Little Known Phobias -- What Makes Your Skin Crawl?

Updated: Mar 4

Phobias are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Approximately 12.5% of adults in the U.S. will deal with a specific phobia in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH). Women are more likely to experience phobias than men. Typical symptoms of phobias can include rapid heartbeat, nausea, trembling, feelings of unreality, and being preoccupied with the fear object.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) identifies three different categories of phobias: social phobias, agoraphobia, and specific phobias.2 When people talk about having a phobia of a specific object such as snakes, spiders, or needles, they are referring to a specific phobia.

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. People with phobias will experience intense anxiety, which is sometimes debilitating.

Most specific phobias fall into one of four major categories:

  • Fears of the natural environment

  • Fears related to animals

  • Fear related to medical treatments or issues

  • Fears related to specific situations

This list of phobias offers a glimpse into the lesser-known phobias that can have a serious impact on a person’s life.

  1. Anthophobia — Fear of Flowers —

Anthophobia is the fear of flowers. Those suffering from this anxiety already know that there is no real harm, but they cannot control their symptoms of fear. They may be scared of a specific type of flower or any flower, a specific part of the flower or the whole flower.

2. Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter — 

Arachibutyrophobia is actually not the fear of peanut butter as an object, but the situation of having it stick to the roof of your mouth. It is often rooted in a more generalized phobia of choking (pseudodysphagia) or of sticky textures, but it may also occur alone.

3. Bananaphobia — Fear of Bananas Phobia

Bananaphobia is a phobia related to the fear of bananas. This phobia causes the sufferer to be afraid of eating, seeing and touching bananas. This phobia can be debilitating due to the frequent presence of bananas in modern cuisine.

4. Chronophobia — Fear of the Passing Time

The time comes from the Greek word, chronos and phobia mean phobia. Therefore, Chronophobia is the fear of time but not only time but also the future. This type of phobia is characterized by an irrational and consistent fear of time and its passing.

5. Cucurbitophobia — Fear of Pumpkins Phobia

Cucurbitophobia is a rare type of phobia and it is due to an excessive and abnormal fear of gourd-like plants especially pumpkins. The name Cucurbitophobia was derived from the Latin word ‘Cucurbita’ — the group name for domesticated plants in the pumpkin family while ‘Phobia’ refers to an irrational or obsessive fear of something.

6. Erytophobia — A Fear of the Color Red

Erytophobia is a phobia related to the fear of the color red. This phobia causes the person to feel intense anxiety and discomfort around anything colored red. This phobia can often cause disruptions in someone’s everyday life due to unforeseen objects or encounters with the color red.

7. Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia: Fear of long words

This phobia is highly personalized. Some people are afraid of long, multisyllabic words, while others have a fear of obscure words. Some fear even moderate-length common words.

8. Koumpounophobia: Fear of buttons

Koumpounophobia is the fear of buttons, a relatively rare condition. Like any phobia, the specific fear may vary dramatically between sufferers. Some people are afraid of the texture of certain buttons. Others feel that buttons are somehow dirty. Some only fear touching or wearing buttons, while others are scared of viewing buttons worn by strangers or friends.

9. Katsaridaphobia — Fear of Cockroaches

Katsaridaphobia is an irrational or persistent fear of cockroaches that can be quite debilitating. The sufferer may be scared of the anatomy of cockroaches, the thought that they can spread diseases or the fact that they consume rotten substances. Sufferers are even more terrified of cockroaches when they fly.

10. Ombrophobia or Pluviophobia — Fear of Rain Phobia

Ombrophobia or Pluviophobia is a phobia related to the fear of rain. This phobia presents itself as an intense fear of seeing, hearing or being caught in the rain. People with this phobia often experience difficulties in everyday life, such as being unable to leave the house if it is raining.

You are not alone if you suffer from phobias. Seek medical or mental health help, if needed. 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, cognitive behavior therapy, exposure therapy, medication and relaxation techniques.

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