Medical Terminology Related to Phobias

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  • 0:01 Phobias
  • 0:58 Acrophobia & Agoraphobia
  • 2:12 Claustrophobia & Arachnophobia
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Don't be afraid now! This lesson defines the word phobia and four examples of famous phobias: arachnophobia, agoraphobia, acrophobia, and claustrophobia.


Every time a news article comes out with the latest poll on what people fear most, the results seem to indicate that we either fear death, or public speaking, or something else more so than anything else. And for most of us, we may fear all of that sort of in the back of our minds. But on a day-to-day basis, we're not really bothered by it to any significant extent. Not to the extent that such a fear interferes with our life activities.

However, there are people with persistent, intense, and irrational fears, phobias, to the point that even the individuals themselves know such a fear is unreasonable and that it interferes with normal life.

Don't be afraid; this lesson won't go over every single kind of phobia because there are so many of them. However, we will define a few of them.

Acrophobia & Agoraphobia

Our first fear is definitely missing from the likes of skyscraper construction workers, high-wire stunt professionals, and airline pilots. Care to guess what it is? It's the irrational and intense fear of heights, or acrophobia. The term is composed of 'acr/o' and '-phobia.' '-phobia' comes from phobos, the Greek term for fear, while 'acr/o' means 'top' or 'height.' Think of the Acropolis in Greece to help you remember the suffix's meaning. The Acropolis stands high atop a rocky outcrop.

Okay, so being a high-wire stunt pro is maybe not for everyone. But we all have to go out and shop in stores, or work in a building, or commute in a train. Some people, however, are terrified of these day-to-day events! They may have agoraphobia, the fear of being in open, crowded, or public spaces. This word has the prefix of 'agora-' in it, which comes from the Greek word for 'marketplace.' People with agoraphobia fear open, crowded, or public places because they fear being in a situation where they are helpless, embarrassed, or trapped.

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