Ahh! A look at 10 unusual fears

By Marilynn McLachlan

What are you afraid of? Photo / Thinkstock
What are you afraid of? Photo / Thinkstock

Fear. It's an emotion that is induced by a threat, either real or perceived, and it results in a 'Fight, Flight or Freeze' response from the body.

Flying, spiders, snakes and closed spaces are among the more common fears shared by many people around the world. It is estimated that around 10 per cent of the population suffer from a phobia, of which 40 per cent are to do with bugs.

However, there are hundreds of much more bizarre fears that can affect people. Today we share 10 of the more unusual ones.

1. Omphalophobia

Spare a thought for those who suffer from omphalogphobia when crop tops come into fashion, as they invariably do every few years. This is the fear of bellybuttons being touched or having to touch another person's bellybutton.

2. Syngenesophobia

Christmas, birthdays and weddings can be a source of great stress for those who suffer from syngenesophobia, which is the fear of relatives. This fear of uncles, aunts or other family members means that sufferers will try their absolute best to get out of attending a family event.

3. Xenoglossophobia

Living in New Zealand's multi-cultural society will be a source of anxiety for those who suffer from xenoglossophobia, which is a fear of foreign languages. If confronted with foreign speech or writing, sufferers can become agitated and have palpitations. It isn't ideal for those who need to travel overseas to work.

4. Trichopathophobia

It's on our head, in our ears, on our bodies and up our noses - we simply can't get away from hair. However, there are people who suffer from trichopathophobia which is the fear of hair - its colour, losing hair or any abnormalities of growth. They may shave their hair, or keep it extremely short.

5. Venustraphobia

The Roman Goddess of Love was named Venus and venustraphobia is the morbid fear of beautiful women. Suffered by men, those afflicted often have poor self-esteem and feel immensely vulnerable around a woman who is beautiful, resulting in intense fear.

6. Politicophobia

Watching the 6pm news can be a difficult experience for sufferers of politicophobia, who have a fear and almost hatred for politicians. Upon seeing the politician who causes the fear on the television, or reading comments they've said, sufferers may want to start pacing, trembling and becoming profoundly anxious.

7. Gnosiophobia

Those who suffer from gnosiophobia have an irrational and persistent fear of knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge can create stress for sufferers as they may be faced with information they would rather not have, or they may feel like they have to do something with it to help other people. Sufferers may refuse to watch television or read newspapers for fear they may learn something new.

8. Apeirophobia

Groundhog Day is a horror movie for those who suffer from apeirophobia - the fear of infinity. It can manifest in different ways, such as the fear of living for eternity, or space that goes on and on forever and the fear of things never ending.

9. Melanophobia

Those who have melanophobia suffer from the irrational fear of the colour black. They will take active steps to avoid it such as not having black items in the home.

10. Ephebiphobia

In his book The Politically Incorrect Guide to Teenagers, popular parenting author Nigel Latta writes, "...you think you've got a pretty good handle on this parenting thing - then along comes Mother Nature with her horrible hormones and suddenly you're so far behind square one you're starting to wonder if this raging bundle of contradictions screaming at you was switched in the night by evil aliens."

If a mainstream expert has that opinion of teens then it's hardly surprising that people can suffer from ephebiphobia, or the fear of teenagers. It is the 'inaccurate, exaggerated and sensational characterisation of young people', and sufferers will develop symptoms of anxiety when confronted with a teen, fearing non-compliant and rude behaviour.

- nzherald.co.nz

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