Heights, spiders, open spaces, enclosed spaces and a lot more. The world of phobias is terrifying, to say the least, and we all are paralyzed with fear by something one way or another.

Described simply as the irrational fear or aversion to something, phobias have become the subject of many psychiatric books and studies. From what triggers the fear to the phobia’s overall effect on the human brain and body, it can definitely shake you up.

More often than not, phobias are caused by a traumatic experience in our past. Your fear of heights might have been started by that one trip to the Grand Canyon, or that fear of spiders you now have may have been triggered back in your high school science class by an experiment that went terribly wrong.

13. Triskaidekaphobia, the Fear of the Number “13”

To the superstitious, the number 13 is an unlucky number that invokes misfortune, bad luck, and generally anything that may happen to you that is associated with or by using the number.

However, Triskaidekaphobes take this to great lengths because of their fear of the number itself and what it represents. Closely associated with the fear of Friday the 13th, people with this full-fledged phobia take great care in avoiding anything related to or even using the number 13.

12. Xanthophobia, the Fear of the Color Yellow

School buses, post-its, sunflowers, and many other things in this waking world that are in shades of yellow will cause severe anxiety in anyone who has xanthophobia – or, maybe, anyone who’s a Green Lantern.

This phobia is basically the fear of this color that exists everywhere in nature. In severe cases, people suffering from xanthophobia may even have a strong aversion to the sun or the word “Yellow” itself.

11. Hylophobia, the Fear of Trees

Hylophobes typically develop this condition during childhood when they are exposed to movies with scary forests or if they, themselves, have lived near ominous looking woodlands.

Hylohobia, though generally described as the fear of trees, is also the irrational fear of anything that is wood.  Many sufferers of this condition do not really outgrow the phobia and carry the burden with them for the rest of their lives.

These people’s anxieties can be radically heightened with a simple walk in scenic areas; in some even more extreme cases, thinking about wood or trees can immediately push their panic buttons.

10. Ergophobia, the Fear of Work

You can look at this phobia at an angle where it serves as a kind of convenience to not work. However, Ergophobia is a condition that some people do have because of several contributing factors like fear of failing an assigned task or the anxiety of being in a room filled with strangers according to psychologists.

Also, ergophobes not only fear doing work but some of them also fear to be in a workplace due to social anxiety.

9. Philophobia, the Fear of Falling in Love

While the idea of being in love and falling in love is something that many of us are relentlessly after, it is not the case for people with Philophobia.

Whether it’s the fear of making a serious commitment to a relationship or just the feeling of falling in love with someone, Philophobes are more than likely to be petrified even by just the prospect of emotional attachment to another person.

The cause of this fear may have stemmed from an experience that inoculated the person to the idea of love such as being abandoned by a parent or a partner or the having lost someone significant. Unfortunately for philophobes, many of them end up living a life of solitude.

8. Somniphobia, the Fear of Falling Asleep

Otherwise known as Hypnophobia, this fear is mainly due to a person being terrified of a nightmare in his or her sleep or the fact that he or she loses control while dozing off.

This fear is more prevalent in children and people who are known to have night terrors. Simply thinking about having to sleep at the end of the day jolts their senses awake or, in extreme cases, they fight the body’s natural urge to sleep.

7. Turophobia, the Fear of Cheese

Having to associate cheese with a traumatic experience may seem far-fetched, but turophobia is real in many individuals.

From mozzarella to basic cheddar, turophobes practically avoid the dairy product altogether even if it’s just a single slice of cheese. For some turophobes, it is a specific type of cheese that triggers their anxiety, but to others, it’s every kind of cheese known to man.

6. Ablutophobia, the Fear of Bathing

Not to be confused with Hydrophobia, or the fear of water, Ablutophobia is a specific kind of fear that is triggered by bathing or washing.

The fear is more prevalent in babies since water and bathing is an entirely new experience for them, but it, later on, dissipates as they grow older and get used to the routine.

5. Anatidaephobia, the Fear of Being Watched by a Duck

It’s one of the most unusual and certainly the most ridiculous sounding, but Anatidaephobia is quite real for people suffering from it.

It’s a kind of anxiety triggered by paranoia that, wherever they go or whatever they are doing, they are being watched by a duck. Yes, you heard that right. A duck. Some people fear spiders, bats, or birds in general – but this phobia is specific to web-footed mallards.

4. Trypophobia, the Fear of Holes

Trypophobes are people who fear objects with small holes. Most of the time, these are objects with holes that are clustered together such as honeycombs and certain kinds of fruit and plant.

Although it is not yet considered by experts as an “official phobia,” there are thousands of people that are reported to suffer from it.

According to research, trypophobes associate these holes as a sign of danger although more study is being conducted on the cause of their aversion.

Symptoms of trypophobia range from nausea to itchy skin – associating what they see as some kind of disease that they may be infected with or actually fearing that their skin may begin to have clusters of tiny holes on it – to full blown panic attacks at the very sight of an object such as, say, a sponge.

3. Omphalophobia, the Fear of Navels

Belly buttons. We all have them. So it should follow that we are used to seeing them on an almost daily basis without having to cringe.

Unfortunately, to those suffering a unique phobia called omphalophobia, belly buttons are the stuff of nightmares.

In mild cases, omphalophobes are afraid of having their belly buttons touched or touching another person’s belly button. It’s not because they are grossed out by it but because of an irrational fear that, it is said, is linked with the navel’s association with the umbilical cord and the mother’s womb.

However, in rather extreme cases, omphalophobes can be repulsed by just seeing or thinking about the navel, even their own.

2. Nomophobia, the Fear of Being Without a Mobile Phone or Mobile Phone Coverage

This is fairly new and arose at the time when almost 85% of our daily lives revolve around that little hunk of metal and plastic in our pockets — the mobile phone.

The phobia was coined about five years ago when researchers discovered an interesting phenomenon in individuals during a survey. The survey showed that more than half of the participants – in the UK – suffer from distress when they experience any mobile or smartphone related “crises” like losing signal, running dangerously low on battery, or just losing sight or misplacing the device itself even for a few, short seconds.

Literally, if you would spell the term out, it is “No Mobile [Phone] Phobia.” It sounds like a child would come up with it, but it is a phenomenon increasing in many mobile phone users.

1. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, the Fear of Long Words

The irony is not lost on this one as the phobia itself is a terror to behold even to those not suffering this condition.

Simply put, Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia, is the irrational and unnatural fear of lengthy words. Whether it causes extreme discomfort to a person like fingernails on a chalkboard or utter terror is yet to be known because there are no known recorded cases of people suffering from it… yet.

SOURCES:

  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/10289366/13-of-the-most-unusual-phobias.html
  2. http://list25.com/the-25-strangest-phobias-you-could-have/
  3. http://www.indiatimes.com/lifestyle/self/21-weird-phobias-you-wont-believe-exist-230875.html