins
  • Enochlophobia – Fear of crowds
  • Enosiophobia – Fear of criticism or committing an unpardonable sin
  • Entomophobia – Fear of insects
  • Eosophobia – Fear of dawn or daylight
  • Ephebiphobia – Fear of adolescents or youth
  • Epistaxiophobia – Fear of nosebleeds
  • Epistemophobia – Fear of knowledge
  • Equinophobia – Fear of horses
  • Eremophobia – Fear of being oneself
  • Ereuthrophobia – Fear of blushing
  • Ergophobia – Fear of work
  • Erotophobia – Fear of sex or sexual intimacy
  • Euphobia – Fear of hearing good news
  • Eurotophobia – fear of female genitalia

F

  • Febriphobia – Fear of fever
  • Francophobia – Fear of France or French people
  • Frigophobia – Fear of becoming too cold

G

  • Gamophobia – Fear of marriage
  • Geliophobia – Fear of laughter
  • Geniophobia – Fear of chins
  • Genuphobia – Fear of knees
  • Gerascophobia – Fear of growing old
  • Globophobia – Fear of balloons
  • Glossophobia – Fear of public speaking
  • Gymnophobia – Fear of nudity
  • Gynophobia – Fear of women

H

  • Hadephobia – Fear of hell
  • Hagiophobia – Fear of holy people, places and things, like saints
  • Harpaxophobia – Fear of being robbed
  • Hedonophobia – Fear of feeling pleasure
  • Heliophobia – Fear of the sun
  • Hemophobia – Fear of blood
  • Herpetophobia – Fear of reptiles
  • Heterophobia – Fear of heterosexuals
  • Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – Fear of long words
  • Hodophobia – Fear of travel
  • Homichlophobia – Fear of fog or humidity
  • Homilophobia – Fear of sermons
  • Homophobia – Fear of homosexuality
  • Hoplophobia – Fear of firearms
  • Hydrophobia – Fear of water
  • Hylophobia – Fear of forests
  • Hypegiaphobia – Fear of responsibility
  • Hypochondria – Fear of illness

I

  • Iatrophobia – Fear of doctors
  • Ichthyophobia – Fear of fish
  • Ideophobia – Fear of new ideas or thoughts
  • Illyngophobia – Fear of vertigo
  • Insectophobia – Fear of insects
  • Iophobia – Fear of poison
  • Isolophobia – Fear of isolation
  • Ithyphallophobia – Fear of an erection

J

  • Japanophobia – Fear of Japanese people
  • Judeophobia – Fear of Jews

K

  • Kainolophobia – Fear of novelty
  • Kakorrhaphiophobia – Fear of failure
  • Katagelophobia – Fear of ridicule
  • Kathisophobia – Fear of sitting down
  • Kenophobia – Fear of empty spaces
  • Kinemortophobia – Fear of zombies
  • Kinetophobia – Fear of motion
  • Kleptophobia – Fear of theft
  • Koinoniphobia – Fear of rooms that are full of people
  • Kopophobia – Fear of fatigue
  • Koniophobia – Fear of dust
Phobias L-N

L

  • Lachanophobia – Fear of vegetables
  • Leprophobia – Fear of leprosy
  • Leukophobia – Fear of the color white
  • Ligyrophobia – Fear of loud noises
  • Lilapsophobia – Fear of tornadoes and hurricanes
  • Limnophobia – Fear of lakes
  • Linonophobia – Fear of string
  • Liticaphobia – Fear of lawsuits
  • Lockiophobia – Fear of childbirth
  • Logophobia – Fear of words
  • Luiphobia – Fear of syphilis
  • Lutraphobia – Fear of otters
  • Lygophobia – Fear of darkness

M

  • Mageirocophobia – Fear of cooking
  • Malaxophobia – Fear of love play
  • Mastigophobia – Fear of punishment
  • Mechanophobia – Fear of machines
  • Megalophobia – Fear of large things
  • Melanophobia – Fear of the color black
  • Melophobia – Fear of music
  • Menophobia – Fear of menstruation
  • Merinthophobia – Fear of being tied up
  • Metathesiophobia – Fear of changes
  • Methyphobia – Fear of drinking alcohol
  • Metrophobia – Fear of poetry
  • Microphobia – Fear of small things
  • Mnemophobia – Fear of memories
  • Motorphobia – Fear of automobiles
  • Musophobia – Fear of mice
  • Mycophobia – Fear of mushrooms
  • Myrmecophobia – Fear of ants
  • Mysophobia – Fear of dirt and germs
  • Myxophobia – Fear of slime

