Ergophobia: The Fear of Work

Ergophobia: The Fear of Work

Ergophobia is the overwhelming and enduring fear of work. Ergasiophobia, or ‘job aversion’, are the other name for this phobia.

Both words are derived from the Greek term ‘ergon,’ meaning job, and the Greek God of terror, ‘Phobos.’ Ergophobia is part of the disease of social anxiety.

People who suffer from it are reluctant to seek employment out of fear of being screamed at by bosses, or because of performance or social anxiety in general.

Ergophobia is a dynamic phobia since it can be part of several various phobias or psychiatric disorders.

For instance, because of the fear of getting hurt, the victim may be afraid of doing manual labour. However, many ergophobic people are still afraid of non-manual labour.

Generally, many fears of job phobics are fearful of socializing with others.

Naturally, the phobia may be profoundly crippling as the phobic is often reliant on others for food as well as money and may have strained relationships with loved ones.

Often, he/she is also unable to obtain assistance for the disease due to insufficient financial means.

Causes of Job Phobia Fear

Fear of job phobia can affect two types of individuals, including those who have previously held jobs or those who have never worked in their lives before.

This phobia has many underlying causes, and they include:

  • Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a psychiatric condition that can lead to a fear of social circumstances.
  • Fear of refusal: The phobic may have kept a job before but may have been suddenly dismissed. This contributes to his/her fearful rejection, triggering lifelong ergophobia.
  • Ergophobia may result from certain prescription medications or sleep disorders or stress. Weariness and fatigue are typical side effects of prescribed medications for depression. In that, the condition thus becomes a vicious cycle; the phobic may have sought treatment for his phobia only to be given anti-anxiety drugs that indirectly intensify his phobia.
  • Traumatic or damaging experience: A work-related accident or incident, co-worker abuse or bullying, theft, or workplace hostage situation may lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety over results or fear of failure of assigned tasks or fear of speaking before groups may lead to fear of work phobia.
  • Searching for a job often involves giving long interviews and socializing with peers, bosses, and so on. This can be a stressful situation that can lead to permanent work aversion or phobia for someone who is already anxious or suffering from nervous disorders of some sort.
  • Clinical depression or neurological conditions: People who are chronically depressed are more likely to suffer from intense anxiety of work searching. In addition, individuals with neurological conditions such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders, and many more, are more likely to stop work.

Symptoms of ergophobia

Many people have an aversion to getting up and going to work every day.

Still, in the case of Ergophobia, the person suffers from a severe problem — merely thinking about work is sufficient to cause a full-blown panic attack.

This includes the signs of:

  • Feeling dizzy, nauseous, breathless, and sweaty
  • Phobics describe a “foggy” or disconnected feeling from reality. He/she is unable to express themselves clearly or what is being said can not be heard or interpreted. They believe they have drained their mind.
  • The phobics also seem natural to observers. However, internally there is a multitude of responses in their mind. These include feelings of running away or hiding, feelings of weeping, thoughts of death, and more.
  • Phobics may also resort to substance abuse, alcohol, or medications to fight the phobia, in addition to avoiding work. These end up aggravating matters.

Extreme ergophobia causes the phobic to remain away from work for several days, resulting in termination or deterioration. This further increases their fear of work.

There are also other problems, such as strained marriages, divorce, accumulating debt, personal health neglect, grooming, belongings, and so on.

The person can lose their home in many instances, or suffer from extreme malnutrition, and more.

Treatment to overcome ergophobia

The only approach to overcoming ergophobia is to seek support from mental health therapists. However, this is always difficult, since the phobic does not have the tools to do so.

Some common therapeutic methods for this phobia include psychotherapy, counselling, hypnotherapy, and talk therapy with community help. However, their success rates differ depending on the time and duration of treatment.

It can encourage one to find something of one’s interest to pursue work therapy. The phobic may also try to start his/her company or check for work opportunities from home.

It may also help with systemic desensitization or incremental exposure therapy; the client can try to work part-time and gradually increase the hours before full time is reached. These are a couple of ways to overcome ergophobia.

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