We all have things that scare us. Maybe the idea of death sends shivers down your spine, or small spaces put your brain on red alert. Maybe you’re old fashioned and just terrified of spiders or snakes. Something out there scares you? sure, but life goes on. However, some people carry fears so intense that daily life becomes practically impossible.
These people suffer from phobias—a severe fear of something. To an outsider, a phobia may seem silly or irrational, something someone can just “get over.” But in truth, battling the 20 strange and disturbing phobias below can be a full-time job…
1. Globophobia (fear of balloons): For globophobes, the hit song 99 Red Balloons sounds less like an anti-war track and more like a declaration of war. Experts suppose it’s the potential sound of balloons popping that really scares these sufferers.
2. Anthropophobia (fear of people): Imagine being afraid of literally everyone—shy to a pathological degree. Those suffering most seriously from the phobia communicate through writing only. Face-to-face interactions are just too much.
3. Coulrophobia (fear of clowns): A child’s birthday party is no fun for those who quiver in the presence of red-nosed jokesters. Visiting circuses and Halloween parties probably don’t make their bucket lists, either.
4. Athazagoraphobia (fear of being forgotten): For people suffering from this condition, every day is like being trapped on a desert island with no escape. Friends forget your laugh, your face—you. Your legacy dies with you. Scary, no? Athazagoraphobes certainly think so.
5. Amathophobia (fear of air particles): Even though those suffering from this phobia know a speck of dust will not hurt them one bit, they can’t help themselves. Dust bunnies become dust beasts.
6. Chronophobia (fear of time passing): Sands through the hourglass mean the days of our lives are passing quickly to chronophobes. Typically, this phobia stems from a fear of death, too. Time passing means less time with loved ones.
7. Somniphobia (fear of sleep): Nightmares or traumatic events that happen while sleeping can make a person fearful of curling beneath a blanket and shutting their eyes. They never sleep peacefully!
8. Taphophobia (fear of being buried alive): Of course, no one jumps with glee at the idea of dying six feet underground, but to some, the concept’s paralyzing. To assuage them, experts invented coffins with breathing holes just in case the dead aren’t dead.
9. Claustrophobia (fear of tight spaces): Do enclosed spaces like elevators spike your heart rate? Then you suffer from claustrophobia, the fear of small spaces, like 5 to 7 percent of the rest of the world.
10. Feretrophobia (fear of caskets): Similar to taphophobia, those fearing caskets typically fear death, being buried alive, or getting locked in a tight space, unable to move—similar to those who suffer from this next phobia…
11. Triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13): One might be the loneliest number, but to triskaidekaphobes, 13 is downright terrifying. The number earned a reputation as unlucky long ago and for these folks, it’s honestly terrifying.
12. Chaetophobia (fear of hair): Sufferers often shave their heads, but that’s not always enough—hair is everywhere. One sufferer, 17-year-old Emily White, said, “I just hate the texture of hair… Thick, curly hair or wet hair is the worst of all.”
13. Trypophobia (fear of holes): Though not officially recognized as a mental disorder, trypophobes suffer panic attacks, “crawling skin,” or nausea upon seeing irregular clusters of holes.
14. Pediophobia (fear of dolls): The 1988 slasher film Child’s Play tapped into this phobia, giving the world nightmares thanks to the murderous doll, Chuckie. This phobia also includes mannequins and wax figures—anything resembling a human.
15. Nyctophobia (fear of the dark): When the childhood fear of darkness lingers through adulthood, it’s officially a phobia. More often than not, nyctophobes fear what could happen to them in the dark, rather than the dark itself.
16. Hemophobia (fear of blood): Few enjoy getting their blood drawn, but hemophobes are actually scared at the mere thought of it. Likely gripped by the fear because of an early trauma like a serious wound, the afflicted faint at the sight of any blood.
17. Agoraphobia (fear of going outside): Stepping outside their homes can spur panic attacks that send them back inside again. Agoraphobes fear the outside and events that might make them feel trapped, helpless or embarrassed. Crowds? No thanks.
18. Pedophobia (fear of children): Some experts believe pedophobes fear childrens’ penchant for embarrassing us. An official cause, though, escapes psychologists.
19. Chemophobia (fear of chemicals): Whether they fear the side effects of synthetic chemicals or quiver at a chemical’s chance of causing harm, chemophobes all fear carcinogenic chemicals or chemical warfare.
20. Nomophobia (fear of being without mobile coverage): Researchers discovered that 77 percent of teenagers experienced anxiety when separated from their smartphones. Though not medically recognized as a fear, the anxiety is most certainly real.
Imagine trying to get through life without falling asleep or seeing a clown! These disturbing phobias are enough to make every day painful.
Share these disturbing phobias with your friends below!