5 'iFears' for the 21st Century

You really can have a fear of Facebook, experts say.

ByABC News
April 29, 2014, 2:36 PM
Nearly 20 million Americans admit to having a phobia.
Nearly 20 million Americans admit to having a phobia.
Getty Images

April 29, 2014— -- intro: Arachnophobia is so last century. Nowadays, we have things far trendier to fear than spiders.

Tweet Chat Today at 1 p.m. ET on Facing Phobias

"Any thing or situation can cause so much anxiety that it rises to the level of a phobia," said Dr. Jesse Contovasilis, a psychiatrist at Stony Brook University Hospital in Long Island, New York. "If it's something you constantly think about and worry about, it could be a phobia."

Here are 5 phobias that didn’t exist before we became a world of Web surfers and app addicts.

quicklist: 1category: 5 'iFears' for the 21 Centurytitle: Nomophobiaurl:text: If the thought of your mobile device doing a disappearing act makes your hands go clammy, you might have nomophobia.

One way to cope is to invest in a good "find my phone" app. Or, if the terror is too great, consider exposure therapy where you will first be asked to imagine being without your phone and then go for longer and longer periods without your phone in sight.

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quicklist: 2category: 5 'iFears' for the 21 Centurytitle: Editiovultaphobia url:text: Taken from the Latin words for "face" and "book," the word editiovultaphobia translates to "fear of Facebook." Whether it's Facebook you dread or you’ve got the Twitter jitters, anxiety over social media can be very real, Contovasilis said.

While older folks sometimes stress over how to use the technology, teens can experience high levels of anxiety when embarrassing pictures go viral or they endure some form of cyber-bullying, Contovasilis said, adding that the younger generation often continues to surf social sites even when their qualms meet the threshold of a phobia because it's their social norm.


quicklist: 3category: 5 'iFears' for the 21 Century title: Ipovlopsychophobiaurl:text: Selfies are everywhere these days. And that's a bummer if you've got ipovlopsychophobia: a fear of selfies.

Actually, being camera shy to the point of apprehension is as old as the camera itself. Many cultures, including American Indians, believed that photographs imprisoned the soul. In this century, those who avoid the camera typically do so because of poor self-image, Contovasilis said.

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quicklist: 4category: 5 'iFears' for the 21 Centurytitle: Cyberathazagoraphobiaurl:text: This is the term for the fear of losing one's password.

Given the head banging number of passwords we're asked to remember, it's no wonder that a growing number of people feel phobic about forgetting their strings of coded characters. A Microsoft study found that the average internet user has at least 25 different password protected accounts requiring them to recall at least eight passwords a day. And another analysis by Xato.net found that the average person would rather compromise their information than face another security question about their first pet.

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quicklist: 5category: 5 'iFears' for the 21 Centurytitle: Methylchloroisothiazolinonephobiaurl:text: OMG, that's a long word for the fear of texting.

Considering the average smartphone owner aged 18 to 24 sends over 2,022 texts per month and receives another 1,831 texts, according to the marketing company Experian, it's no wonder that all that messaging has become so maddening for some.

There is an entire Facebook page devoted to this condition, which you can check out yourself if you don’t suffer from editiovultaphobia. However, it's not even clear this is a real condition since no major psychological organizations include the term in their literature. If it's a phony phobia, well then LOL.


quicklist: 6category: 5 'iFears' for the 21 Centurytitle: Tweet Chat Today at 1 p.m. ET on Facing Phobiasurl:text: Some of these phobias are slightly tongue in cheek. But a true phobia -- experienced by about 5 percent of the population according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America -- is no laughing matter. If you're so overwhelmed by fear of any object or situation that it affects your life and you can no longer function normally, then it’s time to seek professional help, Contovasilis said.

Although you won't find specific medical advice on today’s ABC Health "Facing Phobias" Tweet chat, it will be an informative discussion. The chat will be moderated by Dr. Richard Besser, chief health and medical correspondent for ABC News. We’ll also be joined by experts, advocates, researchers and patients.

Connect with us today at 1 p.m., ET. If you've never participated in a Tweet chat before, here’s everything you need to know to get up and running. media: 23499640