Fear of everything, meet ten surprising phobias

Imagine crossing the street with a pretty girl, one of those who stops traffic. If, instead of turning around and admiring it, you begin to tremble and break out in a cold sweat, while you are overcome with nausea and oppression, you are probably suffering from Caliginophobiahorror for beautiful women.

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Maybe with a pinch phlegmatophobiacrazy fear of kissing and being kissed.

But if you’re scared of your mother-in-law’s kisses instead, then you might be penteraphobia (unjustified dislike of a woman’s mother).

The list of the most unusual phobias could go on forever. There are those who cannot stand the sight of their knee, not even their own (genuphobia), those who shiver – and not only from the cold – when it snows (kyonophobia) and those who are so terrified of shadows (erebophobia) that they finally decide to live in the dark . Others fear the nooks and crannies of houses and buildings (gonophobia), a bowl of vegetable soup (lakanophobia) or approaching a computer (cyberphobia). Although bizarre, these disorders exist, they are serious, they can attack and block anyone.

“Fear is democratic,” says Giorgio Nardone, psychologist, psychotherapist and director of the Center for Strategic Therapy in Arezzo, Italy. “In 20 years of therapy, I treated about 15,000 patients, of which 52% were women and 48% were men.

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Therefore, there is no significant difference in terms of the gender of the patients, nor in terms of their social class. Even doctors and psychologists, who take care of phobic people almost every day, are not safe from the syndrome.”

In short, if your phobia was something related to spiders or snakes, it’s time to update your dictionary.

Some researchers have tried to compile catalogs of the strangest phobias. Several of them are on the Internet, and more than a thousand entries have been collected. Unfortunately, more than therapeutic help for those suffering from these disorders, such catalogs serve to satisfy the curiosity of “healthy” readers.

Hard life

Faced with a case of bizarre phobia, some laugh, others joke, and still others get angry. Most of the time, though, there’s no reason to laugh. Phobias are pathologies that can make the life of affected people very difficult. While some moderate types of phobias are considered just a person’s “tics”, others are unpleasant and neither accepted nor tolerated. It is difficult to admit to friends and acquaintances that you are afraid of objects and situations that seem so “harmless”. He risks being taken by a madman, a weak person or a person full of whims.

Computer phobia is more recent. Fear of lightning (right) and snakes (below) appeared in prehistory (Photos: iStockphoto) (Credit: Karen Kupfer)

But those who suffer from one of these disorders suffer no less than the “normal” claustrophobic or the more “popular” arachnophobic (one who is afraid of spiders). Tachycardia, nausea, dizziness, tremors, fear of fainting, dying or losing self-control, panic and chest tightness are common and common symptoms in phobics, regardless of their fears. They all have in common that they try to remove objects and situations they fear at any cost. It is also common that most phobics have a certain reluctance to go to a specialist, especially in the case of phobics attacked by more bizarre disorders, who try to hide their fears as long as possible. To the extent that pathologies of this type bypass even official medical statistics.

Experts differ on the origin of phobias. There are those who think that the responsibility is mostly genetic. Indeed, by examining the DNA of people who suffered from panic attacks, phobias and other anxiety disorders, the Spanish scientist Xavier Estivill noticed that 97% of them had a duplication of the genetic material present on chromosome 15. For Estivill, it is therefore possible that the genes are somehow involved in the origin of those fears.

Regardless of its origin, fear is a weight that we always carry. Our prehistoric ancestors probably suffered from ceraunophobia (fear of lightning). It is this primal instinct – almost an alarm system that alerts the senses and prepares the body to react – that taught the ancients to defend themselves against them. “Fear is the best survival weapon we have,” says Nardone. “The problem is if the reactivity goes above a certain level, it even blocks us.”

ancestral fears

It is therefore not surprising that among the most common phobic stimuli are blood, altitude and animals (fears that affected our ancestors as well). Snakes are among the most feared animals. Since today it is much easier to die in a traffic accident than from a snake bite, everything suggests that traces of the dangers that threatened our distant ancestors remained in our evolutionary memory. Behind these very specific fears is often a more serious personal discomfort. So why not try to solve it? There are many therapeutic approaches.

Cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy, for example, proposes a progressive “desensitization” of the phobic stimulus that leads the patient to face the object of his fear. It starts with awareness of the situation of fear and little by little the person approaches it until he experiences it fully, but now no longer in a panic situation. Another way is a short strategic therapy by Giorgio Nardone, which fights against phobias with “rituals to banish fear”. They are prescribed to a patient with a hypnotic tongue. Example: Nardone recommended to a boy terrified by the idea that he might hit his face on the mirrors, which he protected with a motocross helmet.

Preoccupied with the task of keeping his head protected by the helmet, the boy, almost unconsciously, resumed the habits he had abandoned due to the disorder. He soon lost his fear of the mirror and dropped his helmet. In this case, the phobia is overcome by shifting the focus of attention from trying to control the fear to performing a task that requires a certain amount of attention. The psychiatric method, on the other hand, for certain types of social phobias (disorders that lead the patient to withdraw into himself, avoid contact with others) provides for treatment with antidepressants such as paroxetine. These drugs reduce the external symptoms of the disorder, but do not address the underlying causes. In addition, they pose a risk of addiction.

ten surprising phobias

decidophobia – Fear of making decisions. It was first cited by the philosopher Walter Kaufmann in 1973. According to him, decision-minded people always leave decisions to an external authority, such as father, mother, political party or church.

Nomophobia (derived from the English expression on mobile) – Fear of being disconnected from the mobile network. According to a British study, about 58% of men and 48% of women suffer from this phobia.

Philophobia – Fear of falling in love and being loved. Psychologists interpret it as a kind of defense mechanism: I don’t like not to suffer.

Anuptaphobia – Fear of being single. According to a Canadian study, this phobia is always associated with giving up love and leads to
those who suffer from it accept less attractive partners and maintain unsatisfying relationships.

Dehypnophobia – Fear of talking during meals, a type of social phobia.

Bolsenophobia – Unjustified fear of communists. This phobia was particularly widespread between the late 1940s and mid-1950s, especially in the United States during McCarthyism.

barophobia – Fear of gravity, with consequent fear of being crushed. It is especially evident when using the elevator.

euphobia – Fear of receiving good news. The Greek prefix “I” means good (or good).

Siderodromophobia – Fear of traveling by train. It can determine panic attacks and manifestations of anxiety similar to those of claustrophobia (fear
be indoors). Psychologist Sigmund Freud suffered from this phobia.

Consecotaleophobia – Fear of chopsticks, Eastern chopsticks used as cutlery. This phobia is widespread especially in… the Far East.

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