Even though many of us like to think of ourselves as fearless, the fact of the matter is that we can often be irrationally afraid of both the silliest and the most serious things. These phobia statistics show us just how prevalent phobias are in people’s lives, as well as that having a phobia is not the end of the world.
With education, a good support network, and professional help, you too can live your life without any kind of phobia holding you back.
Top 10 Phobia Statistics:
- 25% of people said they worry about accidentally sending a sensitive email to the wrong person while at work.
- Almost 17% of people who develop a social phobia also develop depression.
- Only 20% of those who seek treatment for specific phobias recover completely.
- Almost 30% of Democrats are afraid of critters and snakes, while only around 20% of Republicans are.
- 60.6% of Americans were afraid of a corrupt government in 2016, according to stats on phobias.
- The fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias in the US, with 32% of Americans suffering from it.
- Myth: Avoiding the phobia is the ideal way to solve the problem.
- Myth: Once you have a phobia, you’re stuck with it for life.
- Agoraphobia, social phobia, claustrophobia, and height phobia are the top four most common types of phobia.
- For most people, phobias stem from childhood and adolescence.
General Phobia Statistics
1. Only 23% of people who suffer from a social phobia actually treat it.
These statistics are surprising, given the fact that social phobia is common among all ages. It tends to stem from early adolescence, with 95% of people saying they started experiencing social phobia before the age of 20. Almost 40% said theirs started before the age of 10.
2. Women are more prone to having phobias than men: 66% vs. 34%, according to a study from 2019.
Phobia facts from the same study show that 45% of those who have phobias are under 18. Moreover, 44% belong to the 18–34 age group, while 6% belong to the 35–49 age group. The percentage of those suffering from phobias between the ages of 50 and 64 is low, as well as of those above the age of 65 (3% and 2%, respectively).
3. 25% of people said they worry about accidentally sending a sensitive email to the wrong person while at work.
The prevalence of phobias at work is evident in other situations, too. 19% of people worry they’ll be found out for not being good at their job, and 21% are scared they’ll accidentally open an inappropriate website while surfing the internet for work. 23% fear being fired, even though they have no real reason to worry.
4. Only 20% of those who seek treatment for specific phobias recover completely.
That being said, it’s important to note that most people don’t seek any treatment for the specific phobias they have. The most common phobias that torment people are the fear of animals, of the environment, of incontinence, and of death. Claustrophobia statistics say that the fear of confined spaces and the fear of certain objects (like bridges) are also fairly common.
5. Almost 17% of people who develop a social phobia also develop depression.
This is because many of those who suffer from some kind of social phobia treat it with illegal drugs (17%) and alcohol (19%) instead of seeking professional help. Even though medication is necessary for most people to get better, illegal drugs and alcohol do not solve the problem.
Phobia statistics in America
6. Almost 30% of Democrats are afraid of critters and snakes, while only around 20% of Republicans are.
(The Washington Post)
The statistics for the two opposing parties have the same pattern for other fears, too. Democrats are more afraid of blood and needles (21% vs. 14%), strangers (around 14% vs. around 8%), and even ghosts (around 8% vs. around 6%). Both parties are almost equally afraid of enclosed spaces (a bit less than 20%).
7. The fear of public speaking statistics reveal that 26% of Americans suffer from this phobia.
(The Washington Post)
As public speaking is one of the most common phobias in the world, it’s not a surprise that it’s first on the list of fears of Americans. Around 24% are afraid of heights, while almost the same percentage of the population fears snakes, bugs, and other animals.
8. 79% of Americans see the spread of infectious diseases as a major threat, making this fear the top national concern.
(Pew Research Center)
73% of Americans are concerned about both terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons. According to the same fear statistics, some other events they perceive as major threats to their country are China’s influence and power (62%), climate change (60%), and the condition of the global economy (55%).
9. 60.6% of Americans were afraid of a corrupt government in 2016, according to stats on phobias.
As 2016 was an election year, many Americans seemed uncertain of the future. Aside from corruption, they feared not having enough money (39.9%), financial and economic collapses (37.5%), and potential restrictions on ammunition and firearms (38.5%).
10. The fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias in the US, with 32% of Americans suffering from it.
Acrophobia statistics reveal that 24% of Americans are afraid of heights, putting this phobia on the same list of common fears. The fear of public speaking and spiders also made it to that list, with 20% and 19% of the population admitting to them, respectively.
11. 79% of US adults admitted to having a fear of mass shootings in 2019.
