Samhainophobia: the fear of Halloween

Halloween is one of the spookiest times of the year, but some of us get a little more creeped out than others over the holiday that stems from the Celtic festival of Samhain.

Does the Halloween season leave you paralyzed with fear? Does the sight of evil-looking grinning jack-o’-lanterns  leave you trembling? Do the “trick or treating” children clad as monsters, ghosts and witches leave you nauseous with anxiety and fearing that they might do something frightful to you or your home, or even worse, that the vampires and skeletons outside your window are real?

If you are more inclined to bolt your door – with the curtains drawn and lights dimmed on the night of October 31st – than to join the Jack the Rippers and Freddy Krugers collecting candy and throwing eggs, then you may be one of thousands suffering from Samhainophobia, the irrational and persitent fear of Halloween.

This time of year can also intensify a host of existing phobias, including the fear of  spiders (arachnophobia), cats (ailurophobia), witches (wiccaphobia), the dark (nyctophobia), cemetaries (coimetrophobia), tombstones (placophobia) and crowded spaces (agoraphobia).

Do you know anyone suffering from Samhainophobia?

Or have you been on the receiving end of some trick or treating that has left you fuming and with a strong dislike of Halloween? Take a friend of mine, for example, who developed an intense and persistent hate of the holiday after a group of kids slashed his bike tires when he didn’t hear them ringing the doorbell to have their stash of candy topped up.

Do you have any horror Halloween stories to share?

Christina Ricci is one of many celebrities suffering from a Halloween-related phobia, plasmophobia: the fear of ghosts. Other celebrities who have phobias include Woody AllenBilly Bob Thornton and Justin Timberlake.

Read our spine-chilling article about zombies: Could the Walking Dead become a reality?

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Is Jennifer Aniston a commitment phobic?

She is undoubtedly one of the most sought after and desired women in Hollywood: At age 41 Jennifer Aniston puts most women to shame when it comes to style, body and beauty. Yet she has not been in serious, long-term relationships since her painfully public divorce from Brad Pitt.

Jennifer’s dating pattern (for the most part) since the 2005 divorce has seen her in relationships with a string of men that never seem to last longer than a couple of months.

Her relationships with co-star Vince Vaughn in 2006 lasted a year, however she cited a long distance relationship as the reason for their break up. Her other longer relationship was with singer John Mayer, whom she reportedly dated for almost a year in 2008-2009, whosdatedwho.com reports. Jen reportedly ended the relationship with him because he was spending too much time on Twitter, constantly updating his status and not paying enough attention to the relationship.

And then we must mention other short-lived romances, including with Paul Sculfor, Gerald Butler and Orlando Bloom. This isn’t even to mention the countless dates she has been on. Despite having a seemingly endless line of men with a desire to date her, Jennifer cannot stay in a relationship, and seems to be quick to find reasons to end them.

Is she a commitment phobic?

According to fear-phobia-release.com, one reason people cannot commit to a serious relationship “because he or she is either afraid of rejection or extreme humiliation.

“Maybe the person has been emotionally wounded several times and suffers from the trauma of getting involved into a relationship once more.”

An apparent defense mechanism prevents the individual from letting the relationship get serious, and already has one foot out the door when it begins to.

“Even though Jen’s dating life hasn’t been perfect, she’s not a bitter person who looks back with regrets,” ivillage.com quotes a source close to Jennifer as saying. “Jen is excited about the new year and curious to see what this year will bring.”

So far: dates with Harry Morton and ‘Cougar Town’ star Josh Hopkins.

Jennifer is America’s sweetheart, and when reading in the media about her and her dating life, it is clear the public is so keen for her to find a man and settle down and fulfill one of her biggest dreams in life: having a family.

Other celebrities who have phobias include Woody Allen, Christina Ricci, Billy Bob Thornton and Justin Timberlake.

Images: PR Photos

Phobias: an overview

What are phobias, and who has them?

