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22 Real Phobias You Never Knew Existed

Who knew a PB&J could cause so much anxiety?

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Peanut butter and jelly sandwichPhoto: Shutterstock

Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth

It’s an uncomfortable feeling for everyone, but the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth is a full-blown phobia for some. Some people can handle eating small amounts, but others avoid peanut-based products like peanut butter sauces and ice creams. It can be rooted in a broader phobia like the fear of sticky textures or choking, or it can occur independently.

Plus: Here’s Why the PB&J Ever Became a Thing

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Garlic head and clovesPhoto: Shutterstock

Alliumphobia: Fear of garlic

Your favourite garlic bread recipe could cause a panic attack to someone with an extraordinary fear of garlic. Far from a dislike of the potent vegetable’s taste, people with alliumphobia might start to shake or feel unable to breathe when around garlic, or other pungent plants like onions and chives.

Here are five cancer fighting foods worth adding to your diet.

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Man suffering from anxietyPhoto: Shutterstock

Phobophobia: Fear of having a phobia

Unfortunately, people with this condition are fighting a losing battle: the fear of acquiring a phobia.

Read this to learn more about generalized anxiety disorder.

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Sesquipedalophobia: Fear of long words

Beware: If you have sesquipedalophobia, you might not want to hear your diagnosis. With twisted irony, it is the morbid fear of long words.

The most complicated English word is only three letters long.

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Shower headPhoto: Shutterstock

Ablutophobia: Fear of bathing and cleaning

Cut some slack to that odd-smelling person in line ahead of you—she might have the fear of bathing and cleaning, which is more common in women and children than in men. It often stems from a traumatic past event, and can lead to social isolation.

Plus: 8 Showering Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

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Man driving on the road during winterPhoto: Shutterstock

Dextrophobia: Fear of having objects to your right

With a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, some people can’t stand to have objects at the right side of their body, which could make it hard to drive in the fast lane with vehicles to the right. On the flip side, levophobia is defined by fear of things to the left side of the body.

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Stars visible in the night skyPhoto: Shutterstock

Siderophobia: Fear of stars

You might enjoy stargazing on a clear night, but not everyone gets that same awe-inspiring feeling. Those with siderophobia have a fear of stars, and might keep their curtains closed to avoid getting overwhelmed by how vast and uncontrollable the universe is.

These moon facts will make you look at the night sky differently.

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Math equations on chalkboardPhoto: Shutterstock

Arithmophobia: Fear of numbers

You might have hated math class in grade school, but multiplication tables could give genuine anxiety to people with the fear of numbers.

Check out these corny math jokes, puns and one-liners.

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Man reading a bookPhoto: Shutterstock

Logophobia: Fear of learning how to read

People with the fear of words function fine in conversation, but when shown written words, they could become breathless, shaky, or paranoid. Most people with logophobia don’t know how to read, and refuse to try to learn.

Try these simple tricks to improve your vocabulary.

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Canadian currencyPhoto: CarpathianPrince/Shutterstock

Plutophobia: Fear of money

Some of us might almost wish we had this problem: the fear of money. This phobia can manifest as dread around money itself, the chance of getting rich, or wealthy people.

Tennis superstar Milos Raonic shares the secret to saving his money.

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Ideophobia: Fear of reason or ideas

Those with extreme distrust or fear of reason or ideas have ideophobia. Maybe that explains why your competitive co-worker keeps shutting down your ideas.

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Colleagues laughing at workPhoto: Shutterstock

Geliophobia: Fear of laughter

People with the fear of laughter—not to be confused with gelotophobia, the fear of being laughed at—might hate chuckling or the sound of others’ giggles. Some just feel slightly uncomfortable, but others could start to hyperventilate.

Check out these mind-blowing facts about laughter.

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Fit woman with absPhoto: Shutterstock

Omphalophobia: Fear of belly buttons

People with the fear of belly buttons try to avoid touching their own, even in the bath, and might cover their belly buttons with a bandage or avoid going to places full of exposed navels, like the beach.

Plus: 8 Strange Body Parts and Their Surprising Purposes

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Children boarding yellow school busPhoto: Shutterstock

Xanthophobia: Fear of the colour yellow

A school bus could be deeply uncomfortable for someone with xanthophobia, the fear of the colour yellow or the word itself.

Help your kids succeed in school with these stress management tips.

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Successful businesswomanPhoto: Shutterstock

Eleutherophobia: Fear of freedom

People with the fear of freedom generally can’t do anything without taking an order from someone else, making them much more inclined to be followers than leaders. They might be scared of the increased responsibilities that come with more freedom.

Saying this one word instantly makes you more trustworthy.

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Chaetophobia: Fear of hair

Whether their own or other people’s tresses, those with chaetophobia have the fear of hair. They might hate running their fingers through their locks, or even be immobilized by a clump of hair on the floor.

Plus: 13 Home Remedies for Dry and Damaged Hair

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Octophobia: Fear of the number eight

Experts think the fear of the number eight it could be rooted in superstition, with octophobics afraid of the inescapable—flip the number on its side and it looks like an infinity sign. That could translate to fear of the symbol for eight, or objects in groups of eight.

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Symmetrophobia: Fear of symmetry

A perfect circle is not the friend of someone who’s afraid of symmetry. They might think of symmetry as perfection or extreme beauty that they aren’t worthy of being around. People with asymmetriphobia, on the other hand, have the fear of asymmetrical things.

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Kathisophobia: Fear of sitting down

While you look forward to sinking into a comfy chair after a long day, some people experience the fear of sitting down.

Plus: 10 Things That Happen to Your Body When You Start Walking 10,000 Steps a Day

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Aurophobia: Fear of gold

A fancy new necklace won’t impress everyone—especially those with the fear of gold. They could have panic attacks with nausea, sweating, or an irregular heartbeat when they see someone else wearing the metal.

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Welcome mat on front doorPhoto: Shutterstock

Nostophobia: Fear of returning home

Home might be where the heart is for some, but others have the fear of returning home. These people might have experienced abuse there, or be afraid of shame if coming back is seen as failure.

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Attractive woman smilingPhoto: Shutterstock

Caligynephobia: Fear of beautiful women

Also known as venustraphobia, the fear of beautiful women goes way beyond nervousness or intimidation around someone pretty. Those with a phobia might feel chest pain, get numbness in the extremities, or faint when around attractive women.

Plus: The Real Reasons You’re Attractive, According to Science

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest