10 STRANGE PHOBIAS YOU MIGHT HAVE
Phobias are defined as a persistent irrational fear of specific objects, activities, or situations that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it. Almost all phobias are the result of a bad past experience, usually during childhood, and can be treated or managed with help.
Panophobia - Fear of Everything
Panophobia, while sounding bizarre, actually exists and is the fear of everything. Also known as Omniphobia or Pantophobia, those who suffer from this phobia tend to suffer multiple kinds of fears, and remain in a constant state of dread, believing there is a "persistent evil" or "something terrible about to happen". Having this phobia can be detrimental to their success in life and certainly impacts their day to day activities, often being triggered by negative news, events or traumatic episodes in the past. Panophobia is different with every person, but will generally increase over time adding more phobias, both tangible and intangible. Living in a constant state of fear that something bad is going to happen eventually will take its toll on the human body.
Cibophobia - Fear of Food
Cibophobia is the excessive and persistent fear of food, for which the phobic could suffer debilitating and serious health implications. Patients are typically teenagers and young children, sometimes with their fears continuing on into adulthood, and often misdiagnosed as anorexia, bulimia, and other behavior and eating disorders. The fear and avoidance of food, chewing or swallowing fluids usually stems from a negative or traumatic episode of choking or vomiting, and in some cases, specific to certain products. Cibophobia is often mistaken for the fear of eating in public, which is a social anxiety disorder where the individual doesn't eat with others because they fear embarassing themselves. Given that food is essential to life, Cibophobia can result in adverse health effects, with death being the bottom line.
Rhypophobia - Fear of Defecation
Bowel movements are a normal bodily function that everyone has to perform. For most of us, it is a relief, but for those suffering from Rhypophobia, defecating can be a traumatic experience. A fear of painful bowel movements or defecation, Rhypophobics avoid going to the bathroom, often due to a terrifying experience in the past, such as a physician manually extracting hard stools, or their feces causing rectal bleeding, among other potential reasons. Initially, stool softeners and laxatives are prescribed, but aren't a permanent solution. Emily Titterington, a sixteen year old girl died from constipation after going eight weeks without defecating. The girl when into cardiac arrest caused by a condition known as "stool withholding".
Heliophobia - Fear of the Sun
Those who have Heliophobia, a fear of the sun, may show symptoms of breathlessness, dizziness, extreme sweating, nausea, dry mouth, heart palpitations, and the inability to speak when in direct sunlight. Some people develop this phobia because they are scared that being in sunlight may give them cancer. Most suffering from Heliophobia go to great lengths to cover every opening in their homes from sunlight with black plastic or similar products. Lack of sunlight causes a Vitamin D deficiency, which can cause bone pain, weakening of the bones, osteoporosis, rickets, osteomalacia, and increased risk of fractures, heart disease, bowel and breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, diabetes and ultimately, death.
Phagophobia - Fear of Swallowing
For some, the fear of swallowing, or Phagophobia, is an all encompassing emotion that can render eating joyless. This phobia manifests in various symptoms, wreaking havoc on their normal eating patterns, as they will avoid certain foods or textures, hyper-masticate or over chew their food, exhibit difficulty getting the swallow started and often lose weight. All of these symptoms can create elevated levels of anxiety, often causing patients to socially isolate themselves at mealtimes. Like other phobias, Phagophobics either experienced a single or series of traumatic events that involved the act of eating. As drinking and eating are essential for life, it isn't hard to see the health implications Phagophobia can have.
Ablutophobia - Fear of Washing or Bathing
A fear of washing or bathing, Ablutophobia is very common in women and children. This disorder can cause a severe and persistent fear of normal, everyday tasks like washing one's hair and cleaning the body, often triggered in different ways. Falling or slipping in the shower, or other incidents could've caused the disorder to develop for some, but the implications of this phobia aren't readily apparent. Besides being frowned on by society for having an odor or dirty complexion for lack of personal hygiene, Ablutophobics consume food prepared by their unclean hands which could cause serious illness or even death. People with Ablutophobia, often have employment and relationship problems due to their uncleanliness.
Counterphobia - Fear of Not Facing Your Fears
While most people with a phobia tend to avoid the thing they fear, Counterphobics do the opposite. Sufferers of Counterphobia tend to seek out what they fear because they might feel invigorated or excited when encountering these things they fear the most, and is equivalent to an adrenaline rush. Counterphobics still exhibit anxiety, fear, trembling, frustration, shortness of breath, and sometimes a full blown panic attack. Jeb Corliss, an American professional skydiver and BASE jumper, was diagnosed with counterphobia when he was very young due to complications at school and issues with this father. Over the course of Corliss's fear seeking, he has performed numerous death defying feats with more than a few close calls.
Iatrophobia - Fear of Doctors
There are people out there who really hate going to hospitals or seeing doctors, mostly due to the inconvenience of the matter or embarrassment. For Iatrophobic sufferers, or those who fear doctors, just seeing a doctor causes panic attacks, elevated blood pressure, rapid breathing, nausea, or gastrointestinal distress. People who have Iatrophobia tend to put off visiting the doctor no matter how much they are suffering from a medical condition. This phobia is quite common in children, though many adults are known to also suffer from this condition, too. John Dart, a pensioner, father of two and Iatrophobic, committed suicide when he convinced himself a blemish on his nose was cancerous in 2009.
Mysophobia - Fear of Germs
The fear of microbes or getting contaminated with germs, Mysophobia is also known as germophobia. People with Mysophobia believe the world is a "filthy place" and as a result are constantly washing or cleaning. Mysophobics are mainly concerned with contamination and sterilization, and not so much about being tidy or orderly. Panic attacks, shaking, dry mouth, sweating, nausea, and rapid and irregular heartbeats are among the symptoms a person suffering from Mysophobia could have. Several celebrities were or are known to have Mysophobia, including Michael Jackson, Howard Hughes, and Howie Mandel. Samantha Hancox, 40, suffered from Mysophobia, showered 20 hours a day, and died of dehydration and a skin infection from this condition.
Somniphobia - Fear of Sleeping
Sleep is a basic necessity to survive just like eating, drinking and breathing, with most people showing cranky or irritable symptoms before being up twenty-four hours. However, there are some people in the world who suffer anxiety disorders related to sleep, including Somniphobics, who have a fear of sleep. Related to the fear of the unknown, sufferers of Somniphobia are terrified of what might happen if they fall asleep. Those who have this phobia often avoid sleeping as long as they can, showing signs of daytime fatigue and drowsiness, irritability and mood swings. Sleep deprivation, through animal research, shows that death could occur, but no human being is known to have died from lack of sleep.