9 Weird Phobias That Can Devastate Everyday Life
A phobia is a persistent, irrational, and extreme fear of something. Since most phobias are very specific, like a fear of heights or spiders, many sufferers can live a reasonably normal life as long as they avoid their source of fear. However, people also develop phobias to things that we need to encounter on a daily basis.
Here are nine phobias that can, not only significantly impact the sufferer’s quality of life, but very often will disrupt their daily lives as well.
Ergophobia is the extreme and irrational fear of work and everything associated with the workplace. Believed to be a kind of social phobia, people with ergophobia feel incredibly anxious about the workplace and finding employment. They could be scared of failing to do assigned tasks, speaking up in a group, socializing with colleagues, or public speaking in a group.
Neophobia, as the name suggests, is the extreme fear of change or anything new; it could be new situations, new items, foods, habits, schedules. Most of us have a natural skepticism for anything we haven’t seen or experienced before. That skepticism is crucial to our survival in case that new thing turns out to be dangerous. But people with neophobia are irrationally fearful of things that are clearly known and accepted to be harmless or even beneficial. Imagine being scared of getting a new phone even if your old phone is unusable, or feeling panicked when something forces your daily routine to change.
Philophobia is the extreme fear of falling in love. It’s relationship baggage in the extreme because this phobia is closely linked to having past traumatic romantic relationships like divorce or a bad breakup. This fear can also be a result of watching their parents’ marriage fall apart. In most cases, philophobia is limited to romantic relationships but rarely can also include family and friends. Needless to say, people with philophobia often feel isolated, alone, and may have poor mental health as a result.
Did You Know?
Most phobias are formed during early childhood. It’s uncommon for a phobia to develop after the age of 30.
Ablutophobia is the fear of bathing or washing. It is more situation-specific and is more common in women and children. People can develop this phobia after experiencing trauma associated with water. Trauma could be caused by anything from accidents involving water, or even abusive parents who have used washing up or bathing as a form of punishment. People with ablutophobia may only fear the act of showering or can avoid all types of washing up completely.
Committing to a decision can be an anxiety-inducing thing for many of us, but people with decidophobia experience this anxiety in a much higher degree and may feel extreme levels of fear when faced with even the most trivial decisions. People with decidophobia usually go to considerable lengths to avoid making decisions and will put themselves in situations where they can depend on others to make all the decisions.
An individual can develop decidophobia after a traumatic event related to a decision they made in the past that led to devastating consequences. Seeing someone else suffer from the adverse effects of a wrong decision can also trigger the phobia.
Genophobia is an extreme and irrational fear of sexual intercourse. Genophobics can be fearful of the act of penetration itself or anything associated with sexual contact. There are usually two types of genophobia: people who develop the phobia because of a past traumatic sexual experience where they were victimized, and people with extreme performance anxiety. The latter may feel anxious or fearful because they lack experience or may have experienced an event that made them doubt their sexual ability.
Many of us get nervous when we need to present or make a speech in front of a large crowd, but we can usually push through the nervousness to get the job done. But people with glossophobia experience such an extreme and overwhelming fear response that public speaking becomes impossible. They may fear being embarrassed in front of a large group of people or may have severe performance anxiety.
Did You Know?
Phobias are the most common mental disorder in the United States, affecting about 10% of the US population. The disorder is also more commonly seen in women than men.
A fairly new phobia, first identified in 2008, nomophobia is the extreme fear of being without a mobile phone or device. People can develop this phobia if they have an addiction to technology, but it can also develop from experiencing a traumatic event that came about because the individual was left without their mobile device. People are more predisposed to nomophobia if they are bored, lonely, or socially insecure.
As extreme as this phobia may sound, it is bizarrely common. According to a UK survey, 66% of people were found to suffer from nomophobia in varying degrees. Nomophobia occurs more commonly in the younger generations and in females. According to the survey, 77 percent of 18-24-year-olds have nomophobia, followed by 68 percent of 25-34-year-olds.
Haphephobia is the extreme fear of physical touch. People with haphephobia may feel panicked or even experience pain when touched. Some may fear physical contact with one gender only, but others can fear being touched by anyone regardless of gender or relationship.
Exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are the two most common and effective treatments used by psychotherapists to treat phobias.
Exposure Therapy: Exposure therapy focuses on forcing your mind to adapt to the object or situation that’s triggering your fear response through gradual, repeated exposure. For example, if an individual has arachnophobia (fear of spiders), the psychotherapist may begin with photos of spiders, to being in the same room as a live spider, and then gradually progressing to touching the spider.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT involves the use of exposure therapy combined with cognitive techniques that teach the individual how to view and deal with the feared object or situation. CBT focuses on learning to master and become more confident with your feelings and thoughts instead of becoming overwhelmed by them.
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