5 Common Phobias – and What You Can Do to Overcome Them5 Common Phobias – and What You Can Do to Overcome Them

5 Common Phobias – and What You Can Do to Overcome Them

Phobias can be extremely debilitating, but there are therapies available to help overcome them.

If you notice a spider spinning its web in a corner of your back porch, do you suddenly feel frozen in fear, unable to think straight? If so, you likely suffer from a fairly common clinical condition called arachnophobia – and, if you want to, there’s something you can do about it.


Like their distant psychological cousins, superstitions, phobias are an intriguing facet of irrational human experience. But unlike superstitions, phobias encompass a range of intense, unreasonable fears that disrupt the daily lives of millions of people. Mental health professionals categorize them as a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an overwhelming and persistent fear of specific objects, situations, or activities. 


While they can be debilitating, the good news is that phobias are highly treatable, and numerous therapeutic techniques are available to help individuals overcome such debilitating fears. Let’s explore five common phobias, the stimuli that trigger them, their possible origins, and potential treatment options.


The human mind is fascinating to explore. Watch The Curious Mind with Nigel Latta on MagellanTV.

Arachnophobia – Fear of Spiders 

One of the most common specific phobias, arachnophobia affects both children and adults. It often results from a traumatic experience or learned behavior, but the fact that some spiders are venomous and pose a potential threat indicates that arachnophobia could also have an evolutionary basis. However, most spiders are harmless, and paralyzing fear of them can be treated through therapeutic techniques such as cognitive-behavioral and virtual reality therapy, medications, and support groups.


Acrophobia – Fear of Heights 

For a person who suffers from acrophobia, standing on an elevated platform or the terrace of even a mid-rise building can cause intense anxiety and panic attacks. The condition is often linked to a fear of falling or losing control. It can vary in severity, ranging from mild discomfort to debilitating terror. Exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and virtual reality treatments are often used to help individuals overcome this phobia.


(Credit: Charles Clyde Ebbets/New York Herald-Tribune, public domain via Wikipedia)


Claustrophobia – Fear of Confined Spaces 

For most of us, stepping into an elevator or walking through a pedestrian tunnel is just a routine part of our day. But for some individuals, it is an experience to be avoided at all costs. Claustrophobia can lead to feelings of panic, shortness of breath, and an overwhelming desire to escape. This fear often stems from a traumatic experience, such as being trapped in a confined space during childhood. Treatment to overcome it may involve cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation techniques, and gradual exposure to enclosed spaces.


Ophidiophobia – Fear of Snakes 

On a list of scary creatures, snakes rank very high for many of us. But for people who experience ophidiophobia, that fear rises to another level altogether. The fact that some snakes are lethally venomous has something to do with it, but the fear can also stem from cultural and religious influences or personal experiences such as a child’s frightening encounter with a snake. Interestingly, even seeing pictures or videos of snakes can trigger anxiety and fear in individuals with ophidiophobia. Exposure therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy are often used to treat this condition.


Aerophobia – Fear of Flying 

Statistically, air travel is among the safest ways to get from point A to point B, but it can be extremely distressing for people who have aerophobia. Whether triggered by news of airplane crashes, fear of losing control, or turbulence during a flight, the condition is often associated with underlying anxiety disorders or past traumas. Techniques like cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation exercises, and desensitization programs can help individuals manage and overcome their fear of flying.


Title Image source: stock.adobe.com


Try for Free

Get Access to Premium Documentaries

Start your 14-day trial of MagellanTV and get access to 2,000+ documentaries, available anywhere, on any device

Start Free Trial