N

  • Necrophobia – Fear of death, dying and dead things
  • Neopharmaphobia – Fear of new drugs
  • Neophobia – Fear of anything new
  • Nephophobia – Fear of clouds
  • Noctiphobia – Fear of the night
  • Nomatophobia – Fear of names
  • Nomophobia – Fear of losing or being without your mobile phone
  • Nosocomephobia – Fear of hospitals
  • Nostophobia – Fear of returning home
  • Novercaphobia – Fear of stepmothers
  • Numerophobia – Fear of numbers
  • Nyctophobia – Fear of the dark
Phobias O-R

O

  • Obesophobia – Fear of gaining weight
  • Ochophobia – Fear of vehicles
  • Octophobia – Fear of the number 8
  • Odontophobia – Fear of dental surgery
  • Odynophobia – Fear of pain
  • Oenophobia – Fear of wines
  • Oikophobia – Fear of home
  • Olfactophobia – Fear of odors
  • Ombrophobia – Fear of rain
  • Ommetaphobia – Fear of eyes or eye care
  • Omphalophobia – Fear of belly buttons
  • Onomatophobia – Fear of certain words or names
  • Ophidiophobia – Fear of snakes
  • Ophthalmophobia – Fear of being stared at
  • Opiophobia – Fear of opioids
  • Optophobia – Fear of opening one’s eyes
  • Ornithophobia – Fear of birds
  • Osphresiophobia – Fear of smells
  • Ostraconophobia – Fear of shellfish
  • Ouranophobia – Fear of heaven

P

  • Pagophobia – Fear of ice or frost
  • Panophobia – Fear of an unknown evil
  • Papaphobia – Fear of the Pope
  • Papyrophobia – Fear of paper
  • Parasitophobia – Fear of parasites
  • Pathophobia – Fear of disease
  • Peccatophobia – Fear of sinning
  • Pediophobia – Fear of dolls
  • Pedophobia – Fear of children
  • Pentheraphobia – Fear of your mother-in-law
  • Phalacrophobia – Fear of going bald
  • Pharmacophobia – Fear of medicines
  • Phasmophobia – Fear of ghosts
  • Philemaphobia – Fear of kissing
  • Philophobia – Fear of love
  • Phobophobia – Fear of phobias
  • Phonophobia – Fear of loud noises
  • Photophobia – Fear of light
  • Phthisiophobia – Fear of tuberculosis
  • Placophobia – Fear of tombstones
  • Plutophobia – Fear of money or wealth
  • Podophobia – Fear of feet
  • Pogonophobia – Fear of beards
  • Poinephobia – Fear of punishment
  • Porphyrophobia – Fear of the color purple
  • Proctophobia – Fear of rectums
  • Pteridophobia – Fear of ferns
  • Pteromerhanophobia – Fear of flying
  • Pupaphobia – Fear of puppets
  • Pyrophobia – Fear of fire

Q

  • Quadraphobia – Fearing the number four
  • Quintaphobia – Fearing the number five
  • Quadriplegiaphobia – Fearing becoming a quadriplegic or being afraid of quadriplegics

R

  • Radiophobia – Fear of radiation, X rays
  • Ranidaphobia – Fear of frogs
  • Rhabdophobia – Fear of being beaten or punishment
  • Rhypophobia – Fear of defecation
  • Rhytiphobia – Fear of getting wrinkles
  • Rupophobia – Fear of dirt
  • Russophobia – Fear of Russians
Phobias S-Z

S

  • Samhainophobia – Fear of Halloween
  • Sarmassophobia – Fear of love play
  • Satanophobia – Fear of Satan
  • Scabiophobia – Fear of scabies
  • Scelerophobia – Fear of bad men, burglars
  • Sciophobia – Fear of shadows
  • Scoleciphobia – Fear of worms
  • Scolionophobia – Fear of school
  • Scotomaphobia – Fear of  blindness
  • Scriptophobia – Fear of writing in public
  • Selenophobia – Fear of the moon
  • Seplophobia – Fear of decaying matter
  • Sesquipedalophobia – Fear of long words
  • Siderodromophobia – Fear of trains
  • Siderophobia – Fear of stars
  • Sinistrophobia – Fear of left-handedness
  • Spectrophobia – Fear of mirrors or the undead
  • Spheksophobia – Fear of wasps
  • Social Phobia – Fear of social evaluation
  • Somniphobia – Fear of sleep
  • Staurophobia – Fear of the crucifix
  • Stenophobia – Fear of narrow places
  • Symbolophobia – Fear of symbolism
  • Symmetrophobia – Fear of symmetry
  • Syngenesophobia – Fear of relatives
  • Syphilophobia – Fear of syphilis

