What is Ergasiophobia?

Ergasiophobia is the exaggerated or irrational fear of work. (For instance, surgeons would fear operating.) This phobia includes the fear of looking for work as well.

The phobia may stem from a combination of fears, such as fear of failing at assigned tasks, speaking before groups at work (both being kinds of performance anxiety), socializing with co-workers (social phobia), and fear of emotional, psychological and/or physical injury.

Ergasiophobia is considered a specific phobia and it is also spelled Ergasophobia or Ergophobia. It is related to Ponophobia (fear of pain or fatigue from overworking), and can be related to specific task-related phobias such as Tomophobia (fear of surgical operations).

The root word 'ergasio' is Greek meaning 'work' and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'

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Symptoms of Ergasiophobia

  • Extreme Anxiety, Dread

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
  • Lack of Focus
  • Irritability
  • 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 Ergasiophobia

Ergasiophobia 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, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.

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

In addition to stress, some medical drugs or sleep disorders can lead to Ergasiophobia. Weariness and fatigue are common side effects of many drugs prescribed for depression.

Past work related injuries or incidents, harassment or bullying by co-workers, or more extreme trauma such as robbery or violence can lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and a phobic fear of work environments. Performance anxieties, fear of failing assigned tasks, or the fear of speaking before groups could lead to fear of work as well.

Looking for a job often entails giving lengthy interviews and socializing with colleagues, bosses, etc. To someone with an anxious mindset or nervous disorders this can contribute to formation of a phobia.

Clinically depressed individuals are more likely to suffer from deep dread about job hunting. Likewise, people with neurological issues like Obsessive Compulsive Disorders are also likely to avoid work.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Ergasiophobia

  • 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 ›

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