From arachnophobia to cynophobia, 10 million people in the UK have a phobia

Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is a fairly common phobia. — ETX Studio pic
Arachnophobia, the fear of spiders, is a fairly common phobia. — ETX Studio pic

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LONDON, Nov 16 — Fear of spiders, snakes or the dark is relatively widespread. In fact, it’s estimated that 10 million people in the UK suffer from a phobia. And lesser-known phobias, such as fear of rooms or dogs, affect more people than you might think.

Whether it’s cynophobia (fear of dogs), frigophobia (fear of being cold) or iatrophobia (fear of going to the doctor), these three disproportionate fears are examples of some of the UK’s most common phobias, as compiled in an article in Glamour magazine. According to NHS Inform, Scotland’s national health information service, some 10 million people in the UK are currently living with a phobia.

Types of phobias

According to NHS Inform, there are two types of phobias. On the one hand, simple phobias can involve animals, objects or well-defined activities, such as a fear of spiders, snakes, enclosed spaces or the fear of flying. These phobias often appear in childhood, between the ages of five and nine.

Complex phobias, on the other hand, “tend to be more disabling than simple phobias because they are often associated with a deep-rooted fear or anxiety about a particular circumstance or situation,” explains NHS Inform. They are most often situational phobias, such as agoraphobia. These tend to develop after adolescence.

Phobias can affect everyday life

Among the best known disorders in the UK is agoraphobia, which is “a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or that help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong,” according to the NHS. In fact, the letter “A” is a real breeding ground for phobias, with achluophobia, which is the fear of darkness, aerophobia, the fear of flying, and arachnophobia, the fear of spiders.

Lesser-known phobias include catoptrophobia, the fear of mirrors, dentophobia, the fear of going to the dentist, and, more surprisingly, the irrational fear of teenagers, known as ephebiphobia. There’s also frigophobia, the fear of being too cold or koinoniphobia, the fear of rooms.

How to combat phobias

If you want to fight one of your irrational fears, it’s recommended to seek professional help. “To treat phobias, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) deprogrammes the fear,” explains Stephany Pelissolo, psychotherapist and CBT practitioner, in a Psychologies article. — ETX Studio

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