NationalNEWSWeird and Wonderful

Australia’s biggest and most unusual fears

If you don’t like hanging out in large crowds you’re not alone with new research finding two-thirds of people have an irrational fear of big gatherings.

According to All About Cats, agoraphobia is Australia and the world’s most common phobia, with 61.67 per cent of people identifying it as their biggest fear.

Agoraphobia is a social phobia commonly understood as the fear of public spaces and crowds.

However, it’s actually a more complex condition that covers an irrational fear of being in a situation or place in which you feel trapped, embarrassed, or helpless, and can even be so severe that sufferers cannot leave their own homes.

Coming in at number two in Australia was arachnophobia. Given the creatures that roam around Aussie’s gardens and backyard sheds, it’s no surprise more than a few people cite a fear of spiders as their biggest phobia.

Around the world, a fear of strangers, xenophobia, was another common phobia many people suffer from with 19.17 per cent of people identifying with it.

While 8.33 per cent of people said claustrophobia, the fear of confined spaces or of being confined, causes them the most anxiety.

There were also some unusual phobias that might leave you scratching your head, particularly among people in the US.

If you haven’t picked up a book in a while you might be experiencing hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia –  a fear of long words. It’s especially ironic that the scientific name for this phobia is such a long one.

If you’re still on the dating scene you be might understand philophobia. Philophobia is a fear of falling in love. Philophobia covers the fear of getting into a relationship and not being able to maintain it.

For those of us who are struggling to get a good night’s sleep, another common phobia is ​​somniphobia –  the fear of going to bed. Also known as sleep anxiety or sleep dread, sufferers worry about getting to sleep all day.

If you feel a little uncomfortable around giant objects you could also be suffering from megalophobia, which is the fear of large things, such as buildings, statues, and vehicles.

Megalophobia can also extend to large animals like elephants or whales and large open spaces like stadiums or theatres.

If you’re not a pet person you could suffer from zoophobia. Zoophobia is an irrational fear of all animals in general, rather than any specific animal.

It is often the case that a person with zoophobia will fear all or many types of animals, a fear that spreads across species and even breeds within the same species, like fluffy cats.

All About Cats looked at search trends to form their list of the world’s biggest phobias.

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Rowan Crosby

Rowan Crosby is a freelance journalist specialising in finance and real estate.