These phobias really do exist

A phobia is an intense fear of something, whether that’s an animal, an object or just an act of ‘doing’. They’re characertised by extreme anxiety and distress when someone is confronted with the thing they’re most scared of. 

person looking into the distance with wide eyes

We’ve probably all heard of claustrophobia – the fear of small spaces, and arachnophobia – the fear of spiders. But did you know that there are names given to a fear of just about anything and everything, and some might take you by surprise.

Dental phobia 

The fear of the dentist is actually pretty common and is unlikely to come as much of a surprise for many people. In fact, it’s thought that as many as one in three adults suffer from dental anxiety. It could be down to the sound of the drill, a hypersensitive gag reflex or a fear of needles that might send someone into a state of panic when faced with having to pay a visit to their dentist. 


As beautiful as our planet is, 71% of the Earth is made up of water which is not a great statistic for those living with an extreme fear of the ocean. There are a number of reasons why someone might have intense anxiety around large pools of water, such as not knowing what is beneath them, witnessing or hearing stories of a shark attack, not knowing how to swim, or having a near-drowned experience.

It’s important to note this is not the same as aquaphobia, which is the general fear of water, but rather, this is specific to large, deep bodies of water, like pools, lakes, and oceans. 


Megalophobia is the term given to a fear of large objects, whether that’s a plane, a tall tree, a skyscraper, or even a large animal like an elephant. Though this might sound like an unusual thing to be scared of, the psychology behind why some people experience this fear is actually thought to stem from the feeling of intimidation. 


Ironically, this is the fear of long words! Also called sesquipedalophobia, it’s one of the longest words in the dictionary. Although not an officially recognised phobia, it’s a type of social phobia that can lead some people with the fear of long words to experience embarrassment. People might avoid reading so they don’t come across long words, which can make navigating multiple aspects of life more challenging. 


On the subject of words, aibohphobia is the unofficial fear of palindromes – or words that are spelled the same backward as they are forwards. Rather paradoxically, aibohphobia is a palindrome itself. 


Anatidaephobia is one that you’ve likely never heard of before, and we think it might be one of the strangest ones yet. It’s the name given to the irrational fear that somewhere a duck or goose is watching you. Again, this isn’t an official phobia, but it is very closely related to the fear of all birds, called ornithophobia, which is recognised as a specific phobia. 


Glossophobia is the fear of public speaking. It’s a form of social anxiety that can occur even when speaking to a few people and is thought to affect up to 75% of the population. Symptoms include a dry mouth, weak voice, and shaking body. 


As we head into October, the thought of Halloween might send shivers down the spines of those suffering from coulrophobia, or the fear of clowns. This fear is fairly well-known, with celebrities including Jonny Depp and Daniel Radcliffe reported to have it. It’s thought it might be triggered by childhood trauma, scary movies or learning from parents. 


This is the fear of working or going to work. It’s linked to agoraphobia (the fear of going out to public places) separation and social anxiety. 

It differs from work anxiety which normally leads to burnout in that it can stop people from applying for jobs in the first place, or leave them to be unemployed for long periods of time or constantly stressed in work environments.


Pantophobia is a non-specific fear of everything. Nowadays, the term “pantophobia” is rarely used and it’s not an official diagnosis. Today, it’s more commonly known as generalised anxiety disorder or panic disorder. This is described as being the fear of multiple things. It’s persistent and hard-to-control anxiety triggered by various objects and situations. 

Hypnotherapy for phobias

If you’re struggling with an intense fear or have been diagnosed with a phobia and are unsure of how to manage it, you could consider hypnotherapy. Hypnosis can be an effective tool to change your subconscious thoughts and get to the root cause of your phobia. A hypnotherapist will typically also teach you self-hypnosis, or grounding techniques so that you can learn to control your fears in a calm state.

If you’d like to connect with a hypnotherapist, you can find a qualified professional on Hypnotherapy Directory.

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Written by Emily Whitton
Emily is a Content Creator & Marketing Coordinator at Happiful and a writer for Hypnotherapy Directory.
Written by Emily Whitton
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