What is Litigophobia?

Litigophobia, also spelled Liticaphobia, is the irrational and persistent fear of lawsuits. It is considered a social phobia and a sufferer might have had early life trauma as a result of serious family difficulties from legal fallout. People with this phobia are usually more law-abiding than average as an avoidance strategy.

The name is derived from the Greek word 'litigo' meaning 'litigate' and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'

If you have this phobia, you most likely have one of these phobias too ›

Symptoms of Litigophobia

  • 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 Litigophobia

Litigophobia is a social anxiety disorder. Social phobias result in avoidance of social situations due to fear of being embarrassed in public and affect men and women equally. Extreme social anxieties often start in childhood or adolescence and may be accompanied by other anxiety disorders or depression.

The origins of social anxiety disorders are not as well-understood as specific (or “isolated”) phobias, where a direct fear of injury from some specific animal, thing, or situation forms a clear basis for the fear. Even so, hereditary factors may be present, such as a genetic tendency to be “high strung”, nervous, etc.

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.

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

A lack of understanding of the law and the rules of court might also be the cause of this phobia. For others, fearing that they will be sentenced to lifetime imprisonment or even to mercy killing or electrocution is the source of the fear.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Litigophobia

  • 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