Public spaces were (and still are) a potential threat to Americans, with 53% being afraid of going to events, 50% of going to the mall, and 42% of going to school or university. The fear of mass shootings also made 38% of Americans rethink going to the movies. Only 21% said they aren’t afraid or stressed out about the possibility of a mass shooting.
Myths About Phobias
12. Phobias are the same as regular fears, and people are overreacting.
(Mind Your Mind)
Even though it might seem this way to a person who’s never experienced a phobia, it’s just a myth. Confronting a regular fear will probably end in conquering it, but taking on a phobia without any psychological treatment or preparation can just make the person feel worse.
13. Avoiding the object or situation of the phobia is the ideal way to solve the problem.
(Mind Your Mind)
Fear statistics and facts say phobias can be so severe that they impact the quality of a person’s daily life. Just avoiding the problem won’t make it go away, though. On the contrary, avoidance can make the phobia even worse when the person finds themselves in a situation they fear and can’t just walk away from. Learning coping mechanisms with professional help is the right way to go about it.
14. Phobias don’t always have to be irrational.
(The Recovery Village)
When talking about phobias, facts give a clear definition of them as irrational fears, regardless of how justified they may seem. They happen because the fear response that kicks in during fight or flight isn’t perfect at estimating what an actual threat is.
15. Once you have a phobia, you’re stuck with it for life.
(The Recovery Village)
People with phobias often don’t see a way they can overcome their irrational fears, but that doesn’t mean the condition is untreatable. There are several effective treatment options that allow the person to live their life fear-free. Having a strong support network and working with a professional are the two most important keys on the road to recovery.
Facts About Phobias
16. Causes of phobias include particular incidents, genetics, learned responses, and long-term stress.
If a person has a negative experience with a situation when they’re young, they’re likely to develop a phobia about the same situation later in life. Learned responses also stem from the early stages of life, with the family environment having a major role in their development.
17. CBT, counseling, and support groups can all help a person recover from a phobia.
(Mind Your Mind)
While behavioral therapy and counseling work, one of the most successful forms of treatment includes introducing the patient to their fear bit by bit. That’s called exposure therapy, and it may be the best treatment for phobias because it allows the patient to learn valuable coping mechanisms by dealing with their fear in small steps.
18. For most people, phobias stem from childhood and adolescence.
(Mind Your Mind)
Traumatic or emotionally disturbing events are enough to trigger phobias for life. Some people can pinpoint the exact moment they felt traumatized and are very well aware of where their phobias come from, while others have no idea how it all started. Sometimes, the answer lies in anxiety disorders and family history.
19. What is the most common phobia? Agoraphobia, social phobia, claustrophobia, and height phobia are the top four most common types.
Agoraphobia is the fear of public places, while the social phobia is the fear of social situations. People with agoraphobia tend to be afraid of things like buses and shops, while those with the social phobia can often be scared of meeting people. Height phobia is simply the fear of heights, and claustrophobia is the fear of enclosed spaces.
We should also mention that specific phobias are fairly common, and they can refer to anything specific a person is afraid of, like animals and insects, for example.
20. One of the most common behavioral symptoms of phobia is avoiding the object of fear.
(Mind Your Mind)
Other symptoms include being powerless to control the fear, getting nervous merely thinking about the phobia, and becoming immediately anxious when coming into contact with the object of fear. When it comes to physical symptoms, muscle tension, upset stomach, shaking, and feeling weak are most prevalent.
Trembling, having trouble sleeping, excessive sweating, increased heart rate, feeling lightheaded, and feeling like you’re choking can also occur as physical symptoms.
How many children have phobias?
19.3% of adolescents in the US have a lifetime prevalence of specific phobias. Out of this 19.3%, 22.1% are female, and 16.7% are male. Specific phobias are most prevalent among 13–14-year-olds —21.6%. The prevalence for 15–16-year-olds is 18.3%, while 17.7% of 17–18-year-olds suffer from specific phobias.
What is the rarest phobia?
There are many unusual and rare phobias, but according to research, the fear of dogs and the fear of clowns are two of the rarest phobias in America. In a study of 1000 Americans, only 3% of them said they were afraid of dogs, while 5% said they feared clowns. 14% admitted they were a little scared of dogs and 8% admitted the same thing for clowns.
What is Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia?
Ironically enough, this is the fear of long words. It’s also known as sesquipedalophobia, though it’s not officially recognized as a phobia by the American Psychiatric Association. APA recognizes hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia as a social phobia.
Avoiding situations and objects that cause immense distress and crippling fear is no way to live your life. These phobia statistics will make you realize you’re not the only one, and there’s no reason for stigma to prevent you from getting help.