Whether common or oddly specific, students at UAHS have a wide variety of phobias and fears.

By Olivia Smith, ’20 and Alexa Roberts, ’21

From spiders to heights to pineapple underwater, fears and phobias come in unique forms and affect individuals in different ways across the world and inside UAHS.

Senior Olivia Buck developed her own ongoing fear of injections, or needles called Trypanophobia after watching a horror movie involving a pit filled with needles. According to Verywell Mind, it is estimated that 20 percent to 30 percent of adults are affected by this type of phobia. Buck recalls a time she was at the dentist getting a cavity filled.

“[The dentist] put a needle in me and I passed out,” Buck said.

This fear has remained constant over the years and still affects some activities for Buck today. She wishes she could donate blood, but can’t due to her phobia. However, Buck has no problem with tattoos. 

“I think tattoos are cool so I’d get a tattoo…but not like a creepy stick and poke,” Buck said.

As updated in 2019, the most common phobia of all time is Arachnophobia or the fear of spiders and other arachnids. Verywell Mind also finds that, “This phobia is quite common, affecting as many as 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men.” For some people, a fear response is triggered at the sight of an insect, while others experience overwhelming feelings of panic. A common explanation for this fear and other similar phobias of animals is that such creatures once posed a considerable threat to our ancestors who lacked knowledge on treating injuries caused by animals and insects. 

Senior Zane Wullinger describes himself as an Arachnophobic. Wullinger has had a fear of bugs for a few years and gets uncomfortable around bugs. If he does see a bug, he either has to get away or squash it. His fear has gotten better due to his recent ability to go near spiders in order to dispose of them.

“My life is a peach until I get to a bug and then everything is shook,” Wullinger said.

Ten percent of people in the U.S. have a specific phobia according to Verywellmind. Some of the most common types of phobias consist of social phobias such as claustrophobia and agoraphobia. The most rare phobias tend to be psychological or caused by traumatic experiences. Although most phobias affect at least a small part of the population, there are phobias that no one is currently experiencing. Anatidaephobia is the fear of being watched by a duck or goose, but there is no record of someone suffering from this fear. 

One phobia which is unique in form yet common among people is Trypophobia. This is a fear or disgust of closely-packed holes. Though anecdotally widespread, Trypophobia is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders according to Live Science.

Freshman Ava Nelville said that suffering from Trypophobia is “not fun” from her own experience. She searched Trypophobia online after hearing someone mention the word in sixth grade, and it has stayed with her ever since.

“I looked it up and kinda fell out of my chair” Nelville said, “I dropped my iPad, it was really terrible… I can’t.”

The freshman recalls the moment she found out she had this sickening fear. She said family trips to Florida have gotten difficult.

“There’s a beach walk in Fort Lauderdale, there’s a pathway made out of seashells, and one of the common shell is an oval with little holes in side… those drive me insane,” Nelville said.

Similar to the population as a whole, arachnophobia is common in UAHS according to a voluntary Arlingtonian survey of 160 students with acrophobia, the fear of heights, coming in a close second, but only 39 percent of students said they have a fear. Some of the most rare phobias reported by students were the fear of dolls or Pediophobia, fear of throwing up, Emetophobia, and the fear of mannequins known as Automatonophobia. 

Even in UAHS, there are a variety of fears and even some words to describe fears that no one has experienced proving that nothing is too strange to be a phobia.