T

  • Tachophobia – Fear of speed
  • Taphephobia – Fear of being buried alive
  • Tapinophobia – Fear of being contagious
  • Taurophobia – Fear of bulls
  • Technophobia – Fear of technology
  • Teleophobia – Fear of definite plans
  • Testophobia – Fear of taking tests
  • Thalassophobia – Fear of the sea
  • Thanatophobia – Fear of death or dying
  • Theatrophobia – Fear of theaters
  • Thermophobia – Fear of heat
  • Tocophobia – Fear of childbirth
  • Tonitrophobia – Fear of thunder
  • Toxiphobia – Fear of poison
  • Traumatophobia – Fear of injury
  • Tremophobia – Fear of trembling
  • Trichopathophobia – Fear of hair disease
  • Trichophobia – Fear of loose hair
  • Triskaidekaphobia – Fear of the number 13
  • Trypanophobia – Fear of needles or injections
  • Turophobia – Fear of cheese

U

  • Uranophobia – Fear of heaven
  • Urophobia – Fear of urine or urinating

V

  • Vaccinophobia – Fear of vaccinations
  • Venustraphobia – Fear of beautiful women
  • Verbophobia – Fear of words
  • Verminophobia – Fear of germs
  • Vestiphobia – Fear of clothing
  • Virginitiphobia – Fear of rape
  • Vitricophobia – Fear of stepfathers

W

  • Walloonophobia – Fear of the Walloons, an ethnic group native to Belgium
  • Wiccaphobia – Fear of witches and witchcraft

X

  • Xenophobia – Fear of strangers or foreigners
  • Xanthophobia – Fear of the color yellow
  • Xenophobia – Fear of strangers
  • Xerophobia – Fear of dryness
  • Xylophobia – Fear of forests

Y

  • Ymophobia – Fear of being contrary or contrariety in general

Z

  • Zelophobia – Fear of jealousy
  • Zemmiphobia – Fear of the great mole rat
  • Zeusophobia – Fear of God or gods
  • Zoophobia – Fear of animals

The 12 Most Common Phobias

It is estimated that 9.1% of people in the United States have a specific type of phobia. Many times, the intensity of the phobia will vary greatly from person to person, but all forms of phobias can be treated. Most phobias can be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, which encourages different ways of thinking in response to the fear, oftentimes incorporating exposure to the fear itself.

The following are some of the most common phobias prevalent among people in the United States:

  1. Arachnophobia (Fear of spiders)
  2. Ophidiophobia (Fear of snakes)
  3. Acrophobia (Fear of heights)
  4. Aerophobia (Fear of flying)
  5. Cynophobia (Fear of dogs)
  6. Astraphobia (Fear of thunder and lightning)
  7. Trypanophobia (Fear of injections)
  8. Social Phobia (Social anxiety disorder)
  9. Agoraphobia (Fear of a situation where escape may be difficult)
  10. Mysophobia (Fear of germs)
  11. Claustrophobia (Fear of small spaces)
  12. Glossophobia (Fear of public speaking)

1. Arachnophobia (Fear of spiders)

Affects: 30.5% of the U.S. population

Arachnophobia is a fear of spiders that goes beyond the desire to kill one when you see it in your home. People with arachnophobia will become extremely anxious at the sight of a spider, usually jumping, screaming, or freezing in place. These reactions can sometimes be evoked by a mere picture of a spider. 

People with arachnophobia will avoid places where spiders might be found at all costs. This often means not participating in outdoor activities, such as camping or hiking. They will refuse to come in close proximity to spiders, especially getting close enough to kill or remove them from their home. They will often require help from another person in order to do so.

This phobia is thought to develop from an innate fear of spiders that are venomous, which would result in negative effects, or death if bitten.

