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What is a phobia? What causes it? Can it be cured? What are some really strange phobias? 

Some of us have phobias, and some of us have manias. While we've all head of claustrophobia, and maybe know a kleptomaniac or two, there's not much a lot more we know about phobias or manias. It's interesting information, sound impressive when you drop off the names at parties, and it's a great idea for your child's next project.


What is a phobia anyway? A phobia is a deep-seated fear for something, which has no rational cause. The extent of fear experienced completely surpasses logic and one cannot really understand the immense intensity of fear until one experiences it oneself. The most common phobias are fear of the dark, fear of spiders, fear of heights, fear of confined spaces and social phobia.

What causes them?

One cannot always pinpoint a cause for a phobia, though at times certain events can trigger certain phobias. So if you were pushed into the pool as a child and almost drowned, you may develop a fear of water, or, more specifically, hydrophobia.

What happens when a person is confronted with the object of their phobia?
They have difficulty breathing, they may start perspiring, have a panic attack, their heart starts beating faster and they often start shaking or trembling. Not a pretty experience.

Can phobias be cured?

Thankfully, phobias can just go away. You may develop a phobia as a child, and as you grow older, you get over your fear. Similarly, you may develop a phobia as an adult, and it lasts for a few years and goes away. Confronting your phobia also helps in some cases, so if you are scared of cats, which means you have Ailurophobia, and you are encouraged pet it, it helps. But if the cat suddenly snarls and jumps up, you're back to square one!

Physiological treatment also helps cure phobias. A person may sometime develop a phobia as a result of a tragedy he has been through, even though the kind of phobia apparently has nothing to do with the tragedy. Ajay's parents died in a car crash, and a few months later he developed an intense fear of social situations, or social phobia. The thought of eating in public frightened him intensely. What if his hands started shaking? What if he dropped food on his clothes? He gradually started undergoing therapy to recover from the deaths, and as he started accepting that they had gone and started coming to terms with the tragedy, his social phobia vanished too!

If nothing works, you're stuck, and learn to live with your phobia, which is really not that bad. All you do is simply avoid the object of your fear, and life goes on!

Phobia List

So many people are scared to death of things you and me wouldn't give a second thought to. Check out these strange phobias.

Ablutophobia - Fear of bathing

Agoraphobia - Fear of open spaces or of being in crowded, public places like markets. Fear of leaving a safe place. Hollywood actress Kim Basinger had this phobia.

Acrophobia - Fear of heights

Anuptaphobia - Fear of staying single. More or less everyone who has ever been single in their thirties if not in their late twenties have been hit by this fear, though not necessarily with phobic intensity! So if you're single, read this article on dating. And if you're not, set up a friend with a
blind date.

Arachnophobia- Fear of spiders. Tennis star Andre Agassi is said to suffer from this.

Aviophobia - Fear of flying. The strangest pop star of 'em all, Michael Jackson, has an incredibly deep-seated fear of flying.

Cacophobia - Fear of ugliness

Caligynephobia - Fear of beautiful women

Cancerophobia or Carcinophobia - Fear of cancer

Claustrophobia - Fear of confined spaces

Gynophobia - Fear of women

Sexophobia - Fear of the opposite sex

Hippophobia - Fear of horses, not hippos!

Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia - Fear of long words!

Noctiphobia - Fear of the night

Ornithophobia - Fear of birds

Social Phobia - Barbara Streisand and Sir Lawrence Olivier were just few of the many famous personalities that suffered from a fear of social situations at some point in their career.

Xenophobia - Fear of strangers or foreigners

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