What is Cathisophobia?

Cathisophobia  is the extreme or irrational fear of sitting down and also is known as “thaasophobia” or “kathisophobia”. When someone fears sitting, they may have underlying anxieties about being trapped or losing control.
Sitting may become a source of anxiety because it is simply painful or uncomfortable. The elderly, by example, may need to sit for longer periods simply because they are no longer mobile.
The origin of the word “cathiso” (a.k.a. kathiso) is Greek meaning “to sit” or “sitting”.

Symptoms of Cathisophobia

  • extreme anxiety, dread
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • heart palpitation
  • excessive sweating
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • confusion / inability to articulate clearly
  • lack of focus
  • irritability
  • diarrhea
  • shaking
  • feelings of powerlessness
  • obsession with the subject of the phobia
  • fear or feelings of losing control
  • avoidance behavior
  • headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms

Causes of Cathisophobia

For younger people, the fear of sitting is often related to the fear of feeling trapped. Needing to sit still in a classroom or difficulties with learning disabilities are often triggers for this fear in children and teens.

Older sufferers may need to sit for longer periods simply because they are not able to get around comfortably, once again leading to feelings of being trapped or restricted. Such restriction represents a loss of freedom and loss of movement (loss of control).

Fear of sitting can also result from pain and discomfort or medical procedures that produce discomfort while sitting. This trigger is common, for instance, after childbirth, due to pain from stitches or other side effects of labor.

Cathisophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies.

Cathisophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias

Treatment for Cathisophobia

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Habit strategies to relax
  • Cognitive therapy (CT)
  • In vivo exposure
  • Response prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments


Book Shelf

The list of books below are hand picked by the staff at Massive Phobia. It's a mixture of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Habit Strategies, Trauma Healing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Buddhist Knowledge and Somatic Study. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.