The UK’s most common phobia revealed – and it’s not spiders, needles or the dark

It has been discovered to be the most common phobia in the UK.

Many of us are afraid of something, be it spiders, the dark, or needles.


And a poll by YouGov found that of the ten phobias surveyed, almost a quarter of Brits (23 per cent) say they suffer from a phobia of heights.

According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a phobia is “an extreme fear or dislike of a particular thing or situation, especially one that is intolerable.”

A further 29 percent of those surveyed stated that they were very afraid of heights or rather afraid of heights.

That means more than half of people don’t like being too far off the ground.

The medical term for fear of heights is fear of heights, and it doesn’t have to be a skyscraper to cause panic.

Just climbing a ladder can trigger anxiety in those affected.

The survey found that spiders are the second most common phobia (21 percent), followed by public speaking phobia (15 percent).

A phobia is more than just fear. According to the NHS, it is an exaggerated sense of danger related to a situation or object.

It is therefore a form of anxiety disorder that can cause symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, sweating, increased heart rate, shortness of breath or stomach upset.

Some people can live with their “irrational fears”.

But “when a phobia becomes very severe, a person can organize their life to avoid what frightens them,” says the NHS.

The survey found that women were more likely to suffer from each of the ten phobias listed.

About 57 percent of women admit to being afraid of heights, compared to 46 percent of men.

Almost twice as many women (26 percent) are afraid of spiders as men (15 percent).

Researchers have theorized that women are more afraid of spiders because they are either naturally more afraid of dangerous animals or have learned to fear spiders from their female family members.

Phobias can be acquired by children who watch their siblings or parents react to objects or situations in a panic.

This is one of the main causes of a phobia, along with an incident or traumatic event.


georgina striker, A Hertfordshire-based consultant told The Sun: “Everyone has different fears and phobias and it’s not always easy to pinpoint the exact cause.”

“It could be the result of something you directly experienced or witnessed, or the result of an event you were told about.”

“It could be the result of messages you’ve internalized from other people, like, ‘We’re all scared of spiders in this family, aren’t we?'”

Fear of heights may be linked to a childhood memory of being at height and feeling vulnerable, Georgina says.

She added, “It’s often accompanied by claustrophobia and/or fear of flying.”

“All of this comes with worries and fears of being trapped and getting out of control.”

How is a phobia treated?

Most phobias can be treated if a person is referred by their GP to a specialist experienced in behavioral therapy, such as a psychologist.

Simple phobias are often treated with desensitization, also called exposure therapy.

A person is repeatedly and gradually exposed to the object or situation that frightens him.

For someone tall, this could mean looking at photos of tall buildings and then watching videos of them before completing tasks like walking across a bridge.

More complex phobias require counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to help develop coping strategies for the emergence of negative thought patterns.

Hypnotherapy helps reprogram responses, while more general counseling or therapy explores the root cause.

Everyday coping strategies around breathing, mindfulness, distraction, and visualizations are also useful, Georgina said.

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She added, “I’ve found that the ‘five finger breathing’ technique often works for people.”

“It’s also good to understand the reality of the fear, the facts and the numbers – how likely it is that they could fall or hurt themselves.”

Russell Falcon

Russell Falcon is a USTimesPost U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Russell Falcon joined USTimesPost in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing

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