We know what you’re thinking:
But ergophobia is more than a case of the so-called “Sunday scaries” – those are more about dreading work, and it’s not a clinical diagnosis.
Ergophobia is still not well understood but tends to be classified as an anxiety disorder – typically social anxiety or performance anxiety. It’s an irrational fear of work that causes noticeable signs of anxiety when a person thinks about working. It can even cause the kind of panic attacks that can lead to hospitalization. A sufferer may even know there’s nothing to fear, but their brain reacts anyway (hence the clinical diagnosis).
The condition includes an array of fears about work, including the ability to perform tasks or even look for a job. And the inability to do work without suffering mentally and physically can leave people in poverty or dependent on others to care for them. And as you might imagine, that can lead to even more anxiety about life that makes everything worse.
Psych Times lists the common symptoms of ergophobia as:
- Intense anxiety when working
- Anxiety when thinking of work
- Unwillingness to hold a regular job
- Inability to cope with strong emotions
- Becoming dependent on others due to the inability to work
- Experiencing panic attacks as a result of work or fear of work
The condition doesn’t always have to lead to hospitalization to be considered severe. As we know, stress can lead to all kinds of physiological effects, such as heart disease, that can lead to a shorter and less happy life.
The condition can be genetic (though someone may inherit a predisposition to an anxiety disorder that manifests in this unique way in them and no one else in their family) or because of a trauma or environmental pressure.
There’s no specific “cure,” but desensitization techniques are common treatments for phobias in general, and it’s possible someone can be eased into work. Anti-anxiety medications and therapy may help ergophobics maintain a job as well. – WTF fun facts