Fears & Phobias

Bridget B., editor

Throughout life, most people go through many tough experiences and some of these experiences are caused by fears or phobias. Most people have the same fears or phobias, but what are some of the most popular these fears and phobias and what is the difference between the two. 

The difference between fears and phobias

Fears and phobias are easily and commonly confused but are two different things. Normal fears cause people to be nervous or anxious while phobias cause people to avoid certain situations because they may experience or see their phobia. For instance say you are afraid of needles if it’s just a fear you may feel a bit uneasy getting a shot, but a phobia of needles might cause someone to avoid necessary medical treatment or shots. Phobias are the extreme of fears and can cause people to live an unfulfilling life. There are ways to try and treat phobias and could be as simple as therapy or talking through your problems.  

Popular fears and phobias 

Throughout years fears and phobias can change based on age, majority, and naivety. HelpGuide.org shows common fears throughout the ages of 0-16. 

“0-2 years – Loud noises, strangers, separation from parents, large objects.

3-6 years – Imaginary things such as ghosts, monsters, the dark, sleeping alone, strange noises.

7-16 years – More realistic fears such as injury, illness, school performance, death, natural disasters.”

A very common fear and phobia the media talks a lot about is social anxiety. Millions of people have social anxiety and each person with it may fear different aspects of it more than others. Some may fear public speaking more, others phone calls, but overall fear being judged by others. Another common fear is the fear of bugs, insects, and spiders. For many people, this is an irrational fear if they live in a place where there are little to no harmful species of insects or spiders. Some places in the world (such as Australia) there are extremely dangerous species of spiders and their fears may correlate with the fear of death. Many other common fears are the fear of heights, needles, small spaces, animals (dogs, cats, snakes, bears, alligators, etc.), and many more.