Any phobia is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by an intense, irrational fear of a particular situation, object or animal. Most people realize their fears are extreme, but the anxiety is very real, regardless of how common or rare the phobia. Food-related phobias include the fear of garlic, fear of vegetables, fear of meat and even the fear of food itself. If these sound unusual, consider arachibutyrophobia, which is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one's mouth! Body parts also provide their fair share of terror-inducing phobias. Genuphobia is the fear of knees. Omphalophobia is the fear of belly buttons. But surely the oddest in this category is geniophobia, which is the abnormal - and definitely peculiar - fear of chins! Animals also figure prominently in odd phobias. Ranidaphobics fear frogs, mottephobics fear moths and lutraphobia evokes horror in response to otters. But, the weirdest of these by far is zemmiphobia - fear of the Great Mole Rat, a hairless, sightless buck-toothed rodent that lives underground. Phobias of specific objects are common, but some are less common than others. Aulophibics have a morbid fear of flutes, chronomentrophobics have a horror of clocks and cnidophobics are terrified of string. However, the most perplexing may be consecotaleophobia - the fear of chopsticks. Another consideration: it's not uncommon to have more than one phobia - and conflicting phobias could be a real problem. For example, a man with pogonophobia, the fear of beards, might experience even greater anguish if he was also affected by xyrophobia - the fear of razors! Phobias may also be problematic in more ways than one. For instance, vestiphobics, who have a morbid fear of clothing, most certainly experience major issues beyond the fear itself. Clearly, it would be especially difficult also to suffer from gymnophobia, the fear of nudity. Other phobia combinations might actually come in handy. The anablephobic who's afraid of looking up might not have a huge problem with nephophobia, the fear of clouds or astrophobia, which is the fear of stars. Another odd phobia, which may not be so odd but bears mentioning is pentheraphobia, an intensely disabling fear of one's mother-in-law! Honorable mention for the weirdest phobias also goes to: pteronophobia, the fear of being tickled by feathers; helminthophobia, the fear of being infested with worms: and blennophobia, the fear of slime. Most phobias can be successfully treated. If you - or someone you know - is affected by phobias, consult a mental health professional.
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Last Updated:December 20, 2012