… Contrary to beliefs, these irrational fears can be overcome!

Many of us suffer from — irrational persistent terrors, ranging from the common arachnophobia (fear of spiders) to phobophobia (a fear of phobias) themselves.

These rarely affect the daily lives of most sufferers. But at its most extreme a phobia can cause crippling anxiety, preventing people from seeking medical help or stopping them ever leaving their home.

Phobia experts Eva and Nik Speakman enlighten us about the most common phobias in the world and advice on how you can fight your fears for good.


The most common phobia is the fear of public speaking. Nik says: “People’s phobias can be caused by an incident in childhood. “Reading something out in the classroom and being laughed at by your peers can develop into a phobia of public speaking.”


Eva suffered from this fear of heights 10 years ago, but was treated by Nik. She says: “This is another very common phobia that can often lead into other phobias including fear of flying or fear of fairground rides.”


Believe it or not, there is a phobia for people who throw up. Many go to great lengths to avoid people who are ill. Eva says: “The fear of vomit is common and its repercussions can be immense. Sufferers will avoid doctors, hospitals, certain foods, restaurants and pubs in case anyone around them is ill. “A lot of them become housebound because they worry about germs. Or they won’t have children because they fear having attacks of morning sickness.”


The fear of open spaces can be a crippling phobia because it stops people leaving their home. Eva says: “This is people protecting themselves from the outside world because of something that happened to them.”


This fear of confined spaces is often born out of personal experience such as being trapped somewhere as a child.


Nik says: “People can be terrified of hospitals, injections or GP surgeries. The danger is this can sometimes stop them seeking help when they need it.”


Eva says: “Spiders are a big one around this time of year because they come in from the cold. People feel invaded. Similarly over the summer, there is a spike in phobias of bees and wasps, while the fear of flying is heightened when people go on holiday.”

— Daily Mirror

A fear of confined spaces can develop from childhood trauma

Phobia when taken to extremes can be


A fear of heights is one of the most

common of phobia

Many people identify with having a fear of spiders

5 Ways to eliminate your phobia

1 Nobody is born with a phobia. Understanding this can help you get over it.

2 Think about what sparked your phobia. Was it a particular experience or something you inherited from childhood? Most phobias are created in childhood, so understand that every time you have a phobic response you are

actually asking the advice of

your childhood self on how

you should react to that kind

of thing. Instead, look at the problem from an adult perspective.

3 See it for what it is and not how it felt. Look again at the spider and realise it is only a spider — separate it from the feeling of fear. If you struggle to do that yourself, ask a friend how they would perceive the same situation.

4 Don’t over-generalise. If you have a phobia based on one bad event — a flight with turbulence or one bad experience with an injection —don’t over-generalise and blame all medical staff, all hospitals or all planes. We overgeneralise as children and this is something you need to recognise and reverse.

5 Look for positive evidence. People who have phobias tend to look for reasons to support their phobia. Find positive evidence to

downgrade it.

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