Phobias - the real and the wtf?

So I’m on Wikipedia (not, admittedly, the greatest source) and I happen to check out their list of phobias.

And it’s quite large.

While perusing said list, a small voice in the back of my head starts to go “hey, these can’t all be real, can they?”

So I ask the dopers, are all of these real?

I mean, c’mon:

Macroxenoglossophobia - Fear of long, strange words.
Macrophobia - Fear of long waits.
Librophobia - Fear of having to balance.
Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia - Fear of long words.
Cyclophobia, Velophobia - Fear of bicycles.
Turophobia - Fear of cheese.
Tonsurephobia - Fear of haircuts.
Zemmiphobia - Fear of the great mole rat.
Retrophobia - Fear of old things or traveling back in time.

These just can’t be real, diagnosed phobias, can they?

WTF doesn’t really apply to a phobia since by definition it is an irrational fear.

I recall doing a report on phobias for a psych class in high school, and I ran across genuphobia, which is the fear of knees.

Oh, no! They’re doing that bendy thing again! What do I do??

I’m sure someone out there must suffer from this, and I don’t mean to belittle their paralyzing fear, but it just makes me giggle.

The fear of long words is, it would seem, real. However, that word isn’t it. It now is defined as the fear of long words, but it is actually the result of a printing accident or human error that ran a couple of words together. Cite. Plus, try telling somebody with a fear of long words, what the fear of long words is called…

I suffer - seriously - from Globophobia.

Fear of balloons.

I guess I don’t mean to make fun of anyone who may have these phobias (I mean, spiders and bugs in general give me the freakin’ skeevies, but I wouldn’t classify myself as having a phobia about them), but some of these just seem so … unreal. Not only that, but the names associated with them.

Macroxenoglossophobia - that is a very strange word. So why complicate matters for those who actually have this fear?

Retrophobia - Ok I can understand the “old things”, but the travelling back in time?

Glad to see that adam yax cleared up the “long words phobia” because that seemed the most egregious.

Zemmiphobia - This, I just don’t know. How many people actually encounter a great mole rat in their lives? But, in honor of this word, I have just named my Fantasy Football team the Bend Zemmiphobiacs. :slight_smile:

I think they probably are real. I have partial personal experience with a couple of them. I had an anxiety disorder a few years ago. It made me have extreme energy all the time and I couldn’t sit still at all. I ran 8 miles a day and lifted weights for 2 hours a day just to calm myself down.

My biggest fear at the time - sitting still - and it was at the level of a phobia. I was terrified of being forced to sit still in work or social situations. I was convinced that the raging muscle and brain impulses would cause me to go insane.

This ties into two phobias on the list: I was scared of haircuts. Not that I was scared of the actual haircut but just the fact that I would have to sit still while someone held sharp objects to my head. I would work out extra hard just before a haircut just so I would be exhausted.

The other was fear of balancing - because I couldn’t stay still, I couldn’t stand nicely and calmly in one place. This embarrassed me once at work when I got called on stage to receive an award and I couldn’t stay still long enough so I told them I had to sit down.

All of this has been fixed now but I can see how people can end up with fears that sound awfully strange from the outside.

My mother’s best friend had a phobia of frogs. She would make her dates carry her from the car to the door so that she didn’t get attacked by frogs. She ripped her room apart regularly looking for them. How this got started, nobody knows.

Not a phobia, but I hate raw meat. I won’t touch it. I won’t even pick up the wrapped meat at the grocery store. Cooked meat is less disgusting, but only barely so. I don’t eat much meat, only chicken.

''What do you mean, he don’t eat no meat?" Voula cries out as the room goes silent. ''Oh, that’s OK. I make lamb."

Are there degrees of phobia, or is phobia considered a fear so bad it interferes with your life?

I hate slugs and snails and fat witchety grubs, they make my skin crawl. I have been known to run screaming from a slug. But I’m not afraid to walk outside barefoot, and I’ve flicked snails off window screens.

I hate lotus pods (no, I’m not going to link to a picture of that plant) because something about the pods inside holes just freaks me out. I don’t know what it is, but I cannot stand to even look at those hideous things.

I’m not keen on heights, but I have climbed to the top of a ladder to change a light bulb.

I can understand a fear of heights, public speaking, etc, but a fear of knees? How do such strange fears come about, anyway?

Clowns. Not a problem.

Snakes, bugs and spiders. No worries.

Being alone in a house? A pleasure. Always.

Going somewhere by myself. Fun!

Getting lost in a new area. Figure out my bearings and I’ll make it there.

Getting lost in the bad side of town. Breeze right through.

Car breaks down on the side of the road: either I fix it or I call for AAA or some kind person will stop to assist. No worries.

Got my skirt caught in my undies: what’s the big deal it’s only my panties.

