10 of the strangest phobias in the world

10 of the strangest phobias in the world

Fear, stress, and anxiety are common emotions in anyone's life. If they occur in everyday contexts, in the presence of harmless objects and situations, and with paralyzing intensity, however, the story changes. And if it is always the same circumstance that triggers them, we are probably faced with a (specific) phobia: an irrational fear of situations, objects, activities, animals or people. Symptoms can be debilitating, but fortunately in many cases they are treatable with the help of an experienced practitioner. The DSM, the so-called bible of American psychiatry, does not even attempt to draw up a complete list of the most common phobias, and limits itself to providing five general types: animals, natural events, blood-wounds-injections, places, phobias that do not fall within the previous types. The source of fears, in fact, can really be of any kind. And if spiders, insects, clowns, or perhaps overhangs and airplanes, are quite common, here are some of the strangest phobias for which names have been coined.

Optophobia It is the irrational fear of opening your eyes. Often associated with a more generalized generalized anxiety disorder, it is clearly an extremely debilitating condition, as doing any daily activity with your eyes closed is quite difficult. Sufferers usually spend their time indoors, possibly in low light conditions. It is believed that in most cases the disorder is related to some traumatic event, such as having witnessed an accident or someone's death.

Arachibutirofobia Being afraid of peanut butter is one thing. But here we go much more specifically: those suffering from arachibutirofobia are not so much afraid of the food, but rather the fact that it remains stuck on the palate. For those who suffer from it in severe form, it is a fear that leads to completely avoiding the consumption of peanut butter and foods with a similar texture. However, it is a rare disorder, even in countries like the United States where the consumption of this food is much more common than in Italy. It is usually associated with a more general fear of food or sticky substances, or an excessive fear of being choked. Phobophobia Fear itself, of course, can be something to be afraid of. In this case we speak of phobophobia, fear phobia or even phobia of having a phobia. It is usually a disorder that occurs in individuals with other problems related to anxiety and panic attacks. Sufferers avoid places and situations in which they fear they may experience anxiety or fear, also to avoid the risk of developing other phobias.

Omphalophobia In this case, it is the navels that frighten, or make tremendously uncomfortable. Those of others, and also their own. The imphalophobics can go so far as to bandage their navel with bandages to avoid seeing it during ablutions or when they have to undress, and often avoid places and situations where the risk of encountering an uncovered navel is high, such as the beach or the showers of a gym.

Dehypnophobia Social anxiety disorder is a relatively common type of nonspecific phobia, which concerns the fear of exposing oneself in public situations, participating in moments of sociality and conviviality, usually for the fear that one's own behavior may be considered inappropriate. In some cases, this more general problem is exacerbated, or concentrated, in the contexts in which one finds oneself dining in company: it is defined as hypnophobia, and it is the fear of eating with other people and, in particular, finding oneself having to chat during the meal.

Singenesophobia Aunts, grandmothers and cousins ​​gathered for the holidays can be challenging. If family gatherings trigger authentic panic attacks, however, you enter the pathological, and you are probably suffering from singenesophobia, the fear of relatives, and in particular of family gatherings. Unless there are very good reasons to fear family members (as unfortunately happens all too often), it is an irrational fear, which is best attempted to cure with the help of a specialist to return to enjoyment (at least in small doses) of the company of one's relatives.

Geniofobia Not to be confused with the phobia of genes (which would have a Latin prefix), in this case we speak rather of minds: geniophobia (with Greek prefix, γένειον) is in fact the unreasonable, and probably unmotivated fear of the chin. As absurd as it may sound, it is certainly a phobia that is difficult to live with, given the likelihood of encountering some chin in the course of one's daily activities.

Decidophobia Choices and decisions are never simple. And being indecisive is certainly not a disease. But when the inability to make choices independently reaches paralyzing, pathological levels, we speak of decidophobia: the inability to make decisions without the advice of someone (sometimes many people). It often occurs within a more general dependent personality disorder: a pervasive, excessive need to be treated, which leads to submission and attachment behaviors.

Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia Here reality and fiction merge, because it is not It is clear if anyone has ever suffered from this disorder, and the very name chosen to describe it seems to make fun of a hypothetical patient. In any case, Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia would be the fear of long and complex words, a disorder that would prevent sufferers from reading and pronouncing the name of their disease. Since sesquipedale (a foot and a half long) is used to describe long and bombastic texts and terms (reminiscent of the Horatian sesquipedalia verba), the phobia could have been simply called sesquipedaliophobia. The choice of adding hippos (hippo) and monstrous (monstro), is therefore an indication of the probable ironic origin of the term.

Anatidaefobia “Somewhere, for some reason, a duck is watching you”. This is how the object of this phobia is described by Gary Larson, the man who coined the term that would describe the fear of being observed by a duck. A truly absurd phobia, and in fact non-existent: Larson is in fact a cartoonist, and anatidaephobia was born in his comic strip "The Far Side", accompanied by the drawing of a man who works in his office, while a duck observes him from one of a nearby building.

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