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10 phobias you've probably never heard of

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A phobia is defined as an extreme, irrational, and often debilitating fear of a particular object, creature, place, or feeling. Often, phobias are survival-driven. Across history, the human species has learned to fear things such as spiders, snakes, heights, and flying that may be venomous or otherwise harmful, and even deadly. But what about the phobias that no one talks about?

Most uncommon phobias are sadly rooted in trauma; brought upon by a frightening event or experience usually in early childhood.

West Island News prepared a list of phobias you’ve probably never heard of.

Ablutophobia | Fear of bathing

Typically, Ablutophobia stems from a traumatic water-based incident. Be it in a pool, on a boat, or even in a tub during infancy. Ablutophobia can be exceptionally debilitating as it often causes social anxiety around casual trips to the beach or pool parties and can often result in body odor and a general lack of hygiene.

Arachibutyrophobia | Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth

Although the fear might at first glance seem laughable, it is probable that it stems from the very rational fear of choking or being unable to breathe.

Eisoptrophobia | Fear of mirrors

One theory about this fear’s beginnings is an association to superstitions linked to mirrors. Bad luck for seven years, or connections to the supernatural may cause this phobia for some.

In extreme cases, sufferers of Eisoptrophobia can’t even bring themselves to look into other reflective objects such as glass, or even the surface of water.

Nomophobia | Fear of not having your cell phone

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Once again, this fear feels incredibly “first world”, however upon further consideration may

be more grounded in reality than you initially thought. Our phones have become our lifelines and the first thing we turn to when we are in trouble. We rely on our phones to call 911, to navigate from point A to point B, and to connect us to all parts of the world.

The fear often includes having a very low or dead battery, or not having any service. It becomes especially problematic when the fear is based solely on not being connected to cyberspace. Addiction to the internet and social media is a very real issue that is only continuing to become more prominent in modern society.

Turophobia | Fear of cheese

Turophobia often stems from a traumatic incident with cheese, usually in childhood. The “you’re not leaving the table until you clear your plate” mindset can be especially damaging, particularly for those with an intolerance to lactose. In extreme instances, even the sight of cheese can be a trigger.

Xanthophobia | Fear of the color yellow

You’d be surprised just how many things are yellow. Traffic signs and lights, flowers, and some insects, fashion, and other accessories. Some research points once again to the notion that the fear is survival-based. Yellow is often a strong marker that an insect or reptile is venomous, which could point to the genesis of this phobia.

Trypophobia | Fear of images with patterns of holes or bumps

Trypophobia (pronounced trip-o-phobia) is the extreme disgust of holes. This fear is actually more common than you may think, and people who suffer from it will have a visceral, practically nauseous response to surfaces like a honeycomb, the skin of a strawberry, coral, and lotus seed pods.

Scroll down to check out a couple of trypophobia triggers, but be forewarned, they may make you feel slightly uneasy.

I repeat, now is your chance to scroll past or look away.

Common Trypophobia triggers:

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image courtesy of

image courtesy of

Emetophobia | Fear of throwing up

I don’t like being sick as much as the next person, but for sufferers of this phobia, the fear can become paralyzing. Most people with emetophobia are triggered by certain words and opt instead for the term “being sick.” The sound of gagging or hearing that someone else has been sick can cause people with emetophobia to spiral.

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia | Fear of long words

This one is just cruel. But it is real.

Pentheraphobia | Fear of Mothers-in-law

I can practically hear you chuckling through the screen. Of course, we’re all a little fearful of our in-laws. We want to make a good impression; we want them to like us. This phobia takes that desire to the extreme and is once again often brought on by a traumatic event related to family or in-laws. It may also be linked to childhood trauma where someone may have often sought parental approval and never received it.

Did you know?

- Women are almost twice as likely to suffer from a phobia as men

- Signs and symptoms of phobias usually begin in early to mid-childhood. The average age of phobia onset is 7 years.

- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) have close links to phobias and other anxiety disorders.


If you or someone you know is struggling with a fear or phobia, do not hesitate to reach out to your doctor or other healthcare professional. We are not medical experts and cannot make medical diagnoses here at West Island News, but we certainly do not want our readers suffering in silence.

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