Common Phobias
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Common Phobias
  • 김태연 기자
  • 승인 2005.10.05 00:00
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   Among us, there are many common phobias. Some people fear heights, some fear darkness, some are scared of confined spaces and some, animals or specific creatures. But there are also people who fear queer and strange things, some of which are not even imaginable. These phobias interfere with their social life and make it hard for them to live normally among people. Ewha Voice conducted a survey on 411 Ewha students - 2.6 percent among 15,968 Ewha students. Based on the survey, nine phobias most frequently suffered among Ewha students were selected to introduce. Check to see if you have either and remember, understanding your phobia as well as finding the right cure for it!

   ◆ Causes
   There are various causes of phobias. Psychoanalytically, when anxiety formed during a child's growth process is not normally relieved, a conflict occurs in the child's unconscious mind. When conflict is continued, displacement of the conflict into another specific subject takes place to relieve the stress. From a behavioralist* perspective, a stimulus that provokes fear is self-learnt and conditioning occurs which creates phobia. In terms of neurobiology, a phobia is formed when the amygdala, the part of the brain that controls fear, is highly sensitive and reacts easily to stimulus. (*behavioralism: a psychological theory that says behaviors are learned through repeated experience connected with punishment or reward.)

   Tantophobia: fear of death of others or oneself. People suffering from this phobia avoid conversations on death of their loved ones and themselves. Thinking about the death of someone else or of their own death is a torment to them. Some might even fear looking at dead insects or animals. (36% of surveyed Ewha students suffer from this phobia.)

   Achluophobia: fear of darkness. Usually, people with this phobia cannot stand being in dark areas alone. Depending on the degree of phobia, when surroundings are dark, some people frantically search for lights, cry and yell as if they were being suffocated to death, or grow numb. Most of the time, people suffering from this phobia cannot turn their lights off when they go to sleep. (37% of surveyed Ewha students suffer from this phobia.)

   Acrophobia: fear of heights. People with this phobia start to shiver when they are in elevated places. What comes along with this phobia is the fear that they will shiver, then faint, and fall and die when they go up to a high place. People with this phobia tend to live on the first floor of apartments and avoid working in tall buildings. (38% of surveyed Ewha students suffer from this phobia.)

Phasmophobia: the fear of ghosts. Many women tend to have this phobia. People with this phobia tend to imagine that ghosts will pop out of nowhere and harm them or scare them to death. They also imagine the hideous looks and outfits of the ghosts. (43% of surveyed Ewha students suffer from this phobia.)

Atychiphobia: fear of failure. This phobia can be seen as a good example of modern phobias. People nowadays are highly against failure since it means imperfection and embarrassment. Usually, people who suffer from this phobia tend to be perfectionists. (29% of surveyed Ewha students suffer from this phobia.)

Obesophobia: fear of gaining weight. This is another modern phobia that is found mostly in women. As Korean societal values demand women to be pretty and slim, most women fear gaining weight.?Many women perceive gaining weight as an indicator of a sure loss in attractiveness and a corresponding decrease in popularity. People suffering from this phobia try to avoid any action that can make them gain weight such as eating sweets and heavy meals.They sometimes stop eating altogether. (33% of surveyed Ewha students suffer from this phobia.)

Automysophobia: fear of getting dirty. People with this phobia try to wash as often as possible and cannot stand dirty sights. They want their clothes to be clean without any stains. Therefore, they go to extremes to avoid activities that can dirty their clothes and shoes. (25% of surveyed Ewha students suffer from this phobia.)

Autophobia: fear of being alone or by oneself. People suffering from this phobia feel anxious when alone because it makes them feel of little value. Patients are often dependent on friends or family members whom they can depend upon. They avoid chances to do activities alone or to be alone. (17% of surveyed Ewha students suffer from this phobia.)


Ligyrophobia: fear of loud noises. People who suffer from this phobia get shocked easily when they hear loud noises. Table banging, balloon popping, yelling voices and loud music can act as a threat to patients' safety. Some people with this phobia also avoid making big noises. (17% of surveyed Ewha students suffer from this phobia.)


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