This article discusses Ergophobia or the fear of work.
Ergophobia is an overwhelming, irrational fear of work. The ergophobic individual may fear that they are incapable of handling their job responsibilities and are destined to fail at work. Other people coping with Ergophobia may be fearful of work meetings or committees and having to speak in front of groups of their colleagues.
Sometimes referred to as Ergasiophobia, this word derives from the Greek “ergon”, meaning work and “phobos” meaning fear.
What Causes Ergophobia?
As is the case with all phobias, the person impacted with Ergophobia has experienced an actual trauma. That traumatic experience is that automatically and consistently associated with work.
Maybe the ergophobic person has experienced the trauma and humiliation of being terminated, from employment, due to substandard performance. Perhaps this person is severely shy and withdrawn and experiences intense anxiety when required to socialize or present work related information to co-workers. Maybe the person coping with Ergophobia lacks the necessary skills and training to perform their job and realizes that they actually are failing.
Whatever the cause, the ergophobic person can experience anxiety and emotional turmoil that is completely disruptive to their ability to function.
What Are the Symptoms of Ergophobia?
The symptoms of Ergophobia are individual and will vary from person to person. Some people, when confronted with their fear of work, may begin to perspire, feel slightly uncomfortable or become nauseated. At the opposite end of the spectrum, other people are so severely compromised by this phobia, that they may experience paralyzing anxiety and/or panic attacks.
Other symptoms of Ergophobia may include:
* A Dry Mouth
* Heart Palpitations
* Heightened Senses
* Feeling Dizzy
* Muscle Tension
* Rapid Heartbeat
* Feeling Out of Control
* Feeling Trapped and Unable to Escape
* Intense Feeling of Impending Disaster
How Is Ergophobia Diagnosed?
The vast majority of cases of Ergophobia are self-diagnosed. The individual realizes that their fear of work is irrational and is severely compromising their ability to function on a daily basis.
The ergophobic person may discuss their phobia with the primary physician. Rarely would the doctor diagnosis Ergophobia based on that initial discussion with the patient. More routinely, after ruling out any medical reason for this phobia, the doctor will refer the person to a mental health professional for comprehensive assessment and evaluation.
How Is Ergophobia Treated?
When the fear of work becomes intense enough to disrupt an individual’s ability to function, there are a number of ways to treat Ergophobia.
These can include:
* A referral from the primary physician to a therapist who specializes in the treatment of phobias.
* Traditional “talk” therapy that will teach the person to recognize and control their phobia.
* Exposure Therapy.
* Self-help techniques such as purposeful muscle relaxation.
* Support groups with other people who are coping with this specific phobia.
* Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Desensitization Therapy.
* Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization.
* In severe cases of Ergophobia, anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed.
Ergophobia is an intense, irrational fear of work. Sometimes that fear can become so overwhelming as to completely stop a person’s ability to function on a daily basis. Unchecked, Ergophobia can become a debilitating condition that interferes with an individual’s personal life, their social life and job responsibilities. Untreated, Ergophobia can impact every aspect of a person’s life.