2. Ophidiophobia (Fear of snakes)

Affects: 22% of the U.S. population

Ophidiophobia is a fear of snakes. This can sometimes be confused with herpetophobia, which is a fear of reptiles in general, but people with ophidiophobia are specifically afraid of snakes.  They will be startled at the sight of a snake, oftentimes jumping, screaming, or crying.

Similar to arachnophobia, people with ophidiophobia will avoid places where snakes may be found and avoid participating in outdoor activities such as camping or hiking. Unlike arachnophobia, the fear is less likely to be induced simply by looking at a picture of a snake.

Like arachnophobia, this phobia is thought to be an innate fear of being bitten by a venomous snake. It can also be derived from a traumatic experience with a snake, such as being startled by, hissed at, or even bitten by one.

3. Acrophobia (Fear of heights)

Affects: 2-5% of the U.S. population

Acrophobia is a fear of heights. People with acrophobia will commonly have symptoms of spinning, also known as vertigo, in response to situations where they perceive they are high off the ground. In response to heights, they may also freeze in place and are unable to move from the spot.

In most cases, the feeling of anxiety is relieved when the person returns to ground level. People with acrophobia will often avoid situations involving heights. The severity of this phobia can vary greatly. In some people, the fear will be onset from standing at the top of a tall building, while in others it can be induced by scaling a ladder. 

This phobia stems from the person losing confidence in their ability to stay balanced or fearing that they will fall. People with acrophobia tend to overestimate vertical distances, meaning that at certain heights, they perceive themselves as being higher off the ground than they really are.

4. Aerophobia (Fear of flying)

Affects: 6.5% of the U.S. population

Aerophobia is a fear of flying. People with aerophobia become extremely anxious when flying.  For some, it is brought on by simply entering a plane or even the thought of entering a plane, whereas others experience the phobia when there is turbulence during a flight.

People with aerophobia will avoid flying if they can. If it is absolutely necessary, some may endure it with great anguish, while others will simply choose not to go anywhere that would require them to fly to get there. People with aerophobia may become anxious and dreadful in the days leading up to a trip, to the point where it could interfere with their work or social life.

This phobia tends to stem from the fear that the airplane will crash. It can also be a combination of other phobias that culminate in the environment of an airplane, such as a fear of a confined space, heights, no escape or an outbreak of illness.

5. Cynophobia (Fear of dogs)

Affects: 13% of the U.S. population

Cynophobia is a fear of dogs. People with cynophobia will commonly freeze at the sight of a dog and have intense symptoms of anxiety.

People with cynophobia may avoid situations where they may encounter a dog, which can be difficult given their abundance as pets in society. They may find it difficult to interact with others who have dogs, including friends or family members. They may even avoid becoming friends with a dog owner.  

This phobia usually arises from a negative experience with dogs, many times as a child. The person may have had an interaction with an aggressive dog at some point, or they may have witnessed a family member being bitten or chased by a dog. The fear can also develop indirectly, by observing a family member that has cynophobia.

6. Astraphobia (Fear of thunder and lightning)

Affects: 10% of the U.S. population

Astraphobia is the fear of lightning and thunder. People with astraphobia will experience extreme symptoms of anxiety during storms, which many times will be amplified if the person is alone.

People with astraphobia will likely be constantly up-to-date on the weather and will avoid leaving home if a storm is expected. During a storm, they will often find a safe place to hide, where the noise will be diminished. This fear can also be experienced by animals, such as dogs and cats.

The fear of thunder and lightning is thought to come from a traumatic experience related to a storm involving thunder or lightning.

7. Trypanophobia (Fear of injections)

Affects: 10% of the U.S. population

Trypanophobia is a fear of injections. It is also known as a fear of needles. People with trypanophobia will experience extreme anxiety in response to procedures requiring a needlestick, such as getting a shot or getting their blood drawn. The response can often occur at the site of a needle before the procedure is performed. They will often become very dizzy or even faint in response to the needlestick. 

People with trypanophobia may avoid medical care due to their fear. In some cases, the symptoms of trypanophobia can also be induced by observing others undergoing injections.

The anxiety may also be linked to a fear of hospitals, doctors, and/or medical procedures in general, which tend to involve needles. It can also be the result of a traumatic experience with a prior procedure involving an injection.

8. Social Phobia (Social anxiety disorder)

Affects: 7.1% of the U.S. population

Social phobia, also known as social anxiety disorder, is a fear of social situations, usually involving people the person doesn’t know very well. Most people associate social phobia with being shy or introverted, but it is much more than that. 

