Let's face it: everyone is scared of something (or a whole lot of things) even if some people don't want to admit it. There are a lot of common phobias like the fear of heights or spiders or of small spaces. However, there are many phobias that people have that you would never even consider being afraid of yourself, but for some people, these fears are debilitating. Here are 15 unbelievable but yet all too real phobias.
Most of us loved the relaxing feeling of a bubble bath or a hot shower, but a person with ablutophobia would consider that to be a nightmare. Ablutophobia is an intense fear of bathing, cleaning, or washing. Interestingly, this phobia is most common in women and in children. For a person with this phobia, intense panic and fear will set in when they even think of bathing or washing, and just being around a body of water can set it off. One treatment option for ablutophobia is meeting with the psychologist and doing cognitive behavioral therapy.
Ergophobia is the fear of work or being in the workplace environment. You're probably thinking that we all have this phobia to a certain extent, but people who suffer greatly from it often can't even function in certain work environments because of the fear that takes over them. Psychologist believe that ergophobia is likely a combination of different fears like social anxiety and a fear of failure, and can manifest in a work environment. Psychologists have also found that people who are afraid of authority figures or who were bullied in school are more likely to be ergophobes.
Nomophobia is a new phobia that sounds ridiculous, but researchers believe up to 50% of people in the UK have it. So, what is it? Short for no-mobile-phone phobia, nomophobia is the fear of not having cellular service. Because of how common this phobia is, many psychologists regard it as a normal fear or anxiety, rather than a phobia. Certainly, most of us can relate to the feeling of having a dead phone or one without service. It's an uncomfortable feeling to be without cell service when we're so used to having anything we need right at our fingertips, but it also brings up the issue of how dependant we are on our phones.
A career in hairdressing would be nearly impossible for a person with chaetophobia, because it means having a fear of loose or detached hair. In extreme cases, people with this phobia can even be terrified of the hair on their own bodies. Psychologists believe that a traumatic childhood experience like having a really bad haircut or head lice can lead to this phobia. Some people with chaetophobia have to keep their bodies, including their heads, totally shaved at all times to manage their fear. For some, therapy is enough to help them manage their fears, but others require medication as well.
Oikophobia is described as a fear of your home surroundings and appliances like toasters, fridges, and stoves. Many of us take comfort in being in our home surroundings but for people with this phobia, just the opposite is true, and the home can feel more like a prison than anything else. Oikophobia is often misdiagnosed but if it is truly the problem, exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other types of help can enable a person to deal with their fear and become more comfortable in their own home.
Hylophobia is characterized as an intense fear of woods, forests, trees, and other wooden products. Mental health professionals believe this fear comes from a past traumatic experience, such as being beaten with a wooden stick or something similar, in their childhood. Treatment for this phobia involves helping the patient remember what the past traumatic experience was that sparked their fear. If they have difficulty remembering, hypnotherapy or other methods may be used.
You know that stressful feeling that comes with having a really big decision to make? Well, people with decidophobia get that feeling with every decision they have to make and they develop a horrible fear of making decisions. Decidophobes will often give up all decision making power to higher authorities like the church or the government, and will take anything they say as absolute law because of a lack of confidence in their own decisions. For a person with decidophobia, seemingly minuscule decisions like what color shirt to wear or whether or not to bring a jacket with you can cause complete panic attacks. It definitely doesn't sound like a fun way to live your life.
Walking across a shaky and old bridge can be scary for anyone, but for people with gephyrophobia, ANY bridge induces terror and panic in them. This phobia is common enough to warrant some states (like New York and Maryland) needing services that drive gephyrophobes' cars across bridges for them. Gephyrophobes worry about bridges collapsing beneath them, or being trapped on them and this fear manifests itself as quickened breathing, dizziness, and other "panic attack" type symptoms.
A fear of which Miley Cyrus certainly does not suffer is chromophobia. Chromophobia is the fear of bright colors and lights. A person with this phobia can find everyday situations traumatic when they're surrounded by these colors. Interestingly, actor Billy Bob Thorton is reported to have a chromophobia. He also suffers from a phobia of antique furniture, and refuses to stay in any room that has furniture from before 1950. He says: "I get creeped out and I can't breathe and I can't eat around it. I've had friends tell me that maybe I was beaten to death with an antique chair in a former life." That would definitely bring up some challenges while traveling through Europe.
This might seem like the most unbelievable phobia of all, but for some people turophobia is all too real. A turophobe is someone with an intense fear of cheese. Imagine the difficulty you'd have when eating out if the sight or smell of cheese is enough to induce a panic attack. Having a friend with this condition would be good news for cheese lovers though, because think of all the extra cheese you would get! Like most phobias, turophobia is thought to come from some past traumatic experience with cheese, although if you ask me, the only traumatic experience with cheese is running out of it.
Often times, going to bed or having a nap is the best part of the day for many of us. But for somniphobes falling asleep can be a terrifying experience. Somniphobia an intense fear of falling asleep. It is thought that sleep is feared because of its relation to dying, or to losing time while you're sleeping. People with control issues or who suffer from recurrent nightmares are more likely to suffer from somniphobia than others, and they often require therapy and medication to get them to sleep.
Imagine being terrified of something on your own body, to the point that the sight of it was enough to leave you in a cold sweat? For many omphalophobes, that's what their own belly button can do to them. A fear of bellybuttons usually applies to all belly buttons, and it can be so extreme that omphalophobes can become physically ill when they see one. Some mental health experts believe that a fear of belly buttons stems from its relationship to their mother's womb and their umbilical cord.
Pogonophobia is the fear of beards, and this particular phobia is said to have been around since the 1850s. Beards are pretty hard to avoid in today's world because they're all the rage for men right now, and a lot of people have jumped on board the "lumber sexual" train. Thousands of people are said to suffer from an irrational fear of beards (mostly women) and interestingly enough, there hasn't been a U.S. president with a beard since the 1800s. To many, beards signify ruggedness, and for a politician, rugged may not be the desired look.
Money is usually embraced, rather than feared, but chrometophobes have such an intense fear of money that handling it or doing any kind of transaction can be debilitating. Some believe the fear originates from knowledge of all of the germs that are on money, while others develop it from past traumatic experiences, such as seeing their parents fight over money. Generally, the less money you have, the more likely you are to fear it. Because of how necessary currency is to function in the world, this phobia can be especially problematic.
Remember the dread that would come over you as a child when your parents said you HAD to eat your vegetables? For some, this dread only grows as they age, and turns into a full fledged phobia of vegetables called lachanophobia. Like most phobias, lachanophobia also often relates to a traumatic childhood experience such as choking on a specific vegetable. Lachanophobes are instructed to seek talk therapy that will gradually desensitize them to being around and eating vegetables. Understandably, this phobia will get in the way of many normal activities like going out to eat, so it should be dealt with promptly.