Fears and phobias are not one and the same, a fear is something that may cause unease or jitters, whereas a phobia is an irrational, intense and exaggerated fear and it is considered to be a type of anxiety disorder. There is an innumerable amount of phobias, ranging from fear elevators to fear of sleep and fear of one’s step-mother, however there are far fewer health phobias. That’s not to say that they don’t exist however…
Health Phobia 1: Emetophobia
Emetophobia is a fear of vomiting, and as far as health phobias go, it is probably the most common. Although most people abhor the thought of vomiting, distinguishing between fears and phobias is what matters here. Individuals with a vomiting phobia are often so afraid of vomiting that they will go to great lengths to avoid things that they fear could potentially make them sick.
This may mean no trips to Central America out of fear of foodborne or water borne illness. Or it may mean the avoidance of eating out altogether out of a fear that improper food sanitation practices will be met. Emetophobia can also lead to the avoidance of entire food groups, obsessive cleanliness, the avoidance of hospitals and sick people (even loved ones) and the avoidance of pregnancy out of fear of morning sickness.
Health Phobia 2: Anginophobia
Anginophobia is a fear of choking or a fear of angina. It is most common in people who have a history of heart disease or who have experienced choking or angina. Given those circumstances it would be perfectly natural for a person to have a fear of those two things, however people with an actual phobia of them frequently experience troublesome symptoms such as nausea, breathlessness, feelings of dread, sweating, anxiety, choking sensations, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure and rapid breathing (sometimes to the point of hyperventilation). This phobia doesn’t always begin because of a past personal experience with choking or angina however, it can also appear seemingly out of nowhere. Other times this health phobia can appear from watching a movie or TV show that shows choking or angina, or it can come from watching another person experience one of those traumas.
Health Phobia 3: Nosophobia
Nosophobia is a type of health phobia that relates to an intense and irrational fear of having a specific disease. A person with nosophobia will convince themselves that they have a specific disease even though medical testing proves otherwise. They will also falsely believe that they are experiencing all of the symptoms of that specific disease. This health phobia is most common amongst researchers and students who spend a great deal of time studying up on a specific disease. Nosophobia can be all consuming, and it can result in feelings of panic, terror and dread, as well as rapid heartbeat, trembling, dry mouth and intense
Health Phobia 4: Pulpuslacerataphobia
Pulpuslacerataphobia is probably one of the most obscure and specific health phobias out there. As opposed to agliophobia which is a phobia or all sources of pain, Pulpuslacerataphobia is a fear of paper cuts alone. Due to the obscure nature of this phobia, there is very little research that has been done with regards to its causes and symptoms. However there is an abundance of research on the fear of paper (Papyrophobia), and the fear of pain (agliophobia) and the origin and symptoms are likely similar between the three health phobias.
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These health phobias can cause uncontrollable fear and anxiety as well as immeasurable emotional turmoil. Researchers speculate that a phobia to paper cuts is likely caused by some sort of past trauma, which the sufferer has then associated with paper cuts