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Top 10 Most Common Phobias

VO: Rebecca Brayton
They may be irrational, but they’re very real fears. Whether you refuse to go up in an airplane, can’t stand the thought of climbing a ladder, are terrified of your neighbor’s pooch or get cold sweats every time you give blood; you’re not alone. Phobias are very common: some come to us thanks to evolution, while others occur because of past experiences. But they all have the power to scare the bejeezus out of us. In this video, counts down our picks for the top 10 common phobias. Special thanks to our users roxy, IrisFan FanIris, Legionleader, Walter Johnson and Sam Moyson for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Common Phobias

They may be irrational, but they’re very real fears. Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 common phobias.

#10: Cynophobia
Fear of: Dogs

For some, he’s man’s best friend; for others he’s their worst nightmare. Usually caused by a negative past experience, fears of dogs or cats are the most common animal phobias. Some sufferers only fear certain breeds, while others are just afraid of a dog’s bite; but most are diagnosed between the ages of 5-9 and experience shortness of breath, palpitations, nausea and more at the sight of a canine.

#9: Trypanophobia
Fear of: Injections/Needles

While most kids aren’t huge fans of needles, some adults never grow out of their fear of medical procedures that involve injections – and avoid them as a result, which can be dangerous for their health. If confronted by their fear, sufferers can expect an immediate rise in heart-rate and blood pressure, followed by such a fast drop-off they may pass out – and in extreme cases even die.

#8: Social Anxiety Disorder/Glossophobia
Fear of: Social Situations/Public Speaking

These phobias can significantly impact day-to-day life: in fact, social phobias are so dangerous; they can cause people to develop drinking and drug habits, eating disorders and more as a form of self-medication. The potential humiliation, embarrassment and all-too-real grief caused by entering various social situations, and speaking in front of people, more commonly causes blushing, sweating, nausea, stammering and panic attacks – and it’s very difficult to overcome.

#7: Thanatophobia/Necrophobia
Fear of: Death/Dead Things

One is a fear of one’s own demise; the other a phobia of all things relating to death, including funerals, coffins, and corpses. These phobias can develop into an obsession for those cursed with them, with some launching vigorous health routines or attending doctors on an almost compulsive basis. These fears are drastically affected by one’s cultural or religious beliefs and are some of the most powerful phobias going.

#6: Coulrophobia/Pediophobia
Fear of: Clowns/Dolls

They’re both symbols of childhood, but both can elicit fear in even the bravest adults. The basis of both fears likely lies in the uncanny valley effect, where an object closely resembles a human but not exactly, to the point where it becomes creepy. Researchers suggest the phobia of clowns is a relatively new phenomenon, but it is widespread – and for that, we can thank Stephen King.

#5: Acrophobia
Fear of: Heights

You’ll never convince these folks to go bungee jumping, skydiving or even on a Ferris wheel. But it’s one of the most natural fears you can have: tests show that even babies have an innate fear of heights. Not everyone’s anxiety towards heights reaches the level of a phobia: you’ll know you’re an acrophobe if you have panic attacks or go out of your way to avoid high places.

#4: Pteromerhanophobia
Fear of: Flying

Sometimes combined with claustrophobia, acrophobia, social anxiety and even fear of death, the fear of flying prevents some sufferers from traveling by air at all. Though it’s known as the safest way to travel, logic does little to calm the fears of flying-phobes. Most likely not an evolutionary-based phobia, as humans didn’t fly until the 20th century, pteromerhanophobia is sometimes blamed on the media for perpetuating negative situations.

#3: Mysophobia
Fear of: Germs

Judging hand sanitizer sales, this phobia is on the rise. Often called germaphobes, people who suffer from mysophobia are constantly washing their hands, are sometimes afraid of shaking hands or similar gestures and are obsessed with contamination to the point where they cut themselves off from others. In fact, the fear may be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder, and can lead to depression or isolation if not properly treated.

#2: Agoraphobia/Claustrophobia
Fear of: Open/Closed Spaces

Not only is agoraphobia a fear of open spaces; it’s also a fear of crowded areas or anywhere one might have trouble escaping – and it can get so bad, severe agoraphobes hole up in their homes, as that’s their only safe-place. Claustrophobia, on the other hand, is triggered by various situations: being buried alive is the worst-case scenario, but even elevators, trains and windowless rooms are unbearable for sufferers.

Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Astraphobia: Fear of Thunder and Lightning
- Carcinophobia: Fear of Cancer
- Hemophobia: Fear of Blood
- Nyctophobia: Fear of Darkness
- Dentophobia: Fear of Dentists
- Emetophobia: Fear of Vomit
- Aquaphobia: Fear of Water/Drowning
- Musophobia: Fear of Rats

#1: Arachnophobia/Ophidiophobia
Fear of: Spiders/Snakes

It takes a special kinda person to like these creepy crawly critters, but there’s a huge portion of the population that’s terrified of spiders and snakes – and who can blame them? While more women than men claim to be arachnophobic, both irrational fears likely stem from evolution or personal experience. So what happens to people cursed with these fears? Even photographs can trigger anxiety attacks, screaming, fainting and more.

Do you agree with our list? Do you suffer from any irrational fears? Remember, many phobias are treatable so you don’t have to deal with them on your own. For more informative top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to

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