Fear is a natural and normal response to something we may perceive as a danger, and is a part of every single one of us. People suffering from varied phobias try to avoid what they are afraid of (as long as what they are afraid of is something avoidable and of no or little harm) so that can avoid reactions to phobias. Some of these may include panic attacks, shortness of breath, trembling, rapid heartbeat and a strong desire to get away (the flee response).

Here are some common and uncommon phobias in a nutshell:

Acrophobiathe fear of heights

Aquaphobiathe fear of water

Arachnophobiathe fear of spiders

Ataxophobiathe fear of disorder

Aviophobiathe fear of flying

Botanophobiathe fear of plants

Chiclephobiathe fear of chewing gum

Claustrophobiathe fear of enclosed spaces

Coulrophobiathe fear of clowns

Eisoptrophobiathe fear of seeing oneself in the mirror

Hapophobiathe fear of being touched

Swinophobiathe fear of pigs

Taurophobiathe fear of bulls and cows

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Celebrities who have particularly many phobias include:

Images: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1260756 , http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1238813

Count on acupuncture to deal with anxiety during dental treatment

A recent study has revealed that acupuncture could be the answer to deal with the anxiety faced by many people at the time of dental checkups. According to www.sciencedaily.com, one patient out of every 20 patients suffers from extreme fear and restlessness while one-third of total number of patients become moderately anxious at the mention of getting dental checkups or any dental treatment.

As per www.in.com, the study was based on a questionnaire called the Back Anxiety Inventory (BAI) where in a number of patients were studied upon who were in their 40s and had been suffering from moderate to extreme anxiety attacks for many years of their lives at the mention of visiting a dentist. The score of BAI was analysed before as well as after the treatment of acupuncture at the gap of five minutes.

Apparently, the score rate saw a dip from 26.5 to 11.5 in all the patients and thereafter the patients underwent the dental treatment with much ease. Even the patients, who were suffering from extreme anxiety and had to undergo the treatment with a lot of efforts from the dentist, got the treatment done calmly. Dentists call this anxious state of patients- Odontophobia.

The team of researchers concluded by saying “acupuncture prior to dental treatment has a beneficial effect on the level of anxiety in patients with dental anxiety”.

Celebrities who are plagued by phobias include Justin TimberlakeChristina RicciWoody Allen and Billy Bob Thornton.

Images: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1237145, http://www.sxc.hu/photo/825231

A shot of anesthetic can cure phobias

A recent study has found that giving a shot of a small amount of common anesthetic into the cerebellum part of the brain can rid one of all types of phobias. According to www.mynews.in, cerebellum is that part of brain which controls and manages all kinds of emotions in people including pleasure and pain. The research was conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Hiroshima on a couple of goldfishes. Apparently, Cerebellum of goldfishes is responsible for the learning and movement abilities.

Speaking about the new discovery that can lead to major achievements to cure phobias, Professor Masayuki Yoshida, one of the main researchers said ‘The goldfish soon became afraid of the flash of light because, whether or not we actually gave them a shock, they had quickly learned to expect one’

Aviophobia

Aviophobia

As per www.story.argentinastar.com, it was discovered that the fishes which were given a shot of anaesthetic lidocaine in the cerebellum had a stable rate of heart beat and did not show any signs phobia when the researchers flashed the light on them.  The study was recently made available in the journal called Behaviour and Brain Functions.

Celebrities who are plagued by their phobias include Justin TimberlakeChristina RicciWoody Allen and Billy Bob Thornton.

Images: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1224758; http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1192080

Taurophobia: the fear of bulls and cows

To have a fear of animals is an age-old thing and has affected many people for countless years. Animal fears can include common fears like that of dogs, snakes or spiders. Taurophobia is the fear of cows and bulls. In this phobic condition, the sufferer feels helpless and tries to run away from that situation when he cannot face it.

Famous American singer and songwriter Lyle Lovett suffers from taurophobia. He is afraid of bulls and cows because of an experience he had.

