Ergophobia can be defined as an irrational, extreme, and sometimes severe fear of work and the surrounding features of work. This fear of work includes work-related tasks, social relationships, or public speaking. There are several reasons why individuals may experience ergophobia, like traumatic experiences in the workplace in the past. It’s important to note that ergophobia is not the standard before-work anxiety that many individuals feel on a Sunday or after a vacation. Ergophobia is a debilitating fear of work that results in individuals not seeking work, and in many cases, forgoing an income in place of being comfortable in their day-to-day life. In this post from the Louis Laves-Webb, LCSW, LPC-S blog, we’ll discuss all there is to know about ergophobia, including causes, symptoms, and treatments.
In most cases, phobias are acquired due to a negative or traumatic experience involving a particular stimulus, such as a toxic work environment. Those that suffer from ergophobia likely experienced a frightening or negative event in the workplace. Something like being embarrassed by a coworker or boss, an emotionally significant error, or sexual harassment are examples of some events that may cause lasting fear of work. Additionally, learning or hearing about a specifically bad work experience, such as violence or bullying, can also result in ergophobia. When someone avoids work due to this fear, it’s typical for this fear or anxiety to subside. This then creates an association between avoiding work and feeling safe and comfortable. The more an individual avoids the scary situation, in this case, work, the deeper the association between not going to work and feeling comfortable grows.
The symptoms of ergophobia are similar to the symptoms of anxiety disorder. This is the case for just about any phobia out there. Ergophobia may result in frequently changing your job, long pauses between jobs, regularly missing work, and irrational fear regarding interactions with your boss or coworkers. Other symptoms of ergophobia include
These are the most common symptoms of ergophobia, much of which is in line with the symptoms of anxiety disorder. Therefore, much of the treatment of ergophobia is similar to the treatment of anxiety disorder.
The treatment of ergophobia is similar to that of other anxiety disorder. This means that instead of treating your actual fear of work, a therapist will treat the anxiety that is caused by your fear of work. Treatments for ergophobia include
Louis Laves-Webb has helped countless individuals overcome ergophobia in the post-pandemic world. To learn more about how we can help you overcome ergophobia, give us a call or contact us online today.