From spiders to heights, we all have things that make us shudder.
Now, one photographer has captured all the things that scare us in an A to Z of phobias.
Isabel Mendoza, 22, from Exeter, has captured common fears like needles or going to the dentist to more bizarre ones such as arachibutyrophobia – the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth.
Researching each phobia at length and shooting the set of images in Devon over four months, the book was a project for her Press and Editorial Photography degree at Falmouth University.
Miss Mendoza said: ‘My inspiration behind these images was purely the fascination and curiosity I have with everything weird and wonderful.
‘I wanted to include some well-known ones that a lot of people face on a day-to-day basis, for example coulrophobia which is a phobia of clowns, and then some not so well-known.
‘I wanted to show a light-hearted way into the world of phobias, by using my skills in prop building and special effects makeup as well as my photography, without stripping the term “phobia” of it’s seriousness.’
From frigphobia (the fear of cold things) to somniphobia (the fear of sleep), the images are pictured in alphabetical order below…
A is for arachibutyrophobia – the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of one’s mouth. This unusual phobia can result in panic and choking
B is for bogyphobia – the fear of ‘the bogeyman’. Adults suffer from it, despite knowing their terror is irrational
C is for coulrophobia – the fear of clowns. This fear has been dramatised in books and films, but full-blown phobia of clowns is relatively rare
D is for dentophobia – fear of the dentist. Around 12 per cent of us suffer from extreme dental anxiety, according to the British Dental Association
E is for emetophobia – the fear of vomiting. It is not widely diagnosed even though it is a fairly prevalent anxiety disorder, according to Anxiety UK. Up to 3.1 per cent of men and 7 per cent of women experience emetophobia
F is for frigophobia – the fear of cold or cold things. Sufferers often bundle up in heavy clothes and blankets, regardless of temperature. It nearly always stems from a negative experience in the past
G is for gerascophobia – the fear of growing old. People with gerascophobia are terrified of their body changing or ageing, and will often go to drastic measures – like surgery – to hide it
H is for haphephobia – the fear of being touched. This is an exaggeration of the normal desire to protect one’s personal space. It often occurs as a result of sexual abuse
I is for isolophobia – the fear of solitude or being alone. Miss Mendoza said: ‘My inspiration behind these images were purely the fascination and curiosity I have with everything weird and wonderful’
J is for jangelaphobia – fear of jelly. This bizarre phobia is extremely rare and normally discovered in chidhood
K is for keraunophobia – the fear of thunder and lightning. People with this phobia may have a very heightened interest in weather forecasts and will be alert for news of incoming storms
L is for ligyrophobia – the fear of loud noises. People with this phobia believe their safety is in jeopardy if they hear sounds others consider normal
M is for misophobia – the fear of being contaminated with dirt or germs. When creating the project, Miss Mendoza had to whittle through hundreds of phobias and narrow them down to 26
N is for necrophobia – the fear of death or dead things. Necrophobics are scared of corpses as well as things associated with death including coffins, tombstones, funerals and cemeteries
O is for obesophobia – the fear of gaining weight. This can become life-threatening if it is not treated
P is for pnigophobia – the fear of choking or being smothered. Miss Mendoza said she wanted to use her skills with props but without stripping the word ‘phobia’ of its seriousness
Q is for quadrophobia – the fear of things that come in four. Miss Mendoza said she does not suffer from phobias herself
R is for radiophobia – the fear of x-rays or radiation. Many people living near Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which erupted in 2011, have developed this phobia
S is for somniphobia – the fear of sleep. This is often characterised by feeling anxious that other tasks could be accomplished instead of sleeping
T is for taphephobia – the fear of being buried alive or cemeteries. It comes from the Greek ‘taphos’ meaning ‘grave’ and ‘phobia’ meaning fear
U is for urophobia – the fear of urinating. It is sometimes referred to as paruesis or bashful bladder syndrome
V is for vaccinophobia – the fear of vaccinations. Miss Mendoza said: ‘I wanted to include some well known ones that a lot of people face on a day to day basis’
W is for wiccaphobia – the fear of witches and witchcraft. Phobias are thought to be caused by a mixture of genetics, a particular incident or trauma or a learned response that a person develops early in life
X is for xenophobia – the fear of foreigners or strangers. Miss Mendoza created the images part of a project at Falmouth University, where she studied Press and Editorial Photography
Y is for ymophobia – the fear of contrariety. ‘In some images I didn’t want the phobia to be obvious so I really had to think of a way I could create this fear so the viewer would actually have to think about what is going on in the image,’ Ms Mendoza said
Z is for zelophobia – the fear of jealousy. Phobias are normally treated with talking treatments, such as counselling and psychotherapy or medication including anti-depressants