Taurophobia is usually accompanied by panic attacks and is of a recurring nature. This phobic situation comes with the possibility of returning at any stage of life, so one should learn how to deal with such fears.

Fear of cows can be considered irrational and unnatural because cows are docile animals and they are not of aggressive nature.

After being trampled by a bull in 2002, Lyle Lovett developed a fear of cows and bulls, a fear that has tortured him ever since. He was actually caught by a bull and rammed into the fence in his uncle’s farm and since that day he could not overcome this fear.

With such fear and hatred for cows, you won’t find Lyle Lovett anywhere near them.

A phobia of cows is can be quite intense, however there is no with no actual threat or danger to life. This phobia sounds more illogical because not just seeing but even a mere thought of a cow horrifies them to such an extent that they suffer from immediate panic or anxiety attacks.

Some of the symptoms of Taurophobia include fear of death, excessive sweating, breathlessness, sudden madness, shaking and nausea.

Find out more about taurophobia.

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Vosgienne.jpg, Author: Cyrille BERNIZET

Swinophobia: the fear of pigs

Most of us can easily relate to the term ‘phobia’ because we may be afraid of something; be it dogs, water or heights. Swinophobia refers to the fear of pigs. While this may be considered a justified fear during times of the swine flu, the fear people who suffer from swinophobia have goes far beyond contracting an illness.

Swinophobes are afraid of pigs in general and dislike consuming pork. They are so disgusted by even the mere sight of a pig.

Celebrities have more bizarre phobias that surpass our imagination. Known for his roles in ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, British hunk Orlando Bloom has been suffering from swinophobia for many years.

According to some reports, Orlando might not work in the remake of Orwell’s classic ‘Animal Farm’ because it requires the actors to deal with various animals – including pigs.

Orlando Bloom is so terrified of pigs and in a case when one pig got loose on the set of ‘Kingdom of Heaven’, Bloom turned and ran like crazy. This clearly depicts his fear of pigs.

People suffering from swinophobia usually experience panic or anxiety attacks, rapid heartbeat, trembling, nausea, profuse sweating and shortness of breath.

Pigs are generally considered quite ugly and that forms the cause of this phobia. Even the mere sight of the pig can aggravate the condition of any swinophobe because of what they believe to be their unhealthy, filthy and dirty breeding ways. Others adore pigs for their cleanliness, and even have them as house pets (see George Clooney).

The main question that occupies our minds is if we can cure phobias and the answer comes in affirmative. The best treatment for swinophobia is the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is considered as an ideal therapy to cure any kind of phobia.

Celebrities who are plagued by their phobias include Justin TimberlakeChristina RicciWoody Allen and Billy Bob Thornton.

Images: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:XN_Sus_domesticus_Animal_husbandry_912.jpg,
Author: Guido Gerding; and

Eisoptrophobia: the fear of seeing oneself in a mirror

Eisoptrophobia is the fear of seeing yourself in mirrors.  Former Baywatch babe Pamela Anderson is actually scared of her own reflection and also hates seeing herself on television.

Many eisoptrophobia sufferers are of the opinion that a mirror will put you in direct contact with some superstitious power. Sufferers experience undue anxiety and panic attacks despite knowing the fact that it is not going to harm them. Eisoptrophobia can also come in the form of watching videos of oneself.

Psychologysuite.com quotes Pamela Anderson as once having said in an interview: “I have this phobia – I don’t like mirrors, and I don’t watch myself on television.

“If anything comes on, I make them shut it off, or I leave the room.”

The best way to deal with fear of your own reflection is to undergo cognitive behavioral therapy or hypnotherapy. Some of the most common signs of this fear of mirrors include rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling and anxiety.

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Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mirror.jpg, Author: Cgs

Source: English Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Mirror.jpeg

Botanophobia: the fear of plants

Botanophobia describes an individuals’s irrational fear of plants: whether it be trees or pot plants, whether they be indoors or outdoors. According to depression-guide.com, people suffering from Botanophobia feel anxiety and butterflies in their stomach when they come in contact with any type of plants, whether inside the home or outside.

