Blending Humor with Fear
For years, a number of fake phobias have been popularized on Internet lists and in other sources. Fictional phobias are often a play on the traditional Latin construction of phobia names; arachnophobia, for instance, takes the words for fear and spiders from Latin roots. A fictional phobia uses this construction for humorous effect. A few of the more humorous examples are:
- Luposlipaphobia – The fear of being chased by wolves while wearing socks on a recently waxed floor; invented by Gary Larson for his Far Side strip.
- Venustraphobia – The fear of beautiful women.
- Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia – The fear of long words.
- Homophobia – Fear of homosexuals. This fictional name has gradually become the accepted term for bias against gay men and women.
Many other humorous or fictional phobias exist, and they’re consistently invented by writers, musicians, and comedians. However, while fictional phobias can be quite humorous, they can also be problematic.
One of the biggest problems with this list of humorous phobias is that many of them are a bit too similar to real phobias, and in certain instances, they can seem to remove some of the importance from real-life conditions. They can also muddle the understanding of what a real phobia is. If you’re trying to find out whether a certain type of phobia is real or not, there are a few simple ways to do so.
What is a Real Phobia?
The first thing to understand is what a real phobia is and how it affects a patient’s life. To put it as simply as possible, a phobia is an irrational fear that is held despite contradictory evidence. Arachnophobia is a fear of spiders, and a person with arachnophobia might be afraid of spiders even if he or she knows that a certain spider is completely harmless.
Phobias can be extremely serious and make life unpleasant for the people that have them. In the worst cases, people with phobias might have frequent panic attacks and may be unable to keep relationships due to an overwhelming fear that they understand to be irrational.
Many patients with phobias also have additional conditions like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), which can make them difficult to assess and treat. Phobias need to be diagnosed and treated by a licensed therapist. The therapist will usually look for the cause of the phobia and come up with a plan to treat the condition. The patient will learn various methods for dealing with the stress and the fear that a real phobia can cause.
Understanding the Difference between Real and Fake Phobias
If you’re trying to figure out whether a certain phobia is real or fake, you can check with a psychologist or psychiatrist to find out whether cases of a certain phobia have been diagnosed. You can also do a quick Internet search to find out more information.
If you believe that you have a real phobia, you should seek treatment from a counselor or therapist. There’s no such thing as a fake or fictional phobia that you actually have, so if you’re afraid of something irrationally, it makes sense to get treatment as quickly as possible. Talk to a therapist and ask about treatment options and costs. Some phobias may seem very silly or unreasonable, even to the people that have them – that is, after all, the very definition of a phobia in the first place. Thanks to modern psychiatric treatments, however, there’s no real reason to live with a phobia.