Teenage Phobias on the Rise

Teenage Phobias on the Rise

Andrea Dull, Junior Staff Writer

According to online dictionaries, a phobia is an extreme or irrational fear or aversion to something. Some commonly known phobias are: arachnophobia, fear of spiders; or trypophobia, fear of small holes in large numbers. These phobias have been made popular by the media and by shared recognition among those afflicted. But did you know that there are millions of phobias out there, one for almost every fear? If you’re extremely or irrationally afraid of heights, there’s a strong chance you have Acrophobia; and I’m not talking about your heart rate speeding up and your hands shaking, I’m talking about throwing a fit because something scares you so much that you cannot bring yourself in any way to say go on that triple ferris wheel so high above ground or stand on that observation deck and look over the edge.  It’s just not happening.

So what are some of the biggest fears or phobias here at good old HHS?  “My biggest fear is being alone,” states senior Abby Hetmanski. This is another common fear shared by many students. Online sources present some interesting statistics on teen phobias including when and how they start. A teen treatment center online states the following:

  • “Specific phobias often first appear during childhood or adolescence.
  • Females are twice as likely as males to suffer from specific phobias according to NIMH (the National Institute of Mental Health).
  • Specific phobias that develop during a person’s youth typically continue into adulthood and have the potential to be debilitating or at least significantly restrictive.
  • A study of 1035 adolescents in Germany, diagnosed with specific phobia, found that approximately one third also suffered from depression or a somatoform disorder
  • According to Boston University’s Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, specific phobia affects at least 1 out of every 10 adolescents.”

One thing is certainly true: the teenagers of today have some different phobias than those of teens from past. Today we are more afraid than ever before of what other people say and think of us, especially our peers. This is called social phobia or social anxiety, a disorder that many teens suffer from daily. Another one is Allodoxaphobia, which is the fear of opinions. Our lives and opinions are based almost solely on what others think and how they view us. Junior Isaiah Vennetti states: “Most teenagers are afraid of what other teenagers think. We let their opinions influence how we do things.” This can be a vicious circle, especially for a teen, because nobody can please everybody all the time.

The six most common phobias among teens according to the above mentioned article are:

  • “Heights (acrophobia)
  • Confined places (claustrophobia)
  • Social situations (social phobia)
  • Spiders, scorpions, and other arachnids (arachnophobia)
  • Snakes (ophidiophobia)”
  • Public Places, Crowds, Open Areas (agoraphobia)”

The rise of phobias based on social anxiety fears is not a good thing. Perhaps this is because of more social exposure via online networking sites or the lack of more face-to-face contact.  Who knows? However, teens need to learn that the only thing that truly matters is your own opinion of yourself and your happiness, though this ideal seems to be slipping away from our generation faster than ever before.