Most common fears

Top 10 fears and phobias

There is almost no topic to come up with or there there is a phobia for this, but some phobias are much more common than others. These are the ten most common fears in the Netherlands.

In the Netherlands, the fear of spiders the most common. People with spider fear are constantly on the alert, for example thoroughly checking the bedroom at night, and anxiously avoiding places where spiders might be. In no other country in the world is this fear so common, although in the Netherlands there are hardly any dangerous spiders.

The fear of Being locked up or unable to leave. This naturally includes all small spaces (elevators, toilets, MRI scanners), but sometimes also places where you cannot 'escape', such as while traveling on a train or plane, or in a cinema room in the middle of a row. Panic can also strike in large crowds. People with claustrophobia often keep a constant eye on the exits (the 'escape routes') and prefer to meet with the door open. Fear of flying often also revolves around this fear of not being able to get away.

Acrophobia is an excessive fear of heights, that is fear of heights. People with this fear are reluctant to enter a balcony, cross a bridge, get near a window with a view, or sometimes even climb a flight of stairs. Fear of heights can only concern great heights or small heights. It is not always the case that everyone with a fear of heights is only afraid of the view. In many cases the fear revolves around loss of control; fear of falling or jumping.

Trypanophobia is the outrageous one fear of stinging, a condition that sometimes causes people to avoid GPs, dentists, or even major medical treatments. However, if a situation arises where an injection cannot be avoided, the feelings of anxiety can be so extreme that people pass out. Injection phobia, and the related fear of needles or blood, is treatable.

Social phobias revolve around the fear of what other people might think. Everyone is sometimes insecure or shy, but a social phobia can make human contact so difficult that one suffers from it, both at home and at work. Unlike most of the other fears on this list, social anxiety disorder is often a bit more difficult to treat unless the fear is limited to specific situations.

What fear do you have?

A phobia of mice almost always also applies to rats. Nobody likes to see a mouse or rat at home, or even to think there is one, but in people with mouse phobia it goes further. Panic predominates at the sight of a mouse. Often they no longer dare to enter the room where they saw the mouse. Even pictures of a rat or mouse can be enough to evoke fear.

Dog phobia (also called cynophobia) is the outrageous one fear of dogs. Sometimes the fear is limited to certain types of dogs, such as barking dogs or so-called 'fighting dogs', but in other cases it involves all types of dogs. The fear often plays a role in dogs that are not on a leash and that display playful or busy behavior. Sometimes, but usually not, people with dog anxiety have had a bad experience with a dog. Dog phobia prevents people from going out (alone), or visiting parks, forests or beaches.

De fear of thunder often revolves around the fear of bangs, whether or not in combination with flashes. The fear is often already provoked by the threat of thunder. People with this phobia closely follow the weather forecast and avoid seeing or hearing thunder. With an average of 25 days of thunder a year, thunderstorm fear can be quite hindering.

People with wasp phobia are uncomfortable outside during the wasp season. Especially at the end of the summer, when the wasps approach people more closely, fear runs high. Often the fear has to do with the fact that wasps can sting, although it is rationally known that a wasp sting is not extremely painful. Sometimes the fear also applies bees or other crawling and flying beasts.

Anxiety when driving exists in different degrees. If it concerns uncertainty about your own driving skills, additional driving lessons may be advisable. However, when panic strikes in the car, there is an unrealistic fear. Often fear of driving is about fear of a panic attack. This fear can play out specifically on highways, in tunnels, or in other places with no exit, or just from a certain distance from home.

Tips for dealing with anxiety


Try to keep the anxiety from getting worse.

If you are anxious about something, you prefer to avoid all situations where you may be confronted with the fear. Try to avoid avoiding more and more situations, because that makes the fear more and more obstructive.


Be open about your fear

People who do not have a phobia themselves often find it difficult to imagine that you can be so fearful of something that is not really life-threatening. Sometimes people even think they are funny by confronting someone with their fear. By being open about phobias, we create more understanding.


Consider treatment

Phobias are often treatable. The 3 treatment methods with scientific support are: cognitive behavioral therapy (often exposure therapy, so gradual exposure to your fear), EMDR (if there is a traumatic experience with the fear) and Memrec (one-time treatment).

Would you like to know more about the treatment of phobias?

Kindt Clinics is a specialized treatment center for anxiety, founded by Prof. Merel Kindt, professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. Kindt Clinics uses the Memrec method to treat phobias in one day.