Phobias: What Are Some of the Most Common? And What Brings Them About?

Examples of Common Phobias

We often see the same handful of common phobias again and again in our society. Examples of these widespread phobias include:


The fear of heights causes people to commonly miss out on both life’s physical and metaphorical peaks. Acrophobia can mean a fear of places that are not even very high up to the average person—a ladder, a small hill, or a second-story balcony.


One of the most well-known phobias is the fear of flying. Aerophobia causes severe anxiety and distress to passengers of airplanes and helicopters. Often, people who suffer from aerophobia will avoid flying altogether—causing them to miss out on important life events such as weddings, reunions, business trips, or vacations.


The fear of spiders is vastly common across the world. Many fear the stealth of spiders and their ability to move quickly and hide from sight. Someone with arachnophobia will become extremely upset at the sight or even the mention of a spider and likely cannot remain in the same room if there’s a spider present.


A fear of small, confined spaces causes sufferers to avoid all sorts of everyday structures, including car washes, elevators, small cars, and storage closets. People who suffer from claustrophobia will go to extreme lengths to avoid feeling confined, even refusing necessary medical imaging scans such as MRIs.


Another very common phobia is the fear of snakes. Ophidiophobia can be only a minor irritation for people who live in a climate with very few snakes. For those who live in the desert or tropics, however, a phobia of snakes can greatly impact daily living.


Many people do not receive necessary vaccinations or have routine blood work done because they fear needles. Trypanophobia can cause sufferers to avoid getting the treatment they need and is even a cited reason some women who otherwise want children choose not to become pregnant.

The Causes of Phobias

Phobias often develop early in life—typically before age 30—and usually begin in childhood. Teenagers and young adults also appear to be particularly vulnerable to developing phobias.

Often, phobias develop as a result of a traumatic life event. For example, a particularly turbulent airplane ride can cause an extreme fear of flying. A painful dog bite sustained during childhood can lead to a lifelong fear of all dogs, regardless of the dog’s temperament or size.

Other times, however, phobias can develop in the absence of a stressful or frightening experience. Parents can pass down their phobias to offspring who “learn” the fears. If a parent is openly afraid and vocal about their phobia, their child is much more likely to develop that same phobia even without any direct negative experience surrounding the phobia.

Seeking Professional Help

Some phobias are easily identified and clearly triggered. Others are harder to pinpoint and understand. All, though, can be addressed and alleviated to with time and treatment.

If your phobia is hurting the way you live your life, you may benefit from professional counseling. Contact our office today!