10 Most Common Phobias

The 10 most common phobias and which Hypnotherapy can help change:

Although many phobic responses are detailed below, Georgina has found that, although the phobic feelings have been linked to a specific object, in the outcome it often emerges that it is FEAR itself which is the problem, not the object! The object is often just something to which the fear has become attached. Hypnotherapy helps to identify the fear and thus remove the object of the fear as a catalyst for the symptoms of fear. You will not be asked to confront your fear or the object of it – you will find that your fear just disappears!

For a full list of Phobias in Alphabetical order click here
For a full list of descriptive Fears click here
Return to Fears/Phobias Page

The 10 most common phobias that Hypnotherapy and/or NLP can change:

  1. Arachnophobia
  2. Sociaphobia
  3. Aviophobia
  4. Agoraphobia
  5. Claustrophobia
  6. Acrophobia
  7. Emetophobia
  8. Carcinophobia
  9. Brontophobia
  10. Necrophobia

Get rid of all your fears and phobias now by clicking here
10 Most common phobias that Hypnotherapy and/or NLP can help change :

1. Arachnophobia ¦return to top¦
Arachnophobia is a specific phobia, an abnormal fear of spiders. It is estimated half of all women, and a quarter of all men in the UK have this phobia and is among the most common of phobias.

The reactions of arachnophobics often seem irrational to others (and sometimes to the sufferers themselves). People with arachnophobia tend to feel uneasy in any area they believe could harbour spiders or that has visible signs of their presence, such as webs. If they see a spider they may not enter the general vicinity until they have overcome the panic attack that is often associated with their phobia. They may feel humiliated if such episodes happen in the presence of peers or family members.

The fear of spiders can be treated by use of Hypnotherapy and NLP techniques suggested for specific phobias.

Arachnophobia is, in many cases, the result of a traumatizing encounter with spiders in one’s early childhood, though the experience may not be remembered. An evolutionary reason for the phobias, such as arachnophobia, claustrophobia, fear of snakes or mice, etc. remains unresolved. One view, especially held in evolutionary psychology, is that sufferers might gain some survival edge, by avoiding the dangers. Spiders, for instance, being relatively small, don’t fit the usual criteria for a threat in the animal kingdom where size is a key factor, but many species are venomous, and some are lethal. Arachnophobes will spare no effort to make sure that their whereabouts are spider-free, hence reducing sharply the risk of being bitten.

The alternative view is that the dangers, such as from spiders, are overrated and not sufficient to influence evolution. Instead, inheriting phobias would have restrictive and debilitating effects upon survival, rather than being an aid. For example, there are no deadly spiders native to central and northern Europe that could exert an evolutionary pressure, yet that is where the strongest fear for spiders began, suggesting cultural learning. In contrast, many non-European cultures generally do not fear spiders, and for some communities such as in Papua New Guinea and South America, spiders are included in traditional foods.

2. Sociaphobia ¦return to top¦

Fear of being evaluated/judged negatively in social situations.
Social anxiety.

Social anxiety is an experience of fear, apprehension or worry regarding social situations and being evaluated by others. People vary in how often they experience anxiety in this way or in which kinds of situations. Anxiety about public speaking, performance, or interviews is common.

Social anxiety disorder also referred to clinically as social phobia, is a psychiatric anxiety disorder involving overwhelming anxiety and excessive self-consciousness in everyday social situations. People experiencing social anxiety often have a persistent, intense, and chronic fear of being watched and judged by others and being embarrassed or humiliated by their own actions. Often the triggering social stimulus is a perceived or actual scrutiny by others.

Their fear may be so severe that it significantly impairs their work, school, social life, and other activities. While many people experiencing social anxiety recognize that their fear of being around people may be excessive or unreasonable, they encounter considerable difficulty overcoming it. This differs from shyness, in that the person is functionally debilitated and avoids such anxiety provoking situations by all means. At the same time, a person with social anxiety may only feel the fear of the disorder during certain situations. For example, an actor or singer may feel fine on stage, but afraid of social situations in everyday life.

