Skip to main content

You are in the: Overcoming Fear article section               

What are the most common types of phobias?

Before going through the most common types of phobias, it's useful to get an idea of the different categories that phobias fall under.

Phobias have been divided into three major types by the American Psychiatric Association. These are specific phobia, social phobia, and agoraphobia.

  1. Specific Phobia: This is an irrational fear of a specific object or situation. It can be irrational fear of specific animals, medical related irrational fears, natural environment or objects, or situations.

  2. Social Phobia: This is a persistent and strong fear of being embarrassed or humiliated in public. If not treated, this can be very debilitating for the person who has this phobia.

  3. Agoraphobia: The third major type of phobia is agoraphobia or the fear of being in a situation where help is not available or it may be difficult or embarrassing to escape when panic attack would occur.

Can you tell me more about these areas?

This may narrow down the specific way you are feeling, however you’ll need to do more research to find out about your particular phobia.

The list of phobias is endless and can consist of just about anything usual or unusual that a person could fear. However, here are the 8 most common types of phobias:

  1. Arachnophobia. The most common animal phobia. The person fears seeing spiders, spider webs, signs that a spider is present nearby, and even pictures of spiders. Approximately 50% of females and 10% of males have this fear.

  2. Aerophobia. This is the fear of flying which often develops after almost experiencing a plane crash, losing a loved one in a plane crash, seeing incidents of plane crash on TV, or watching movies involving a deadly air accident.

  3. Claustrophobia. Also known as fear of enclosed spaces, this can be mild to severe. Fear is often triggered when undergoing an MRI procedure, entering an elevator, and in severe cases can develop from simply closing a door.

  4. Acrophobia. This is the fear of all heights in general, unlike aerophobia which is only the fear of flying. You feel dizzy or disoriented when looking down from great heights.

  5. Nyctophobia. Fear of the dark, is a very common yet transient fear developed by children. However, when it persists longer than six months and the person becomes extremely anxious when in the dark, it may develop into a permanent phobia.

  6. Nosophobia. This is an irrational fear of developing a particular disease. It is somewhat related to a disorder known as hypochondriasis where the person has a persistent fear of having a disease which is not specified. Both persons find themselves frequently visiting a doctor’s office or completely avoid it for fear of hearing bad news.

  7. Astraphobia. Also known as the fear of lightning and thunder. This type of phobia is also very common in children. Adults and children who have this fear, often secure themselves in windowless areas in order not to see the storm.

  8. Necrophobia. This is the abnormal fear of the dying or seeing dead things. Some fear anything that can be linked to death like funerals or coffins.