Honolulu (KHON2) – For our latest edition of Ask Dr. Rupie, we discussed phobias and coping strategies.
The most common phobias are environmental, situational and animals/insects. According to Dr. Rupie, the top 5 most common are fear of heights called acrophobia, fear of spiders called arachnophobia, fear of snakes called ophidiophobia, fear of flying called aerophobia and fear of dogs called cynophobia.
Past experiences can affect phobias, in fact many with cynophobia have had a childhood experience of being attacked by a dog. In other situations, there is no known cause to the phobia.
There are a ton of phobias but some that you may not have heard of before and many that are very tough to pronounce. These include an intense fear of belly buttons, called omphalophobia, Arachibutyrophobia which is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth and Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia is a fear of long words. Ironically, it is also the longest word in the dictionary.
Trypanophobia is fear of needles or injections which have probably made vaccinations extra scary for many. Some may have such strong phobia that they pass out at the site of needles.
Thankfully most phobias can be managed. In mild cases, simple avoidance my be sufficient. In more moderate or severe cases, psychotherapy with exposure therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy can be very helpful. In the most severe cases medications may be needed. It is recommended to seek the help of a behavioral health specialist for specific assistance.
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