Social anxiety is often part of only a certain situation—such as a fear of speaking in formal or informal situations, or eating, or writing in front of others—or, in its most severe form, may be so broad that a person experiences symptoms almost anytime they are around other people. Many people have the specific fear of public speaking, called glossophobia. In this case, the fear is not actually of public speaking, but a fear of doing or saying something which may cause embarrassment.

Approximately 13.3% of the general population will experience social phobia at some point in their lifetime; with the male to female ratio being 1.4:1.0, respectively.

Physical symptoms often accompany social anxiety, and include blushing, profuse sweating, trembling, nausea, and stammering. Panic attacks may also occur under intense fear and discomfort. An early diagnosis helps in minimizing the symptoms and preventing other mental illnesses such as depression. Some sufferers also use alcohol or drugs to reduce fears and inhibitions at social events, which in itself can lead to further problems.

A person with the disorder may be treated with Hypnotherapy and/or NLP very successfully.

Attention given to social anxiety disorder has significantly increased since 1999 with the approval of drugs for its treatment. Marketing campaigns by pharmaceutical companies may be largely responsible for driving this.

3. Aviophobia ¦return to top¦
Fear of flying.

Fear of flying is a fear of air travel. It is also known as aviatophobia or aviophobia. Commercial flight has become an important, even essential, part of modern life; yet flying continues to cause a significant proportion of the public to feel anxiety. Fear of flying seems to contradict the facts; for example, driving in an automobile is statistically many times more dangerous.
The fear of flying may be created by various factors:
a fear of closed in spaces (claustrophobia), such as that of an aircraft cabin

  • a fear of heights (acrophobia)
  • a feeling of not being in control (since a passenger is not piloting the plane and can’t get out at will)
  • previous traumatizing experiences while in flight
  • fear of hijacking or terrorism
  • fear of deep venous thrombosis
  • fear of turbulence
  • fear of having a panic attack

Some people blame the media as a major factor behind fear of flying, claiming the media sensationalizes airline crashes (and the high casualty rate per incident), in comparison to the perceived scant attention given the massive number of isolated automobile crashes.

Some people who are afraid of flying manage their fears well enough that they are able to fly, but they may still spend considerable time and emotional energy thinking about the dangers that may befall them during flight.

A few people are nearly incapable, however, of getting on a plane, and must use cars, trains, buses and ships – all of which are slower and usually less safe than airplanes – to achieve long distance travel.

Like many phobias, fear of flying may “generalize” to cause fear of flight-related situations or stimuli. Many individuals with a strong fear of flying report anxious symptoms or panic attacks when discussing air travel, when seeing airplanes overhead, when visiting airports (even when not embarking on air travel themselves), or when watching television programs or films that depict air travel.

4. Agoraphobia ¦return to top¦
Agoraphobia is a form of anxiety disorder, the abnormal fear of expecting or experiencing a difficult or embarrassing situation from which the sufferer cannot find an escape.
The word is an English adoption of the Greek words agora and phobos. Literally translated in modern Greek as “a fear of the marketplace”.

This translaton is the reason of the common misconception that agoraphobia is a fear of open spaces. This is most often not the case since people suffering from agoraphobia usually are not afraid of the open spaces themselves, but of public spaces or of situations where a person is afraid of having a panic attack and will not be able to receive help.

Another misconception is that agoraphobia is a fear of “crowded spaces” (which would be the social anxiety disorder). Once again, an agoraphobiac does not fear people: he or she rather fears an embarrassing situation with no escape. Some people with agoraphobia are comfortable seeing visitors, but only in a defined space in which they feel able to control. Such people may live for years without leaving their homes, while happily seeing visitors and working, as long as they can stay within their safety zones.

Agoraphobics may experience severe panic attacks in situations where they feel trapped, insecure, out of control, or too far from their personal comfort zone. During severe bouts of anxiety, the agoraphobic is confined not only to their home, but to one or two rooms and they may even become bed-bound until their over-stimulated nervous system can quieten down, and their adrenaline levels can return to a more normal level.

