As Halloween approaches, horror films, haunted houses and spooky decorations can be found around every corner. In this season of fear, it becomes apparent that fear is different for everyone in what they fear and the level of fear people experience. Some people experience phobias which is different than a normal amount of fear. Harvard Medical School helps define what a phobia is on their school’s website.
According to Harvard Medical School’s website, “A phobia is a persistent, excessive, unrealistic fear of an object, person, animal, activity or situation. It is a type of anxiety disorder. A person with a phobia either tries to avoid the thing that triggers the fear, or endures it with great anxiety and distress.”
A phobia has different symptoms than ordinary fear. The EMedicineHealth website shares the main differences between ordinary fear and a phobia.
According to EMedicineHealth’s website, “Unlike normal fears, phobic fear is excessive and out of proportion to the situation. It is not alleviated with rational explanations and cannot be voluntarily controlled by the person. It leads to avoidance of the fear-producing objects and the fears persistent over time. These fears are not age or stage-specific.”
Students on Oklahoma Baptist University’s campus share what phobias they have. These students participated in question and answer poll on Instagram where they shared their phobias.
Students on campus shared various phobias including some of various animals such as, “ailurophobia, or the fear of cats, arachnophobia, or the fear of spiders and herpetophobia, or the fear of reptiles and amphibians.”
Other students shared phobias of seemingly ordinary objects such as “claustrophobia, or the fear of small spaces such as elevators and masklophobia or the fear of mascots.”
Some students shared phobias of items or people who are portrayed often during the Halloween season including, “hemophobia, or the fear of blood and coulrophobia, or the fear of clowns.”
Some of the OBU’s students’ phobias are actually pretty common. EMedicine Health’s website shares the top 10 most common phobias as of October 12, 2020.
According to EMedicine Health’s website, “The top ten most common phobias are agoraphobia which is the fear of open spaces, mysophobia, which is the fear of germs, arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders, ophidiophobia, which is the fear of snakes, acrophobia, which is the fear of heights, cynophobia, which is the fear of dogs and finally, trypophobia which is the fear of holes.”
With phobias being more intense and different than ordinary fears, it is a wonder on how these phobias come about. Lisa Fritscher, a contributing writer to the website Very Well Mind, writes over three theories on how phobias developed that were each reviewed by Dr. Stephen Ganz.
“The first theory on why people develop is based on Freud’s psychoanalysis theory which divides the brain into three parts the id ego and superego or the irrational and rational part of the brain as well as the conscience. According to this theory, phobias are based on anxiety reactions when the ego is overwhelmed by these forces and the phobia may symbolically represent some other internal source of anxiety,” Fritscher said.
“The second theory is based on principles of behaviorism and cognitive theory. According to the learning theory, phobias develop when fear responses are reinforced or punished,” Fritscher said.
“The final theory is based on the medical model of psychology which states that mental disorders are caused by physiological factors. According to this theory, neuropsychologists have identified certain genetic factors that may play a role in the development of phobias,” Fritscher said.