16 Strange Phobias in the World that We Rarely Hear About

By
Heer Khant
8 months ago

9. Ephebiphobia

The fear of teenagers or youth.

Image credits: Pexels

First coined as the “fear of teenagers,” now “ephebiphobia,” is the term used to denote the fear of young people. It is also called “hebephobia.” Sociologist Ray Oldenburg attributes this fear to the generation gap in society. This fear is not new but was also described by Machiavelli. External events and internal predispositions in a person’s life combined with genetics, heredity, brain chemistry, and life experiences cause this phobia.

The assumption that adolescents are inherently dangerous, full of imbalanced hormones, and having no inhibitions causes the modern form of this very old phobia. According to Kirk Astroth, a professor of family and consumer sciences at the University of Arizona, in the United States, Americans started getting afraid of adolescents and their behaviors in the late 1980s. Astroth also coined the name of the phobia from the Greek word “ephebe” which means “a teenage boy who is isolated from the society at 17 to learn to survive on his own and fight.” Later, the boy returned to society and protected the city but inspired fear at the same time. (1, 2)

10. Somniphobia

The fear of sleep.

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An uncommon phobia, it has been observed that it affects children more than adults. The fear of sleep can be caused due to the fear of nightmares or other things that happen to a person only when they are asleep or when they suddenly awaken. The fear of sleep can also come from sleep paralysis, anxiety, experiences of waking up suddenly in the night gasping for breath, or anything that makes a person feel afraid to go to sleep. Somniphobia and insomnia are two different things.  The former is the fear of sleep, and the other is the inability to sleep. (source)

11. Siderophobia

The fear of stars in the sky.

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A very peculiar fear, siderophobic individuals would not like to go out in the night and cannot stand looking at the starry sky. They would usually shut the windows and draw the curtains in the night to avoid catching a glimpse of the night sky. If they see the stars, they may faint or exhibit several other symptoms of phobia like nausea, sweating, shortness of breath, panic attacks. etc. As with other phobias, siderophobia can also develop due to a mix of several factors that affect a person. It could be that they experienced a traumatic event when they could see the stars and began associating the stars with stress and fear. (1, 2)

12. Vestiphobia

The fear of clothing.

Image credits: Pixabay

Some vestiphobes may prefer not wearing any clothing at all, while others may prefer wearing minimal clothing. Wearing clothes, especially tight clothes, can make them feel claustrophobic and uncomfortable. People who have an allergy to different fabrics may also develop vestiphobia. Vestiphobia can also be the fear of a certain kind of clothing like pants, for example. (source)

13. Arachibutyrophobia

The fear of peanut butter sticking on the roof of your mouth.

Image credits: Pixabay

As strange as it sounds, there is a phobia like that. For many of us who like peanut butter, it can get irritating to have it stuck to the roof of our mouth. For the ones with arachibutyrophobia, it can ruin their whole day. This specific fear is not the fear of peanut butter; it is the fear of it sticking to the roof of your mouth. Even talking about it with someone or having memories of it being stuck in your mouth can be nightmarish for people suffering from this phobia.

Although the definition talks about only peanut butter, the same effect can be caused by bananas, Nutella, or other similar things can also make the arachibutyrophobic anxious. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help. (1, 2)

14. Phronemophobia

The fear of thinking.

Image credits: Pixabay

A fear of dread surrounds some people when they sit to think. They can get anxious, may get panic attacks, experience shaking, have a dry mouth, etc. This is called “phronemophobia” and is closely associated with another phobia called “mnemophobia” or the “fear of memories.”

The phobia can be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict that a person fears of revisiting when they start to think making them afraid. A person’s childhood and upbringing can play a huge role in causing the phobia. It stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism. The presence of thoughts can also make the person struggling with the phobia fear that they might do the unthinkable and create problems. (source)

15. Plutophobia

The fear of wealth or money.

Image credit: Pixabay

A rare phobia, people dealing with plutophobia can not only be afraid of wealth or money but also of wealthy people. They might think that wealthy people are “greedy” and “untrustworthy.” They also can be fearful of becoming rich themselves. Plutophobic people might intentionally sabotage their careers so that they do not earn a lot of money or take on low-paying jobs.

This fear can stem from people worrying about the pressures that would come along with wealth. They may think that their family and friends would force them to extend help, or that they would be taken advantage of by other people should they become rich. Plutophobia can also arise from a desire to “protect oneself” thinking that being rich will make them more vulnerable to looters and thieves. (source)

16. Optophobia

The fear of opening one’s eyes.

Image credits: Pexels

For optophobic people, the simple act of opening their eyes can feel like a nightmare. They have the fear of a “what if” consequence should they open their eyes and look. The fear can be situational. For example, many of us would fear to open our eyes while watching a horror movie. There are times when the fear is not situational but prolonged. People might shut themselves in a dark room or keep their eyes closed for the fear of seeing something that can cause them stress or trauma. When they see something they do not like, they can exhibit several symptoms typical to phobias. (1, 2)

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