America's Top 7 Phobias
“I know I shouldn’t be scared. I feel so dumb that so many people seem to be fine, and for some reason I can’t handle it. Logically, I know I’m really ok right now, but for some reason, I can’t help feeling afraid anyway. I wish I could just make it go away so I could live my life.” Whether the fear is an animal, driving, traffic, crowds, doctors, needles, or water, what people say about their fear tends to be remarkably similar.
Fear vs. Phobia
Fear is a natural feeling in your body. It is the fight or flight response that is triggered by the amygdala, the part of your brain that functions as a threat-detector. A phobia is a strong fear of a specific object or situation that is disproportionate to the actual danger of the situation. The fight or flight response is intended to help keep your body safe from danger. Your brain is doing its job to protect you, preparing you to run away by pumping blood to your extremities. The result is that your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes shallower, and you may feel light-headed, sweaty, or tingly. When a real threat arises, this automatic fight or flight reaction is extremely helpful. It helps you protect yourself without you having to think about it. When this reaction is triggered in a situation that is not actually dangerous in the moment, it’s not so helpful and may interfere with your life.
Top 7 Phobias in America
Phobias and fears may be more common that you think. Phobias are the most common anxiety disorder. According to a recent survey, here are the top 7 fears in America:
#7. Aviophobia – Fear of flying. 14% of Americans report some fear of flying. The fear may be related to flying itself, or caused by related fears like being out of control, the fear of being enclosed in a small space, fear of germs, or fear of having a panic attack.
#6. Claustrophobia – 17% of Americans are afraid of being enclosed in small spaces with no escape. This can manifest in a fear of being in elevators, fear of being in planes, subways, buses, stuck in traffic, or even waiting in line.
#5. Aquaphobia – 19% report a fear of bodies of water. This may be a fear of drowning, fear of being stuck on a boat, fear of unseen things in the water, or a fear of not being able to breathe.
#4. Trypanophobia – 18% report a fear of medical procedures involving blood, injections, or needles. This may include avoidance of visiting doctors’ offices so that a procedure will be less likely.