10 shocking facts about phobias (fears) you didn’t know

1. Psychologists have identified more than 400 distinct phobias.

Specialists often avoid using the suffix -phobia and choose descriptive terms such as personality disorders, anxiety disorders, and avoidant personality disorder.

2. 3% of the world’s population is affected by some or the other phobia.

Nearly 8.7% of people in the U.S. aged 18 or over have at least one specific phobia.

3. The development of specific or weird phobias are triggered by traumatic events or stressful experiences during early childhood.

4. Phobias may be memories passed down through generations in DNA.

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According to researchers, first-degree relatives of those with phobias are more likely to develop a phobia. This was especially true in twins.

5. The #1 phobia in the world is Arachnophobia or fear of spiders.

It is followed by Ophidiophobia, fear of snakes.

6. What did Alexander the Great, Napoleon, Mussolini, and Hitler have in common?

They all had Ailurophobia, the fear of cats.

7. Cherophobia is the fear of being too happy and content because “something tragic” will occur.

It makes people intentionally avoid experiences that result in positive emotions or happiness.

8. People with phobias, mainly social phobia, may also have trouble with substance abuse. 

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Over a period of time, the underlying phobia goes untreated, and then the only coping mechanism for people living with a phobia is substance abuse. 

9. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is the fear of long words.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is one of the longest words in the dictionary — and, in an ironic twist, is the name for fear of long words. Sesquipedalophobia is another term for this phobia.

10. Somniphobia is fear of sleep.

People who have this phobia associate falling asleep with dying. They also fear losing time while sleeping.

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