Feeds

Why can't we agree on the names for phobias?

Automysophobia, Coprophobia, Misophobia...

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Also in this week's column:

Why can't we agree on the names for phobias?

Asked by Anka Saarinen of Helsinki, Finland

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association is the main diagnostic reference book for mental health professionals in the US and in much of the rest of the world.

According to the DSM-IV, a phobia is a persistent and irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation (the phobic stimulus) that results in a compelling desire to avoid it. This often leads either to avoidance of the phobic stimulus or to enduring it with dread.

A study by the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Maryland found that between 8.7 and 18.1 per cent of Americans suffer from at least one phobia. Yet for reasons unknown, the mental health profession cannot agree on the term to be used for many of the most common phobias. There are 11 names for the persistent and irrational fear of being dirty - Automysophobia, Coprophobia, Misophobia, Molysmophobia, Molysomophobia, Mysophobia, Rupophobia, Rypophobia, Scatophobia, Spermophobia, and Verminophobia.

There are eight names for the persistent and irrational fear of water - Aquaphobia, Caninophobia, Cynophobia, Hydrophobia, Hydrophobophobia, Kynophobia, Lyssophobia, and Nautophobia. There are seven names for the persistent and irrational fear of anything new - Cainophobia, Cainotophobia, Centophobia, Kainolophobia, Kainophobia, Kainotophobia, and Neophobi; being alone - Autophobia, Eremiophobia, Eremophobia, Ermitophibia, Isolophobia, and Monophobia; Odours - Autodysosmophobia, Automysophobia, Bromidrophobia, Bromidrosiphobia, Olfactophobia, Osmophobia, and Osphresiophobia; and pain -Agliophobia, Algophobia, Ergasiophobia, Ergophobia, Odynephobia, Odynophobia, and Ponophobia.

There are six names for the persistent and irrational fear of being touched - Aphenphosmphobia, Aphephobia, Chiraptophobia, Haphephobia, Haptephobia, and Haptophobia; cats - Aclurophobia, Ailurophobia, Elurophobia, Felinophobia, Galeophobia, and Gatophobia; cold - Cheimaphobia, Cheimatophobia, Cryophobia, Frigophobia, Pagophobia, and Psychrophobia; Heights - Acrophobia, Altophobia, Bathophobia, Batophobia, Hypsiphobia, and Hypsophobia; night - Achluophobia, Lygophobia, Myctophobia, Noctiphobia, Nyctophobia, and Scotophobia; red (colour or word) - Ereuthophobia, Ereuthrophobia, Erythrophobia, Erthyrophobia, Erytophobia, and Rhodophobia); thunder - Astraphobia, Astrapophobia, Brontophobia, Ceraunophobia, Keraunophobia, and Tonitrophobia; and walking - Ambulophobia, Basiphobia, Basophobia, Basostasophobia, Stasibasiphobia, and Stasiphobia.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.