I've become interested in the indiscriminate nature of phobias. People are scared of everything, including work, which is a phobia known as ergophobia. Ergophobia is characterised by the fear of work, or workplace environments and can be incredibly detrimental to a person’s mental, and emotional wellbeing and no I'm not joking, it's a pretty serious condition.
Ergophobia is often described as being an exaggerated and irrational fear of work, and while I'm sure there's a lot of people that take advantage of this condition and it's 'symptoms' because they can't be bothered working, for many it's a struggle they're forced to live with.
This irrational fear can lead sufferers to feel anxious, cause terror, increased heart rate, trembling, and shortness of breath to name a few. But, never fear! There are some serious, and effective treatment methods that can be taken to cure you of this fear.
The most effective method of actually curing your phobia lies within yourself. It's believed that if you can break the mental ties between work and your fight or flight response you can effectively fend of the symptoms that create a distressing workplace environment.
Change That’s Right Now (CTRN) offer and online treatment program to vanquish fear and anxiety, you can find it here. They claim that this at home program helps you to overcome fears associated with your past. This is believed to be effective because ergophobia stems from the fear of failure or from social anxiety and is often attributed to past anxieties like not doing well in school. Kicking your pent up fears seems like a pretty good way to go, the question being can a take home kit really offer you the expertise you need to achieve something so substantial?
But, if you can't kick it on your own, there are other options, quite a few options actually. You have talk therapy, behavioral therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy. These all sound pretty fancy, but if they don't work or they're not for you, a good old fashioned dose of drugs can help lesson the severity of your symptoms and sometimes even vanquish your anxieties entirely.
Firstly, let's look at the therapies on offer more thoroughly. So, to begin the most basic therapy treatment you can get is talk therapy. This is exactly what it sounds like, you visit a psychiatrist and you talk over your issues past and present to help reduce your anxieties. Basically what you'll be doing is lying on a couch venting all your personal crap while some over-paid schmuck takes notes and guides you through some questions and answers. This can be a pricy option with most psychiatrists charging by the hour, but as much as forking out the dough might bother you, it's been proven to work. Besides, spending a whole hour of your day talking about yourself couldn’t be that bad.
Next comes the behavioral therapy. This one is a little more complex and harder to get through than talk therapy. It involves visiting with a psychiatrist or psychologist whose specifically trained in treating phobias that help treat your anxieties through exposure and gradual desensitization to your fear. They guide you through methods on tolerating the fear through exposing you to triggers and teaching you to relax during that exposure.
Alternatively, if being forced to deal with your fears doesn't sound particularly appealing (I wouldn't blame you for thinking so) there's also cognitive behavioral therapy. Essentially this is when you’re given a series of mental exercises to train your mind to cope with the fear. It aims to alter your way of thinking to block your association of work with trauma. According to the American Psychiatric Association this is an effective method that will see results within a year. You can find more detailed explanations on these treatment options here.
Ergophobia is a serious condition that's unlikely to be solved overnight. Treatment options are expensive and time consuming, but if it means you can actually get up in the morning to go to work, it's probably not a bad idea to look into them.
Illustration: Hannah Greethead