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Hypengyophobia: The Fear of Responsibility

Definition of Hypengyophobia or the fear of responsibility. This article provides information on the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of this phobia.

Hypengyophobia is an overwhelming, irrational fear of responsibility. The hypengyophobic person might be self-indulgent, neglecting all responsibilities, to the expense of others. Other individuals coping with this phobia may refuse to accept responsibility for anything and may actively blame others when their failure to take responsibility results in mistakes being made.

Sometimes referred to as Hypegiaphobia, this word derives from the Greek “hypengyos”, meaning responsible and “phobos” meaning fear.

What Causes Hypengyophobia?

As with all phobias, the person compromised by Hypengyophobia has suffered a real-life trauma at some time in their life. That traumatic experience is then consistently and automatically associated with responsibility.

Perhaps the hypengyophobic individual has taken responsibility, in the past and has failed. Maybe in that failure there were severely negative consequences. Maybe, as a child, this person was raised by overly strict parents and learned to rebel against responsibility.

Whatever the cause, the hypengyophobic person can experience anxiety and emotional turmoil that is completely disruptive to their ability to function.

What Are the Symptoms of Hypengyophobia?

The symptoms of Hypengyophobia are individual and will vary from person to person. Some people, when confronted with their fear of responsibility, 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 crippling anxiety and/or panic attacks.

Other symptoms of Hypengyophobia may include:

  • A Dry Mouth
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Numbness
  • Heightened Senses
  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling Dizzy
  • Muscle Tension
  • Hyperventilation
  • Trembling
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Feeling Out of Control
  • Feeling Trapped and Unable to Escape
  • Intense Feeling of Impending Disaster

How Is Hypengyophobia Diagnosed?

The vast majority of cases of Hypengyophobia are self-diagnosed. The individual realizes that their fear of responsibility is irrational and is severely compromising their ability to function on a daily basis.

The hypengyophobic person may discuss their phobia with the primary physician. Rarely would the doctor diagnosis Hypengyophobia 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 Hypengyophobia Treated?

When the fear of responsibility becomes intense enough to disrupt an individual’s ability to function, there are a number of ways to treat Hypengyophobia.

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.
  • Hypnotherapy.
  • 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 Hypengyophobia, anti-anxiety medication can be prescribed.

Hypengyophobia is an intense, irrational fear of responsibility. Sometimes that fear can become so overwhelming as to completely halt a person’s ability to function on a daily basis. Unchecked, Hypengyophobia can become a debilitating condition that interferes with an individual’s personal life, their social life and job responsibilities. Untreated, Hypengyophobia can have a devastating impact on every aspect of a person’s life.

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