What is Decidophobia?
Decidophobia is the irrational and persistent fear of making decisions, and in extreme cases this phobia can lead to an inability to make the simplest decisions or a dependence on externalized decision processes such as “flipping a coin”.
Decidophobia can, according to Princeton philosopher Walter Kaufmann, ultimately lead to an unhealthy dependence on others or such impractical methods and, subsequently, a long term self-destructive pattern of poor decisions.
The root word “decido” is Latin meaning “decision”.
Symptoms of Decidophobia
- extreme anxiety, dread
- shortness of breath
- rapid breathing
- heart palpitation
- excessive sweating
- dry mouth
- confusion / inability to articulate clearly
- lack of focus
- feelings of powerlessness
- obsession with the subject of the phobia
- fear or feelings of losing control
- avoidance behavior
Causes of Decidophobia
This fear may be rooted in a person’s fear of being responsible for others as well as generalized fear of failure.
This fear is often associated with poor self-esteem and may thus be linked to learning disabilities, issues with personal appearance, etc.
Decidophobia 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.
Decidophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.
Treatment for Ablutophobia
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
- Cognitive therapy (CT)
- Group therapy
- Talk therapy
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