Agoraphobics are often extremely sensitized to their own bodily sensations, subconsciously over-reacting to perfectly normal events. To take one example, the exertion involved in climbing a flight of stairs may be the cause for a full-blown panic attack, because it increases the heartbeat and breathing rate, which the agoraphobic interprets as the start of a panic attack instead of a normal fluctuation.
People with severe agoraphobia develop the ability to avoid situations that may bring on an attack.

The one-year prevalence of agoraphobia is about 5 percent. Agoraphobia occurs about twice as commonly among women than men (Magee et al., 1996). The gender difference may be attributable to social/cultural factors that encourage, or permit, the greater expression of avoidant coping strategies by women, although other explanations are possible.

5.Claustrophobia ¦return to top¦
Claustrophobia is an anxiety disorder that involves the fear of enclosed or confined spaces. Claustrophobes may suffer from panic attacks, or fear of having a panic attack, in situations such as being in elevators, trains or aircraft.

Conversely, people who are prone to having panic attacks will often develop claustrophobia. If a panic attack occurs while they are in a confined space, then the claustrophobe fears not being able to escape the situation. Those suffering from claustrophobia might find it difficult to breathe in closed auditoriums, theatres, and elevators/lifts. Like many other disorders, claustrophobia can sometimes develop due to a traumatic incident in childhood.

Claustrophobia can be dealt with in similar ways to other anxiety disorders, with a range of interventions including cognitive behavior therapy and now with Georgina’s Liberation! Technique.

Popularly, claustrophobia is considered to be the opposite of agoraphobia, or a “fear of open spaces”. This is an oversimplification, however: claustrophobes may also fear being in crowds, and agoraphobia can also be characterized as a “fear of public spaces”, and so a crowded city square might trigger claustrophobics and agoraphobics alike.

It was found that 5-10.6% of people screened before an MRI scan had claustrophobia. Furthermore, it was found that 7% of patients had unidentified claustrophobia, and had to terminate the scanning procedure prematurely. 30% reported milder distress due to the necessity to lie in a confined space for a long time. For specific phobias in general, there is a lifetime prevalence rate of 7.2%-11.3%.

6. Acrophobia ¦return to top¦
Acrophobia (from Greek meaning “summit”) is an extreme or irrational fear of heights. It is a particular case of specific phobias, which share both causes (differing in the source of the phobia) and options for treatment.

Acrophobia can be dangerous, as sufferers can experience a panic attack in a high place and become too agitated to get themselves down safely. Some acrophobics also suffer from urges to throw themselves off high places, despite not being suicidal.
“Vertigo” is often used, incorrectly, to describe the fear of heights, but it is more accurately described as a spinning sensation.

Causes of acrophobia
The most widely accepted explanation is that acrophobia stems from fear — fear of falling and being injured or killed: this is a normal and rational awareness that most people have (people without such awareness would die out). It becomes irrational and out of control when the awareness becomes the focus of attention.

A phobia occurs when fear is taken to an extreme — possibly through conditioning or a traumatic experience. Then, the mind seeks to protect the body from further trauma in the future, and elicits an extreme fear of the situation — in this case, heights.
This extreme fear can be counter-productive in normal everday life though, with some sufferers being afraid to go up a flight of stairs or a ladder, or to stand on a chair, table, (etc.).

Some neurologists question the prevailing wisdom and argue that acrophobia is caused by dysfunction in maintaining balance and that the anxiety is both well founded and secondary. According to the dysfunction model, a normal person uses both vestibular and visual cues appropriately in maintaining balance.

An acrophobic overrelies on visual signals whether because of inadequate vestibular function or incorrect strategy. Locomotion at a high elevation requires more than normal visual processing. The visual cortex becomes overloaded and the person becomes confused. Research is underway at several clinics. Some proponents of the alternate view of acrophobia warn that it may be ill-advised to encourage acrophobics to expose themselves to height without first resolving the vestibular issues.

