What is a Phobia?
A phobia could be most simply described as an irrational fear of an object, animal, situation or activity. While these fears might seem highly irrational and unjustified to the majority of us, they are obviously very real to the sufferer. Most of us are familiar with a few common and perhaps understandable phobias such as ‘arachnophobia’ (the fear of spiders) and agoraphobia (the fear of open spaces). However, here are five phobias you probably haven’t heard of and might consider more than a little weird:
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia (Fear of Long Words)
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words. It seems to be more than a little ironic that it is the second-longest word in the English language. The phobia manifests itself as the embarrassment caused by the mispronunciation of long words in a public setting.
The fear is thought to most likely stem from memories of reading aloud in front of the class as a child. Maybe not too surprisingly, the rare phobia is most common in people who suffer from dyslexia.
Phobophobia (Fear of Fear)
At his inaugural address on 4 March 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared, “We have nothing to fear except fear itself”. While that sentiment might have been quite settling for the vast majority, it did little for the phobophobes. That’s because phobophobia is a fear of phobias, or we might just as easily say “the fear of fear”.
Phobophobes tend to spiral into a circle of perpetual anxiety where their fears then become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Sufferers tend to avoid social situations and other events that are likely to cause them stress and anxiety. Phobophobia is most often diagnosed in those with other phobias and/or anxiety disorders.
Plutophobia (Fear of Money)
It would seem reasonable to assume that the overwhelming majority of people would love to acquire greater wealth. However, this isn’t true for those suffering from Plutophobia because it’s the fear of money or wealthy people. Plutophobes generally dread dealing with money and any of the processes that it might entail.
Plutophobes’ fear of becoming wealthy is thought to stem from the worry of taking on the responsibilities of handling large amounts of money. Some people with this phobia may go as far as deliberately sabotaging their careers in order to avoid making more money. Other sufferers may also have a fear of becoming the victim of a robbery.
Eisoptrophobia (Fear of Mirrors)
Eisoptrophobia is the fear of mirrors. Also known as spectrophobia or catoptrophobia, people with this fear are unable to look at themselves in a mirror. Sufferers of the phobia inevitably have self-image issues. However, the fear may also stem from the superstitious and supernatural connotations associated with mirrors.
For sufferers, just the thought of a mirror can bring instant anxiety. The fear may also extend to any reflective surface. Eisoptrophobia sufferers are often ashamed of their physical appearance and, thus, quite often depressed.
Turophobia (Fear of Cheese)
Turophobia is a relatively uncommon phobia which means the fear of cheese. The phobia derives its name from the Greek word ‘turi’ which translates as cheese. Some people’s repulsion of cheese may only be triggered when they eat it. However, for others, it can be activated by the mere sight or smell of cheese.
People with turophobia generally experience feelings of anxiety or panic when they are exposed to cheese. In the most severe cases, sufferers can be anxious when they think about cheese. Turophobia is usually treated with cognitive-behavioral therapy, but in some cases with medication, such as antidepressants.
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