A phobia is defined as the unrelenting fear of a situation, activity, or thing that causes one to want to avoid it. The three kinds of phobias are social phobia (fear of public speaking, meeting new people or other social situations), agoraphobia (fear of being outside), and specific phobias (fear of particular items or situations).
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Phobias are largely underreported, probably because many phobia sufferers find ways to avoid the situations to which they are phobic. Therefore, statistics that estimate how many people suffer from phobias vary widely, but at minimum, phobias afflict more than 6 million people in the United States. Other facts about phobias include that these illnesses have been thought to affect up to 28 out of every 100 people, and in all western countries, phobias strike 7%-13% of the population. Women tend to be twice as likely to suffer from a phobia compared to men.

Some of the most common kinds of phobias include fears of public speaking or other social situations (social phobia or social anxiety disorder), open spaces (agoraphobia), closed-in spaces (claustrophobia), clowns (coulrophobia), flying (aerophobia), blood, animals (zoophobia), commitment (commitment phobia), driving, spiders (arachnophobia), needles (aichmophobia), snakes (ophidiophobia), math, heights (acrophobia or altophobia), germs (mysophobia), and having dental work done (dentophobia). Fears of midgets, haunted houses, helmets, pickles, and feet are just a few of the less common phobias and may be considered strange by some but can be just as debilitating as those phobias that are more common. Agoraphobia often coexists with panic disorder.