Everyone is afraid of something. That is not the same as a phobia. But certain phobias are quite common in the (Dutch) population and who knows, you might also suffer from them. Are you incredibly afraid of spiders? Do you get stuffy in a small elevator or do you break out in a sweat during a thunderstorm? Maybe you have a phobia.
What is a phobia
A phobia is more than just being anxious. A phobia is a psychological condition involving an irrational, pathological fear of a specific thing, thing or situation. The fear is often not entirely justified, such as an enormous fear when seeing a small spider.
The cause is largely unknown, although sometimes there is something to be found in our evolution. For example, in the past, when we lived in the wilderness, it was not uncommon to be afraid of spiders and snakes. These were still realistic fears at the time. Perhaps that is why this is still present.
Top Ten Phobias
Also called spider phobia. People with arachnophobia have a great fear of spiders and arachnids (including ticks and scorpions). This can lead to running away or even panic attacks. In principle, there are of course few dangerous spiders to be found in the Netherlands and the spiders you encounter will not do much to you. It is not without reason that it is a phobia, a fear that is greater than the real threat. Although there are several fears of animals, such as rats and mice, spiders are the greatest and most common. And what exactly can you do about this fear? Unfortunately, by confronting yourself with it. One of the best solutions for phobias and anxiety disorders is exposure to what you are afraid of. As a result, you will discover for yourself that the fear is often unreal and that will reduce it.
2. Social phobia
A mild form of this phobia occurs in many people. Who likes to speak en publique and most people are afraid of being wrongly judged. We all want to be accepted, or at least a large portion of people do. We are social beings for a reason. But for some this goes even further. They really fear social contacts and avoid them as much as possible. There is great insecurity and shyness about everyday social interactions. It can be as simple as doing some shopping or attending a birthday party. Sometimes it can progress into agoraphobia, which we will get to later.
Aerophobia, from aero, is of course about the fear of flying. People who are afraid that their plane will crash, based on, for example, a story they have read or heard. Because plane crashes are of course in the news, it often seems as if the chance is high. Someone with aerophobia may even experience panic attacks or vomit at the mere mention of air travel.
Agoraphobia, better known as agoraphobia, can often occur with social phobia. This is because someone with social phobia may at some point avoid going outside. They avoid large, busy places because they find it difficult to leave their own familiar environment. There is a fear of open spaces with the fear of not being able to return or of being embarrassed.
Locked in an elevator or a dark cellar under the house. Most people won’t get excited about that. But for people with claustrophobia this is a complete disaster. In fact, it’s not just about small cramped spaces but about the absence of an escape route. A room that is small and locked is of course a major disaster.
Not only is there the fear of flying, but also the fear of going to heights. So that is fear of heights or acrophobia. People with acrophobia do not like visiting viewpoints or high-rise apartment buildings. There is a great fear of falling from heights. However, habituation may occur and these people can live in an apartment building.
The fear of vomiting is emetophobia. Some people who suffer from this feel constantly nauseous and often also have stomach and intestinal problems.
With carcinophobia there is an enormous fear of developing a form of cancer. Especially in this day and age when so much can lead to cancer, it is difficult for people with carcinophobia to deal with these fears. Of course, this is not about the occasional fear of getting/having cancer, but about something that concerns you on a daily basis.
This irrational fear was also mentioned in the beginning. The fear of thunder. It is not unwise to take care measures when thunder can be heard, but sometimes it can be too much. People who immediately drop everything when thunder sounds, close windows, unplug every plug and so on. Precautions are already taken before the storm actually arrives.
At 10 is the fear of death. It may be the fear of dying yourself, but also the fear of seeing deathly things. This fear is generally more common in the elderly.