Fears and phobias

Fears and phobias


Common Fears and Phobias

Whenever someone has a phobia, they often want to know where phobias come from, how they differ from fear, and what they can do to get treatment for it.

If you have a fear or phobia that’s not included on this page, rest assured that most phobias have a great deal in common Some of the most common phobias have their own page dedicated to them, such as:

  • Fear of flying
  • Commitment phobia
  • Fear of driving
  • Social phobia
  • Fear of the dentist
  • Button phobia

What is a ‘fear’?

Fear is what we feel when we are in the presence of a real danger… it is the feeling associated with our body preparing itself to either fight the source of the danger, or escape from it. Click here to see how you can cope with anxiety.

What is a phobia?

A phobia is a similar, often extremely intense feeling of fear, which is caused this time, by a situation or object with doesn’t actually pose any real threat to our safety.

Common with many phobias, is the feeling of loss of control in the given situation, this brings stress and anxiety, and often full-scale panic.

Often, the person will avoid the situation or object which brings these feelings, and when they avoid it, (and subsequently don’t get these feelings of anxiety), this only serves to reinforce the link between the object or situation and the fear.

Phobias are often caused by an intense feeling of terror being experienced by a child, becoming detached from the stimulus of that terror, and becoming free to attach itself to another (innocuous) object or situation.

Once the fear becomes attached to this secondary object, a link is established which will subsequently cause the fear to be felt when the (new) stimulus is present.

insect phobia

Specific phobias

Categorised as follows…

  • Animal (insects, spiders, rats, snakes, mice etc)
  • Environmental (thunderstorms, darkness, heights etc)
  • Injury (blood, needles, dental procedures, surgery etc)
  • Situations (driving, enclosed spaces, lifts etc)
  • Other (germs, illness etc)

When fear becomes a reality

Here at National Stress, our team actually suffer from phobias too. For example, one of our members has Arachnophobia – she is even unable to look at the image for this post (it’s that extreme).

However, one of our managers suffers from entomophobia (which is a fear of insects), and if like any adult with a home, has recently suffered from an insect infestation. “It was absolutely unbearable – but thankfully, I reached out to a company near where I live in Kent who arrived within half an hour of my call. They made it possible for me to stay in my home that evening and relax, without them I really don’t know what I would have done.”

And just like that the problem went away – however, she still fears insects and this is something that will need to be treated throughout her lifetime to make sure she is not a slave to the fear.

Some tips we have put together to help include:

  • Accept and Understand
  • Practice Positive Thinking and Imaging
  • Visit an Entomologist
  • Confront a Bug in the Real World
  • Visit a Therapist


Complex phobias

There are two main complex phobias…

  1. Social Phobia (The fear of social situations and being judged)
  2. Agoraphobia (The fear of open spaces)

If you would like more information on what causes phobias, and a list of some of the phobias that exist, see the information about phobias page.

Learn more.

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