People with social anxiety are extremely afraid of social interactions, to the point that It is frequently debilitating and interferes with their life. People with social phobia will avoid social situations, sometimes refusing to leave their house.

It is usually brought on by a fear of judgment by others or feeling exceedingly self-conscious when out in public. They are afraid of being embarrassed or humiliating themselves in front of others.

9. Agoraphobia (Fear of a situation where escape may be difficult)

Affects: 0.9% of the U.S. population

Agoraphobia is defined in many different ways, but in general, is known as a fear of a situation where escape may be difficult or where help will not be able to reach them in the case of an emergency. Other definitions include the fear of leaving home alone, fear of crowds, or fear of having a panic attack in public. People with agoraphobia tend to think of places outside of their home as unsafe.

People with agoraphobia usually experience flashes of severe fear, resembling a panic attack. They may avoid situations such as traveling on public transportation, visiting the mall, standing in crowded rooms, where exits may be limited, or even being in spaces that are wide open, where they may be too exposed. Their symptoms can sometimes be relieved if accompanied by another person.

This phobia may stem from a traumatic experience, such as a loved one being severely injured or dying in a traumatic situation. It can also be a fear of being a victim of a crime or an act of terrorism, exposure to illness, or being in an accident.

10. Mysophobia (Fear of germs)

Affects: 13.2% of the U.S. population

Mysophobia is a fear of germs. A person with mysophobia might also be called a “germaphobe”. They may also be afraid of dirt or getting dirty, where germs might be present.

People with mysophobia may obsessively wash their hands or use hand sanitizer. They may avoid public spaces where high levels of germs may be present, such as public restrooms. They tend to be extremely clean and disinfect everything in their homes. They typically avoid touching other people. In extreme cases, they may also avoid leaving their home altogether. 

This phobia can arise from the fear of contracting an illness upon exposure to germs. It may be related to hypochondria, which is a condition wherein a person is overly anxious about their health. While it is also thought to be related to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), people with OCD tend to be more obsessed with the act of washing their hands rather than the exposure to germs.

11. Claustrophobia (Fear of small spaces)

Affects: 5% of the U.S. population

Claustrophobia is a fear of small spaces. Space can vary from a confined area, like a closet or elevator, to being trapped in a crowded room, where others are invading one’s personal space.

When feeling trapped, they will experience extreme sensations of anxiety, similar to a panic attack, which will likely subside when they remove themselves from the space or situation. People with claustrophobia will avoid putting themselves in these situations whenever possible.

This phobia may stem from a traumatic event as a child, such as being trapped in a small space for some period of time. People with claustrophobia also tend to consider their personal space as farther from their body than people without claustrophobia. In other words, their personal space is more easily interfered with compared to other people’s.

Related Topic: Treatment for claustrophobia 

12. Glossophobia (Fear of public speaking)

Affects: 26.2% of the U.S. population

Glossophobia is a fear of public speaking. This can be seen as a variant of social anxiety disorder but is more specific in that people with glossophobia are afraid of talking in front of groups of people. This fear can vary widely, from becoming very nervous when standing in front of a crowd to being unable to speak at all. 

People with glossophobia will evade public speaking whenever possible, usually avoiding occupations that require public speaking. As with social phobia, this may stem from the fear of being embarrassed in front of others.

Major Phobia Categories

There are several categories of phobias that people may be affected by, including phobias related to the natural environment, animals, situations and medical treatment. Each category has a unique set of specific phobias that are related. People with these types of phobias may experience more than one of the phobias within a group.

The phobias that fall into these categories are among the most common types of phobias. There are other phobias that do not fall into these categories, and these are listed in alphabetical order on this page.

1. Natural Environment

Natural environment phobias involve fears of natural events, places in nature or situations that naturally occur.

The following are examples of natural environment phobias:

  • Achluophobia – Fear of darkness
  • Acrophobia – Fear of heights
  • Anemophobia – Fear of wind or drafts
  • Antlophobia – Fear of floods
  • Astraphobia – Fear of thunder and lightning
  • Hydrophobia – Fear of water
  • Hylophobia – Fear of forests
  • Lilapsophobia – Fear of tornadoes and hurricanes
  • Pagophobia – Fear of ice or frost
  • Thalassophobia – Fear of the sea

2. Animals

Animal phobias are the fear of specific animals or the fear of animals in general, which is termed zoophobia. Animal phobias are the most common types of specific phobias.

