Working nine-to-five Monday through Friday can be a real drag. Having a job can cause stress and anxiety in almost everyone’s life, but what if that stress and anxiety were so bad that you could barely even go to work? People who suffer from Ergophobia have a persistent fear of work, finding work or functioning and experience undue anxiety about the workplace environment, even though they realize their fear is irrational. They may fear losing a job, not being able to perform certain aspects of their job (such as meeting deadlines or giving presentations) or experience extreme anxiety with any basic task. These fears and anxieties can manifest into actual physical symptoms and this phobia can even be debilitating, making completing any sort of work near impossible.

Physical symptoms of Ergophobia:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Excessive sweating
  • Dry mouth
  • Panic attacks

Causes of Ergophobia

Since every individual is different it’s hard to determine a cause of ergophobia. But, with most other phobias, it’s probably a result of some sort of trauma experienced earlier in life. Getting fired, losing a job, or being mocked or humiliated in the workplace could be a few reasons why people develop this fear. There are many different instances of trauma that could lead to this phobia and they don’t always have to originate in the workplace.

For example, a person who has had extremely negative experiences making presentations in school can have a fear of making presentations in the workplace. This could also be the same with meeting deadlines. A person could have had negative experiences with meeting deadlines in the past; therefore they now have a fear of it in their present workplace.

Although ergophobia is considered to be an irrational fear, there are rational elements that may fuel it. For example, a person may be so worried that they wont be able to complete a task efficiently that it may prevent them from completing the task altogether. This could put that person’s job in danger, therefore fueling the phobia even more.

This is why it is very important to realize you have ergophobia and seek treatment. People that do have this phobia are usually aware that they have it and self-diagnose. But, it’s important to consult with a professional psychologist or psychiatrist to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment of Ergophobia

Treatment of ergophobia can be in the form of medication or therapy, or both. Medications that are prescribed are taken to reduce anxiety in the workplace. A person with ergophobia can also greatly benefit from therapy. The most common type of therapies used are cognitive-behavioral and desensitization therapy. With the right help and treatment, someone with ergophobia can definitely overcome their fears and anxiety. If you think you may have this phobia, seeking help from a professional psychologist or psychiatrist can help you better understand yourself and this phobia. Overtime you can overcome your fears and anxiety, regain your confidence and lead a happy work life.

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