What is Prosophobia?

Prosophobia is the irrational and persistent fear of “progress”, usually related to a fear of change or new things. It may be an expression of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) tendencies to seek stability.

In extremes, phobics may believe that “making progress” brings the world closer to armageddon.

People with a moderate fear of progress may simply prefer old-fashioned things, older styles, or a non-technical lifestyle, such as avoiding electricity.

Extreme Prosophobes may shun or isolate themselves from other people who use technology, but anti-technology communities (such as the Amish) are not necessarily exhibiting this phobia, since their lifestyle is motivated by religious concerns rather than fear.

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

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Symptoms of Prosophobia

  • 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 Prosophobia

Prosophobia 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.

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

Progress does not have to refer to “modern technology” for development of Prosophobia, as the fear of progress may develop instead simply from a fear of instability or change. Such fears may have deep roots in family history, such as growing up in a military household that experienced frequent relocations, etc.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Prosophobia

  • 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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