What are the Most Common Fears?

Humans have many fears, ranging from the bizarre to the innocuous and dangerous. People develop fears for a number of reasons, including childhood imprinting, genetics, and mental issues. Some common fears include social phobia, arachnophobia, the fear of flying, heights, the dark, and public speaking.

Social phobia is the fear of socializing with other people. This is also called stage fright or social anxiety disorder. People with this type of phobia feel anxiety when interacting or speaking with people they do not know very well. It can significantly interfere with job performance, schoolwork, and making friends. Someone with social phobia usually needs to see a therapist to eliminate the anxiety symptoms of this fear.

Public speaking is another fear that is related to social phobia. Someone who has this type of fear will typically go to great lengths to avoid speaking in front of people. If a person with this fear is forced to perform a public speech, he or she may sweat profusely, shake, feel anxious, or even have a panic attack.

Agoraphobia and claustrophobia are common fears at opposite ends of the same spectrum. Agoraphobia is the fear of open spaces, so a sufferer might stay inside his or her house for many years. On the other end is claustrophobia, which is the fear of small or enclosed spaces. A person might avoid elevators, small rooms, and crowded places to avoid feeling anxious.


Arachnophobia is one of the most common fears. It is the fear of spiders. Most humans instinctively fear spiders. This may be a genetic instinct to help people stay away from poisonous insects. Since many spiders actually do bite humans, this can be a legitimate fear.

Fear of heights, also called acrophobia, is very common among people. Those who fear heights might avoid some carnival rides, planes, and ladders. This phobia generally stems from the fear of falling and being hurt or killed.

Many children suffer from a fear of the dark. Usually, this fear is outgrown after several years, but some adults still fear the dark. Someone who dislikes dark areas might avoid going out at night, and must always have a nightlight in order to feel relaxed.

There are several treatments for common fears. Anti-anxiety medication is often prescribed to reduce heart palpitations and adrenaline rushes. The next most common therapy is to expose the individual to his or her fear in small doses. For example, someone who is afraid of spiders might initially fear a photo of a spider. After months of gradual exposure, he or she might be able to pick up a spider or touch one. People who are limited by such a fear may want to seek professional help to deal with one.



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Post 1

I'd say fear of flying is a pretty common fear, also. Flying used to scare the heck out of me. I took a free online course, written by a commercial airline pilot, and it really did help me largely overcome my fear.

He offered easy, quick relaxation techniques, as well as audio bites of common noises heard on an airplane: the flaps moving up and down, the engines spooling up for takeoff, etc. I found that to be especially helpful, since the unfamiliar noises and their meanings were a primary source of my fear.

For some fears, like flying, I think knowledge is a great way to help overcome it. The more you know, the more you realize there is less to fear than you thought.

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