Notable people with acrophobia:

  • Bill Engvall
  • Rebecca Herbst
  • Mihir Gandhi
  • April Margera

Popular culture

  • Vertigo — a film by Alfred Hitchcock in which detective John “Scottie”/”Johnny Oh” Ferguson (James Stewart) , a police officer, feels vertigo and becomes acrophobic after losing his partner in a high fall
  • Monk – Adrian Monk has a phobia = fear of height.
  • High Anxiety — a spoof by Mel Brooks in which the main character, a leading psychiatrist, is acrophobic, but throughout the film the disorder is medically referred to as “high anxiety”
  • In The Muppet Christmas Carol, Rizzo the Rat claims that he is acrophobic.
  • In Code Lyoko, Ulrich Stern has an extreme case of acrophobia which throughout the episode is incorrectly stated as vertigo.

7. Emetophobia ¦return to top¦
Emetophobia is an excessive or irrational fear of vomiting or of being around others who are vomiting. It is one of the most common specific phobias. In survey research, six percent of the U.S. population claims to fear being sick, although a much smaller number suffer from actual emetophobia, which manifests itself through a variety of phobic behaviour.

It is unknown what exactly causes Emetophobia to develop, but the accepted theory says that Emetophobia can be the result of a traumatic incident of vomiting between the ages of six and ten. Most emetophobics claim they can will themselves to avoid vomiting, and a survey of an Internet group of emetophobics found that the average member had last vomited at least twelve years earlier. On average, it is suggested that most emetophobics have been sick five or fewer times in their lives.

Emetophobics are known to go to great lengths to avoid people who may be sick or where a threat of infection is perceived. Some Emetophobics will avoid being in public places where they fear people may vomit or where they think there may be a higher probability of someone vomiting (such as a bar or a nightclub). Many emetophobics would rather endure prolonged nausea than face the fear of vomiting; in fact, emetophobes can tolerate nausea for more than twenty hours, while the average person would vomit to relieve nausea after an average of twenty minutes.
Emetophobia and Eating.

Nearly all Emetophobics will practice eating habits that may seem strange if noticed by non-Emetophobics, ranging from pickiness to superstitions about foods to anorexia. Such eating habits may include refusing to eat any food that they have touched with their hands (as opposed to cutlery) and eating their food in a specific order. Others may eat in a way they believe will minimize the chance of vomiting or nausea. Emetophobics often follow strict diet regimes that consists of ‘safe foods’ and foods that are known to produce the least likely chance of food poisoning – meat and dairy products for example will often be avoided or abstained from completely. Emetophobics will often avoid foods that they ate on or around the time they last vomited, for fear that eating them again will either bring back disturbing memories, or through a superstitious belief that eating the same food may lead them to vomit again. Additionally, many emetophobes experience gastrointestinal problems such as IBS or lactose intolerance, and pay careful attention to their digestive systems, believing that any discomfort or pressure will lead to gastroenteritis.

Emetophobia and Mental Health
Emetophobes can suffer from pervasive anxiety and/or depression. Emetophobics may also exhibit superstitious behaviour that borders on obsessive-compulsive. Anxiety concerning vomiting, or being in proximity to anyone that might vomit can cause irrational behaviour, and often induce panic attacks. Emetophobia can have a very difficult and stressful influence on everyday life, the very nature of the illness being ever present as the phobic stimulus is internal to the individual.

Most emetophobics fear vomiting themselves, but in some cases, it has been claimed that fear of seeing other people vomit can induce an even greater phobic response than if they were to be sick themselves.

Emetophobic Habits.

  • Avoiding sick people
  • Avoiding overeating
  • Compulsive hand-washing
  • Compulsive expiration
  • Date checking
  • Avoiding long car trips or long means of transportation also has to be close to a bathroom
  • Cannot fall asleep unless hungry.
  • Become very nervous when going to public places (mall, movies, etc.) in fear of seeing someone vomit or vomiting themselves.

8. Carcinophobia ¦return to top¦
Defined as “cancer”, each year this surprisingly common phobia causes countless people needless distress.
To add insult to an already distressing condition, most cancer phobia therapies take months or years and sometimes even require the patient to be exposed repeatedly to their fear. We believe that not only is this totally unnecessary, it will often make the condition worse.
Known by a number of names – Cancerophobia, Carcinophobia, and Fear of Cancer being the most common – the problem often significantly impacts the quality of life.