Being stabbed, raped or burned to death does not even keep me awake at nights.

Dog attack. I got a plan and a escape instanteously the second I see the dog’s charging form.

Plane crash? No worries.

Terriorist attack? I live in MIchigan, fer cryin’ out loud.

What cranks me up to 12?

The perfume ladies at the cosmetic counters. They are going to make me by some stinky perfume that give me a migraine.

Home Parties with other women. I go, but not without my prozac.

I had the same problem, but it did go away. It was actually so bad that for a while I couldn’t go past the meat section at the grocery store without feeling like I was going to puke.

My kid’s best friend is terrified of objects that are not the right size, i.e. miniatures or enlarged things like the coin bank that looks like a giant crayon. Is there a name for that?

Also, my kid is terrified of giant bunnies. It’s because of Donnie Darko, go figure.

I’ve got a phobia of vomit and will either vomit myself or pass out if I have to be next to it. I’ll be nervous and on edge if someone mentions their stomach hurts and I’ll be nervous around people for quite a while if I know they’ve been throwing up lately. This one boy threw up all over the hall in preschool and he’s been in at least one of my classes since then. I can’t stand to be next to him, even now in highschool. Then again, I have a photgraphic memory and I still have a very clear picture of him hurling and it going everywhere.

I’m not sure about the knees phobia but I did know a boy that had a phobia of girls and had to take a medicine to calm him down. He forgot to take it one day and was cowering in a fetal position when there were girls in the room.

I’ve read that Billy Bob Thornton is afraid of antiques.

I know a kid who won’t use coins because he’s afraid he’ll swallow them. If he gets change at the vending machine, he just leaves it there.

I’m starting to develop a really gross, weird phobia of other people’s germs, and it’s scaring me.

(Because of course, you know, I needed another irrational fear on top of growing old, the dark, heights, closed spaces, ghosts, aliens, death…)

I wonder if there’s a name for one of my most irrational fears - the fear of seeing OTHER people on heights. I absolutely cannot watch someone on a ladder, a high scaffold, perched on a ledge, etc. When my housekeeper cleans my windows, I have to leave the room. I live on the 4th floor, and the windows are rather large with a narrow ledge both inside and outside the window. To clean the lower half, she sits with one leg on each side of the window. To clean the upper half, she stands with one foot inside, and one foot outside. Either situation drives me absolutely batty, and I have to leave the room until she’s done. She’s completely unfazed by this act, and sees no real risk in it - she’s always holding on tightly with one hand while she cleans, and has been doing it for years but… gah, I can’t stand it.

Another good example is the day my mother and I went to Fort Tyron in New York. There was a low wall that had about a 20 foot drop on the other side. She sat down on the wall so that I could take her picture. I had to point the camera in her vicinity and look away while I took the shot; I simply couldn’t handle watching her sit there. When she turned to sit sideways with her feet also on the wall, I nearly lost it and snapped off a quick series of shots before finally pleading with her just to get down. She thought it was hilarious. I was in a cold sweat.

Well, I’m not really going to say that the list is bullshit. First off, there is a certain noteriety to being able to describe or define a new pathology - so there is (for want of a better term) a market for new phobia names.

I don’t see it on the list the OP linked, or on the list, either, but I know there’s at least one other Doper who shares my most devastating phobia. Acrophobia and claustrophobia are things I have to deal with, and the claustrophobia made riding the subway at rush hour Hell, but it’s something that one can label, and people will understand or accept.

Trying to explain that the idea of anyone or any thing touching my belly button makes me want to curl up into a foetal ball… that makes no sense to most people. Even prefacing it with the words: “This is an irrational fear, no reason for it, but,” doesn’t stop jokers from wanting to poke my belly.

Anyways, what I’m trying to say is that a relatively few cases of a specific fear and suddenly someone will write a paper about it. At which point it becomes an ‘official’ phobia.

It’s tough. My mother has a phobia that makes it unpleasant to have her as a passenger in a vehicle, downright scary to have her as a driver, and it caused enough stress to ruin the first time my living relatives got together for a rare visit. There are times I want to tear my hair out and shout “Get over it, there’s nothing to be afraid of.” I don’t tell her to “get over it” though because she can’t help it. She feels bad enough as it is and doesn’t need me adding to the stress so instead I offer words of encouragement. I guess a lot of people don’t understand what a phobia really is Otaku. I bet if they did they wouldn’t try to poke you in the stomach.

I used to have a phobia of dogs. I got bit in the face by a doberman when I was 4 and for many years afterwards I was terrified of any canine. When I was 8 a tiny little toy poodle ran up to me barking and I leaped onto a picnic table to avoid it’s terrible wrath and it had me cornered. The owner of the dog grinned at me but did nothing to help until my mother put that to an end by kicking the dog.