This phobia of plants can affect people of all ages and genders. Interestingly, 80 percent of the botanophobia sufferers can be cured. Celebrities are not immune and there are some who suffer from botanophobia. Sufferers of plant phobia experience higher stress levels, higher blood pressure, profuse sweating, nervousness, restlessness and increased pulse rate. Botanophobes generally feel anxiety whenever they come in contact with indoor or outdoor plants.

Actress Christina Ricci admitted to British Esquire that she is terrified of houseplants. She reportedly hates indoor plants because they are dirty and she just could not take this.

This rare disorder arises from anything ranging from a horror film to any such related scene on the television. Christina Ricci is also scared of small pets like gerbils and swimming pools. On this fear, according to China Daily, she said: “I won’t swim in a pool by myself because I think that somehow a little magic door is going to open up and let the shark out.”

In addition to other causes, superstition emerges as an important cause of botanophobia because here people might consider plants as gloomy and threatening. Ricci confesses her fear of houseplants and says: “They are dirty, if I have to touch one, after already being repulsed by the fact that there is a plant indoors, then it just freaks me out.”

In the case of plant phobia, a person might have experienced something unpleasant during their childhood, which continues to remain in their consciousness. There are a variety of drugs available to cure botanophobia but the drugs are advised to be taken just to suppress the existing symptoms. Self-help techniques are useful to deal with botanophobia and can be extremely effective to conquer this fear of plants.

Read more about Christina Ricci’s phobias. Other celebrities with phobias include Justin Timberlake, Billy Bob Thornton, and Woody Allen.

Christina Ricci also says she wants to quit smoking.

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Blume_mit_Schmetterling_und_Biene_1uf.JPG; Author: Uwe H. Friese

Aquaphobia: the fear of water

According to a survey, nearly 86 percent of adults and 91 percent of children and young adults admitted to being afraid of something. When a fear becomes irrational and unbearable, it can turn into a strange, funny or even weird phobia.

Aquaphobia is a fear of water and is a common phobia ranging from fear of open water to avoiding bathtubs. This is an abnormal fear because despite knowing the fact that water is not a threat to them, some people are afraid of it. Most aquaphobes are scared of even standing near the pool or riverside and very obviously avoid swimming.

People tend to confuse hydrophobia and aquaphobia with each other, although they mean completely different things. Hydrophobia, despite containing the word “hydro”, which is of water, interestingly is a symptom of later stage rabies.

If one observes and feels a racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating chest pain, loss of control and trembling and is somewhere near the water, then one is suffering from aquaphobia. Renowned celebrities like Carmen Electra, Winona Ryder and Michelle Pfeiffer have a fear of water. Winona has suffered from aquaphobia since she was twelve after a childhood incident where she nearly drowned. She also had some trouble while shooting an underwater sequence for her film ‘Alien: Resurrection’.

Carmen Electra, of Baywatch fame, has also been victim to this fear of water. While giving an interview to Sky News, she said “I get terrified near it (water) and have a panic attack”. She is actually scared of water because she does not know how to swim.

Renowned American actress Michelle Pfeiffer worked with a scuba driver instructor to overcome her undying fear of water while filming ‘What Lies Beneath’ and is quoted by Entertainment Weekly as saying: “I felt like I was in such good hands, I felt ready to take the plunge, literally.”

To overcome the fear of water, professionals say is important to develop a rational mindset along with the awareness about Aquaphobia. It is just a state of mind, which can be easily overpowered with courage so that one can enjoy a fearless and satisfying life.

Other celebrities, like Playboy model Jayde Nicole, also suffer from this disorder. At the Playmate of the Year Luncheon, she said: “I am terrified of the ocean, which is so weird because all I want to do is be by the ocean. I know I’m going to be doing a lot of travelling over this year, so I’m hoping to go swim in an ocean at some point.”

People suffering from severe Aquaphobia can get the quickest and the most effective treatment through cognitive therapies.

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