It can cause panic attacks and keep people apart from loved ones and business associates. Symptoms typically include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and overall feelings of dread, although everyone experiences cancer phobia in their own way and may have different symptoms.

Though a variety of potent drugs are often prescribed for cancer phobia, side effects and/or withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Moreover, drugs do not “cure” cancer phobia or any other phobia. At best they temporarily suppress the symptoms through chemical interaction.

The good news is that the modern, fast, drug-free processes that Georgina uses will train your mind to feel completely different about cancer, helping to eliminate the fear so it never haunts you again.

Consider the true cost of living with Cancer Phobia.
If you are living with cancer phobia, what is the real cost to your health, your career or school, and to your family life? Avoiding the issue indefinitely would mean resigning yourself to living in fear, missing out on priceless life experiences big and small, living a life that is just a shadow of what it will be when the problem is gone.

For anyone earning a living, the financial toll of this phobia is incalculable. Living with fear means you can never concentrate fully and give your best. Lost opportunities. Poor performance or grades. Promotions that pass you by. cancer phobia will likely cost you tens, even hundreds of thousands of pounds over the course of your lifetime, let alone the cost to your health and quality of life.

What is the cause of Cancer Phobia?
Like all fears and phobias, cancer phobia is created by the unconscious mind as a protective mechanism. At some point in your past, there was likely an event linking cancer and emotional trauma. Whilst the original catalyst may have been a real-life scare of some kind, the condition can also be triggered by myriad, benign events like movies, TV, or perhaps seeing someone else experience trauma.

But so long as the negative association is powerful enough, the unconscious mind thinks: “Ahh, this whole thing is very dangerous. How do I keep myself from getting in this kind of situation again? I know, I’ll attach terrible feelings to cancer, that way I’ll steer clear in future and so be safe.” Just like that cancer phobia is born. Attaching emotions to situations is one of the primary ways that humans learn. Sometimes we just get the wiring wrong.

The actual phobia manifests itself in different ways. Some sufferers experience it almost all the time, others just in response to direct stimuli. Everyone has their own unique formula for when and how to feel bad.

9. Brontophobia ¦return to top¦
Fear of thunderstorms.
Astraphobia also known as Brontophobia, Ceraunophobia, or Tonitrophobia is fear of thunder and lightning.

It is especially common in young children.
Symptoms (similar for all other extreme phobias) include panic attack, difficulty in breathing, rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, and nausea. Sometimes these feelings can be overwhelming.
The phobia is extremely common. It can be totally debilitating.

An astraphobic on a BBC message board wrote this about their phobia:
“I hate summer because I have a thunderstorm phobia. I am constantly on edge from May to September and can only start to relax once the cooler weather comes along in autumn. I get worse after each storm and am usually a nervous wreck at the end of summer. I am now obsessed with thunderstorms and am already dreading next summer.”

Many people try to cope with their fear by hiding. Children typically hide in windowless places, such as the cupboard under the stairs, or under the bed. (Anywhere where they can’t see or hear the storm).
Treatment for Astraphobia is similar for that of all other phobias – hypnotherapy, combined with deliberate slow breathing and change of focus.

References in fiction

  • Characters in Videogames and Anime that Have Astraphobia
  • The character Rikku in the videogame Final Fantasy X
  • The character Shion Uzuki in the videogame series Xenosaga
  • The character Haruhi Fujioka in the anime Ouran High School Host Club
  • The character Tails in the anime Sonic OVA

10.Necrophobia ¦return to top¦
Necrophobia or thanatophobia is fear of death or dead things. The former term is derived from Greek nekros for “corpse” and suffix -phob- for “fear”. The latter term is derivied from Thanatos (“death”) is the personification of death.

The usage differs, although in common speech the terms are used interchangeably.
Necrophobia is fear of death in general and things associated with it, e.g., of corpses, mummies, etc.
Thanatophobia does include but is not limited to the fear of personal death or dying.

Part eight of Anna Karenina contains through the character Levin some of Tolstoy’s thoughts of thanatophobia.