What’s To Be Afraid Of?

Fear or phobia? Believe it or not, there is a difference

This little guy was found crawling around in the 300 hallway.

Lil Clay

This little guy was found crawling around in the 300 hallway.

Lil Clay, Reporter

“Yikes! Spider! Kill it!,” some would say. But why are so many people so scared of this little bug of nature? It’s harmless. However, people with arachnophobia would say otherwise. But what is arachnophobia? Most importantly, what is a phobia in general?

Phobias are irrational and unwanted fears in humans. These irrational fears can cause overwhelming distress in everyday life. Specific phobias form during the years 4 to 8 due to early traumatic experience. 

The part of the brain that is responsible for phobias is the amygdala. The amygdala is associated with the emotional process. The amygdala is located in the medial temporal, just in front of the hippocampus, which is responsible for memory processing. The amygdala is a paired structure, one on each side of the brain, it is part of the limbic system. The limbic system is a neural network that mediates several aspects of emotion and memory. This is also responsible for the famous fight or flight response. 

You probably are thinking this, how do you know you have a phobia of something?

Well, here is a list of emotional symptoms:

  • Feeling overwhelmed/ anxiety
  • Feeling the urgent need to escape 
  • Feeling detached from yourself
  • The feeling of going crazy 
  • Feeling that you are going to pass out 
  • Knowing that you are overreacting, but feel that you lack the ability to control it 

Some examples of physical symptoms are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Racing heart
  • Chest pain 
  • Trembling or shaking 
  • Dizziness or lightheaded 
  • Churning stomach 
  • Hot or cold flashes; tingling sensations 
  • Sweating 

People always confuse phobia with fear, but they are not the same thing. Fear is an imminent reaction of a threat. Fear is common, but a diagnosed phobia is not. A phobia is an intense and irrational form of anxiety on an object or situation. However, both have the same fight or flight reaction.

Here is a list of the most common phobia.

  • Acrophobia- fear of heights          
  • Arachnophobia- fear of spiders
  • Ophidiophobia- fear of snakes 
  • Agoraphobia- fear of having a panic attack in public
  • Mysophobia- fear of germs
  • Cynophobia- fear of dogs
  • Mysophobia- fear of germs 
  • Thanatophobia- fear of death

While there are common phobias, there are quite a few weird ones as well.

  • Ablutophobia- fear of baths  
  •  Phobophobia- fear of phobias(the irony of it)
  •  Venustraphobia- fear of beautiful women
  •  Nomophobia- fear of not having your phone
  •  Chrometophobia- fear of money
  •  Ergophobia- fear of a workplace
  •  Somniphobia- fear of sleep
  •  Haphephobia- fear of being touched
  •  Philophobia- fear of love   
  •  Heliophobia- fear of the sun
  •  Chaetophobia- fear of detached or loose hair
  •  Oikophobia- fear of kitchen appliances
  •  Neophobia- fear of new things
  •  Hylophobia- fear of forests
  •  Decidophobia- fear of making decisions

Overall, phobias can be quite strange, and if you are suspicious that you might have a phobia, consider talking to a therapist.