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Most Common Phobias, Most Unusual Phobias

Many people know the most common phobias like fear of water, but unusual phobias can be of anything, such as a phobia of books. Learn more.

Phobias are very common and are seen across all age groups. Many common phobias develop in childhood. The most common phobias include those most people have heard of such as fear of snakes or spiders; however, the most unusual phobias can be of anything, such as fear of crossing streets or fear of reading books.

A phobia is an irrational, exaggerated and persistent fear of an object or situation. For more serious phobias, such as social anxiety disorder or panic disorder with agoraphobia, many people wait more than ten years to get treatment and by then, social skills and quality of life can be greatly hampered.1

The good news is that phobia treatment, in the form of medications and/or therapy, can be very effective in dealing with both common phobias and uncommon phobias.

Most Common Specific Phobias

While a specific phobia can revolve around any object or situation, some phobias are common, particularly among certain age groups. Some of the most common phobias by type include:2

  • Animal phobia developed at an average age of 7
  • Blood phobia developed at an average age of 9
  • Dental phobia developed at an average age of 12

In contrast, the less common phobias, agoraphobia and claustrophobia (a fear of enclosed or narrow spaces), often don't develop until late teens or early adulthood.

Some of the most common specific phobias include:

  • Acrophobia - phobia of heights
  • Algophobia – phobia of pain, or rhabdophobia – the fear of being beaten
  • Arachnophobia – phobia of spiders
  • Hydrophobia – phobia of water
  • Ophidiophobia – phobia of snakes
  • Pteromerhanophobia – phobia of flying

Unusual Phobias

In contrast to the most common phobias, which involve frequently-feared items, unusual phobias can literally be of anything in the environment or in day-to-day life. Most people would never consider these situations or objects to be threatening, but people with phobic disorders may still have panic reactions.

Some of the more unusual phobias include:3

  • Agyrophobia – phobia of crossing roads
  • Barophobia - phobia of gravity
  • Bibliophobia - phobia of books
  • Papyrophobia - phobia of paper
  • Porphyrophobia - phobia of the color purple
  • Sichuaphobia - phobia of Chinese food

article references


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next: List of Phobias: List of Phobias and Meanings
~ all articles on phobias
~ all articles on anxiety-panic

Last Updated: 29 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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