Most Common Phobias
Yesterday was April Fool’s Day, and we pulled a mean but funny prank on Q105’s afternoon personality, Scott Walker. He’s horrified by snakes, so when I walked into his office with a fake one around my neck, he jumped back and nearly tripped over his chair.
Snakes have never bothered me, but I am deathly afraid of sharks — to the point of avoiding water activities such as swimming in the ocean. I will only wade in the water when I go to the beach.
Whether it’s snakes or sharks, most people have a fear or phobia of something. I’ll explain the differences between the two some other time. Just know that most people outside of the psychology field use the two words interchangeably.
So, allow me to put on my counseling hat for a moment to psychologize you! (Yes, I made that word up!)
Being afraid is not always a negative. Some fears are good for us, because they keep us safe from dangerous animals, situations, places, and even other human beings. Scott’s snake phobia prevents him from going near one; therefore, he is less likely to be bitten. It seems like common sense, but many adventure-seekers ignore their feelings of being frightened. The bottom line is: Pay attention to those feelings and visceral reactions you have: Your mind and body are trying to tell you something!
Fears become unhealthy when they cause excessive anxiety, and start to affect your everyday functioning. For example, if Scott developed panic attacks by just thinking about snakes, and this prevented him from leaving his house, he would not be able to go to work and make a living to support himself. The phobia becomes irrational, and requires a therapeutic intervention.
By the way, Scott Walker is going to be okay, after my harmless stunt.
Here are the most common phobias, according to the National Institute Of Mental Health.
You’ll notice I am not using scientific names such as arachnophobia, because these terms are no longer used by psychologists. (Probably because they got tired of having to memorize hundreds of different phobias).
5. Crowded areas or closed-in places from which it might be difficult to escape
6. Public speaking and other “social phobias”
7. Needles and/or the sight of blood
9. Tunnels and bridges
10. Highway driving
** Nikki Cruz has a Master’s degree in mental health counseling and is a licensed intern in the state of Florida.
To get more information on social and specific phobias, including treatment options, click here.
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