A list of animal phobias includes:

  • Agrizoophobia – Fear of wild animals
  • Ailurophobia – Fear of cats
  • Alektorophobia – Fear of chickens
  • Apiphobia – Fear of bees
  • Arachnophobia – Fear of spiders
  • Bovinophobia – Fear of cows or cattle
  • Bufonophobia – Fear of toads
  • Cetaphobia – Fear of whales
  • Chiroptophobia – Fear of bats
  • Cynophobia – Fear of dogs
  • Entomophobia – Fear of insects
  • Equinophobia – Fear of horses
  • Herpetophobia – Fear of reptiles
  • Ichthyophobia – Fear of fish
  • Musophobia – Fear of mice
  • Myrmecophobia – Fear of ants
  • Ophidiophobia – Fear of snakes
  • Ranidaphobia – Fear of frogs
  • Scoleciphobia – Fear of worms
  • Spheksophobia – Fear of wasps
  • Taurophobia – Fear of bulls

3. Situations

Situational phobias are the fear of specific situations. People with these phobias will avoid the situation at all cost, which can majorly interfere with their life.

Examples of situational phobias are found in the following list:

  • Aerophobia – Fear of flying
  • Agoraphobia – Fear of crowds and open spaces
  • Amaxophobia – Fear of being in an automobile
  • Autophobia – Fear of being alone
  • Claustrophobia – Fear of confined spaces
  • Hodophobia – Fear of travel

4. Medical Treatment

Medical phobias include fears of medical treatments, illnesses that require medical treatment or the people administering medical treatment. 

Some examples of medical treatment phobias include:

  • Aichmophobia – Fear of pointed objects like needles
  • Hemophobia – Fear of blood
  • Hypochondria – Fear of illness
  • Trypanophobia – Fear of needles or injections
  • Iatrophobia – Fear of doctors
  • Odontophobia – Fear of dental surgery
  • Pathophobia – Fear of disease
  • Pharmacophobia – Fear of medicines

Getting Help for Phobias

When a phobia interferes with a person’s everyday life to the point that it is debilitating, they may seek out professional help for phobias.

There are a number of different treatments for phobias, including:

  • Teletherapy: Teletherapy services connect patients with a licensed mental health professional from wherever they are. Instead of traveling to an office to receive treatment, teletherapy is completed from home using a webcam and other technology. 
  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): CBT is commonly used to treat anxiety disorders, including phobias. With CBT, you can learn to reframe anxiety-provoking thoughts and change the way that you behave in response to the source of a phobia. 
  • Exposure therapy: In exposure therapy, you will work alongside a therapist to confront the source of your phobia, so you learn to become less anxious around it. You may begin small by imagining the source of the phobia, processing your thoughts and then moving on to viewing pictures or videos of the phobia source. Finally, you work toward actually exposing yourself to the source of the phobia in person.
  • Medications: Research suggests that some patients with specific phobias benefit from taking SSRI drugs, commonly used to treat depression, in order to alleviate symptoms of a specific phobia. These medications can be especially helpful if the specific phobia is in regards to a certain situation, like flying or public speaking. Medication may not be the best course of treatment for everyone, as phobia symptoms may return upon stopping the medication. 
  • Relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises and physical activity, can teach people with phobias to cope with their symptoms and remain calmer when faced with the source of their phobia. 

To cope with their phobias, some people may turn to drug or alcohol use. If you are affected by a phobia and a drug or alcohol addiction, don’t hesitate to contact The Recovery Village. We have comprehensive treatment plans, including online counseling and therapy, that can help you gain control of your thoughts and actions.

Learn how to find relief from phobias with the Nobu app. It is free and for anyone looking to reduce anxiety, work through depression, build self-esteem, get aftercare following treatment, attend teletherapy sessions and so much more. Download the Nobu app today!

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Editor – Abby Doty
Abby Doty graduated from Hamline University in 2021 with a Bachelor's in English and Psychology. She has written and edited creative and literary work as well as academic pieces focused primarily on psychology and mental health. Read more
Jenni Jacobsen
Medically Reviewed By – Jenni Jacobsen, LSW
Jenni Jacobsen is a licensed social worker through the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker and Marriage and Family Therapist Board. She has seven years of experience working in the social work field, working with clients with addiction-related and mental health diagnoses. Read more
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Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.