In A Better You, Phobias & Fears

Understanding the True Meaning of Ergophobia


The alarm goes off and you jump out of bed, which allows just enough time to grab some coffee and breakfast and get dressed. Then you are out the door to attempt to make it to work on time one more day. With 40 hours of work every week, and some occasional overtime, it really makes you appreciate Friday when it rolls around. A work schedule like this can be a real drag, but since it is a necessity to pay the mortgage and the rest of the bills, the majority of people in America endure the stress and live for the weekend. A minute percent of adults have a phobia called ergophobia or the fear of work.

|SEE ALSO: Weird Phobias|

What Is Ergophobia?

Having a job causes stress and anxiety in every workers’ life at some point. The majority of workers have no real fear of making it to work or living with the fear of getting fired. Ergophobia is a rare phobia, but what if the very thought of work produces undue stress and anxiety so intense that there is a paralyzing fear of going to work often resulting in physical symptoms? Someone with a phobia like this could not make it to work, regardless of what was required, because the entire environment of a job brings constant fear to them.

Fear of work at this level is called ergophobia. Ergophobia is a mental and emotional condition where the individual has a fear of working and the environment that surrounds it. They fear the workplace environment, the distress of being around the other workers, their performance, the possibility of getting fired, being late, and the hierarchy of authority so that even looking for a job conjures up tremors and dismay.

Someone diagnosed with ergophobia would constantly live with these fears every day until they finally could not function any longer. All of the triggers, including fear of getting fired, not performing their job perfectly, not meeting the deadlines, giving presentations or participating with others that they become paralyzed and can’t go anywhere. An ergophobic is aware that he/she has these irrational fears and unrealistic anxieties, but until they confirm the results with a therapist, the phobia keeps interfering with their life. Most patients with any type of phobia won’t see a therapist until the fears are overwhelming.

When the phobia of work has grown to these proportions, the individual is aware that they have some type of phobia. A therapist works with the ergophobic to get to the root of the phobia. They will teach the patient how to handle the symptoms, though it takes years of recovery. Adults with ergophobia become extremely traumatized and their anxieties are so severe that they display physical symptoms. Physical symptoms persist with an ergophobic as long as there is a threat present. Here are six common symptoms.

  1. Panic attacks
  2. Skin conditions
  3. Increased breathing
  4. Rapid heartbeat
  5. Excessive sweating
  6. Dry mouth

Causes of This Unusual Work Phobia

This phobia is very rare in America and it is a condition that is typically discovered by the individual first. As the stress increases, it is hoped that the ergophobic sees a psychologist or psychiatrist as early as possible in the progress to have the phobia verified.

So, what’s the real difference between workers who just don’t like their jobs and an ergophobic?

Every individual has unique DNA and a variety of life experiences that make up their personality. Because every individual has been contributing to their personality all of their lives, someone with a phobia is aware that they have been developing certain extreme anxieties and fears. An ergophobic has an extreme diversity to work and when the uneasiness extends to the other areas of their life, the anxiety has become a phobia. The ergophobic may not be able to differentiate between the extremes, but they are aware of the progressing anxiety.

Most phobias are the result of trauma that was experienced in earlier years and progressed over the years. If an egomaniac today was bullied, harshly fired or humiliated in the workplace, they could present reasons why the phobia developed. Bullying in the workplace, at any age, could instigate suppressed trauma that could lead to ergophobia, if untreated. So, a phobia of work doesn’t have to originate in workplace stress. Early trauma can be a root also.

Desperate to get over an early bullying trauma?

Here are three causes for the work phobia:

  1. A person who has had extreme negative experiences or was bullied in school could transfer that trauma into the workplace as an adult.
  2. The fear of authority figures, which would be associated with the fear of getting fired is a substantial cause for intense stress.
  3. Any trauma that was experienced by an individual can develop into ergophobia.

If trauma is left untreated, any extreme phobia will lead to panic attacks and other physical symptoms. As already said, ergophobia is a very rare phobia that seriously affects the life of the individual.

Although ergophobia is considered to be an irrational fear, there are rational elements that fuel it. For example, a person may be so stressed that they cannot complete tasks and this anxiety makes the phobia worse. That is why it is so important when an adult realizes that they are experiencing symptoms from stress and fear to seek treatment. A professional psychiatrist will take time to test and work with the patient to treat the phobia.

Learn more about the devastating long-term effects of bullying.

Is Ergophobia Treatable?

There are over 500 phobias identified in the medical community. All phobias are treated with therapy and medication depending on the severity. The medications prescribed to an ergophobic are taken to reduce stress and anxiety so they are able to function in the work environment. Continued counseling benefits the patient in uncovering the layers of trauma and using cognitive-behavioral and desensitization therapies to reduce fearful feelings. Therapists teach patients to “unlearn” their phobia.

If you feel that you might have ergophobia or any other emotional trauma, either from your past or from recent situations, contact a professional psychiatrist or psychologist. They assist clients in overcoming their fears and anxieties as they lead them to building a new confidence in a happy work life.

Workers in the Marketplace

Gallup polls runs a worldwide survey on leadership and employment, and out of 140 countries that participated in 2011 and 2012, 63 percent of workers were not properly engaged in their jobs. In fact, they were unmotivated and unlikely to exert any extra effort in their job. The amazing statistic was that 27 percent of workers were mentally and emotionally just going through the motions. Though Americans complain about their work more than the rest of the world, Canada and the U.S. registered 27 percent of their workers were totally engaged in their work while Australia and New Zealand followed closely behind with 24 percent.

As the rate of unemployment falls, more people are able to find the jobs that they prefer, so there is less stress in the workplace. Work phobias will not be as severe, and they will diminish in number so there will be fewer people caught in ergophobia.

Curious about hemophobia or coulrophobia?

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