15 Weird Phobias You Have Not Heard Of
We all love the pitter-patter sound that the rain makes. For some, it may trigger a bout of ombrophobia – a fear of rain. Strange but true. Scroll down to read about some weird and unknown phobias
By Ashwin Dewan • 11 min read
“When you explore you fears then you set yourself free,” Stephen Richards, mind power author.
In today's day and age when social distancing is the new norm, you may be forgiven for having developed a fear of shaking hands. However, if this fear starts bordering on the extreme to the point where you start sweating at the mere sight of a hand, it could be a phobia. To be precise, you may be suffering from Chirophobia – the fear of hands. Strange but true.
What is a phobia?
The Cambridge Dictionary describes phobia as an extreme fear or dislike of a particular thing or situation, especially one that is not reasonable. People with phobias realize that their fear may irrational but they are unable to do anything about it.
Phobias are many and varied. While some phobias are known by many, there are other phobias that range from the weird to the unknown to the shocking. Read on to know some of them.
Weird phobias (fears) that everyone should know about
1. Eisoptrophobia: Fear of mirrors
One of the first acts that people do in the morning and throughout the day is look into the mirror so they can freshen up, groom themselves, brush their hair, sort their dress, etc. Imagine being unable to do all these. Eisotrophobia is the fear of mirrors or seeing one’s own reflection in the mirror. This phobia causes shame, distress in people whenever they look into a mirror.
2. Nomophobia: Fear of being without a smartphone
Of all the phobias listed in this article, this is one phobia that may well apply to today’s generation for whom their smartphone has become a part of their daily lives.
Nomophobia (shortened from no mobile phone phobia) is the fear of being without a smartphone. It involves a deep-rooted fear of not having your phone to the extent that it starts to affect daily life. According to an article titled Nomophobia: The Modern-Day Pathology by Nicola Davis published in Psychiatry Advisor, she quotes Professor Gail Kinman of the University of Bedfordshire as, “Nomophobia can drive individuals to become preoccupied with their phone and turn to it if they are depressed, anxious, and lonely.”
3. Hippopotomonstro: Fear of long words
If you love reading and are the person who enjoys playing with words, this phobia may be your worst enemy. Especially when the words are too long. This phobia is usually coined in the context of patients with dyslexia who may struggle with long words. It is also sometimes known as sesquippedaliophobia.
4. Ombrophobia: Fear of rain
We all love the sound of falling rain, look forward to monsoon after the hot and humid summer months. For people who suffer from ombrophobia, rain may have quite the opposite effect. Yes, they fear rain. Such people may have feelings of panic and anxiety before and during rain.
The term ombrophobia originates from the Greek word Ombros, which means storm of rain. Generally, young children are known to suffer from this phobia more than adults.
5. Athazagoraphobia: Fear of forgetting or being forgotten
As human beings, we all worry about others forgetting us, of being reduced to an insignificant memory. A rarely-discussed phobia, Athazagoraphobia is when you or someone close to you suffers from anxiety or memory loss, or even the fear of developing Alzhiemer’s disease.
Caring for someone with Alzhiemer’s with the constant worry and fear that the person may forget you may, in some cases, lead to Athazagoraphobia.
6. Phonophobia: Fear of sound
The sense of sound is one of the most active and treasured senses for most human beings. We live in a world where every second presents to us sounds of every kind imaginable – the rustling of trees, the honking of cars, the crying of babies, the chirping of birds, the barking of dogs, the speech of humans, etc. A person suffering from Phonophobia will not be able to enjoy these and other sounds. On the contrary, he or she will be terrified of sounds. In most cases, this phobia is related to an incident involving sound such as the loud sound of crackers, the bursting of a balloon, etc..
7. Alektorophobia: Fear of chickens
Now, this is one phobia that no chicken lover would want to ever start suffering from. Alektorophobia is the fear of chickens or hens. The word comes from the Greek words ‘alektor’ that means rooster and ‘phobos’ that means fear. For a person suffering from Alektorophobia, it is not only seeing the chickens in real, but the mere image of a chicken can trigger a panic attack.
It is to be noted that most people who suffer from this phobia are never born with the fear but start to develop the phobia due to certain experiences.
8. Globophobia: Fear of balloons
No birthday party or a fun-filled event is complete without a stash of balloons in varied colours and sizes. However, for people suffering from globophobia, it may be difficult with balloons around. Often, the root cause of globophobia is due to an incident that involves exploding balloons resulting in a deep-rooted fear of balloons.
9. Coibophobia: Fear of food
Food is essential for human beings to live. Ever so often, you are eating some food item or the other. Now, imagine a scenario where you develop a fear of food. Sounds unbelievable? Well, there is a phobia called Coibophobia, which is the fear of food.
While this phobia can sound ridiculous at first, in most cases, the fear develops in people who experience painful stomach or muscle spasms after eating or swallowing food.
10. Ergophobia: Fear of work
Who said work is easy? Certainly not for people suffering from ergophobia – the fear of work. Such people often feel intense stress and anxiety surrounding their work environment. This impairs their ability to work or function properly and, in many cases, this can result in panic attacks.
11. Thallasophobia: Fear of open, deep water
Who does not love to splash water and enjoy a swim in cool, blue waters? Almost everyone, except those who suffer from Thallasophobia which is the fear of open, deep water. This fear involves thoughts of creatures lurking in the deep waters and also the fear of the unknown.
12. Zoophobia: Fear of all animals
Not a single day goes by without humans encountering animals. Dogs, cats, cows and goats in your neighbourhood to more exotic ones in the zoo, humans and animals live in peaceful co-existence. However, not so for those suffering from Zoophobia. This fear can even cause some people to stay at home for fear of encountering animals.
13. Pentheraphobia: Fear of Mothers-in-Law
No, we are not kidding. Such a fear does exist. Pentheraphobia is when a person develops a deep fear of his or her mother-in-law. In most cases, this fear erupts after experiencing some sort of traumatic event. No prizes for guessing that the event involves the mother-in-law.
14. Chloephobia: Fear of the papers
Newspapers are an essential part of daily life. They keep us updated with the latest news and happenings. This apart, the crosswords are a favourite part of many people. But some people cannot even come near one.
People suffering from Chloephobia or the fear of newspapers feel stress, anxiety at the sight of one. Even the smell of newspapers can prove distressing for some.
15. Decidophobia: Fear of making decisions
As the name suggests, this phobia makes the person suffering from it unable to decide on anything – from what to eat, where to go, and even whether they should get married or not.
These people don’t trust themselves enough or suffer from lack of confidence to even make basic decisions for themselves. They rely on others to make decisions.
There are different types of phobia that people suffer from. Each of the above-mentioned phobias are unique in their entirety. While some phobias are less stressful, there are others that may affect the mental and physical health of the person suffering from a particular phobia. However, they are treatable in most cases.
About the author: Dealing with your preschoolers phobias
Written by Ashwin Dewan on 26 June 2020.
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