Fear, along with death, can probably be listed as being among the chief equalizers of humanity. Everybody dies and everybody is afraid of something, after all. Fear keeps people from doing stupid things and can often be a very good way to keep someone from stepping out of line. However, letting an irrational case of fear and anxiety evolve into a full-blown phobia is far from being sound for one’s mental health. While it can take more than simply giving into the fear to damage someone’s psychological well-being, the fact that certain phobias are more common than others has often been seen as being highly subjective.
The trouble with these common and irrational fears comes full circle with the fact that some people might fail to even acknowledge that they have a phobia, for the simple reason that they’re unaware that the phobia even exists. However, as stated, there are some common phobias out there and it would serve people well to be aware of them. While they are not truly damaging to a person’s mental health, it can still have drastic effects on a person’s lifestyle and interpersonal relationships.
The most common (and arguably the most most stereotyped) of phobias would be claustrophobia. This mental health condition is basically the fear of tight, enclosed spaces. This can include everything from being stuck in a tight traffic jam to elevators. In some cases, people can develop claustrophobia after serving time in prison, where the already-small cells are made smaller by the intimidating nature of the areas surrounding it. To someone with this problem, the fear and anxiety stems from the mind becoming incapable of seeing how much space is actually available and focusing on the objects that define the confining space, such as walls or bars.
Some people theorize that egrophobia is becoming increasingly common as well. Egrophobias is literally defined as the fear of work, but it comes down to more than that. Egrophobia affects the mental health such that the person develops an irrational fear of anything and everything related to the work environment. This can include not only the office structures such as desks and computers, but also more subtle reminders like being part of a team or being required to meet a specific quota. It should be noted that there is no definite proof that egrophobia is spreading, but there are probably more than a few people who would insist that they are developing it.
Phobias related to sex, sexual identity, and sexual health are also starting to become more prominent. Homophobia is, in theory, fairly common, but with varying degrees of intensity. It is believed that, to some extent, everyone that isn’t homosexual has some level of homophobia, though it is the behavior of the more extreme cases that is often shown. Androphobia and gynophobia, the fear of men and women, respectively, are also starting to become more noticeable in contemporary society. These two irrational fears produce similar effects on someone’s mental health, such as an astute case of fear and anxiety when presented with the prospect of achieving emotional or physical intimacy with someone of the appropriate gender.