Atychiphobia: Fear of Failure
A reasonable, moderate, and proportional apprehension or fear of failure at the professional, relationship, or individual assessment level is generally present in most people. However, when this variant of performance anxiety takes on excessive proportions and the fear of failure becomes crippling, we call it atychiphobia.
Atychiphobia is also known as kakorraphiophobia, which additionally also covers the fear of not being accepted. Performance anxiety and fear of failure are subtypes of social anxiety disorder. In either case, we see that people with these specific social phobia subtypes are perfectionists who strive to meet standards and envy overly demanding goals, which makes them fear failure. In the case of kakorraphiophobia, the quest for mind-boggling accomplishments and feats comes from the underlying fear of rejection.
Phobias are excessive and unreasonable apprehensions triggered by specific objects or circumstances. Atychiphobes, suffer from a crippling fear of failure or negative evaluation.
Symptoms of Atychiphobia
Atychiphobia can seriously influence the personal happiness of the individual who suffers from it. We even see ourselves making considerable efforts to try to avoid any situation, challenge or task that we believe will not have a positive outcome. This behavior is a typical case of phobic avoidance. Of course, the intensity of the symptoms depends on each individual as each individual is unique.
A person who is afraid of failure spends all of their energy and time worrying about their inability to achieve their goals rather than working to achieve them.
You can even miss out on important development opportunities throughout your life. This both on a personal and professional level. By not daring to take any risks or daring to take on any challenge, life passes before your eyes and you are just a spectator.
The symptoms are similar to those of other phobias and affect both the mind and the body:
• Apprehension, nervousness, or inability to achieve goals.
• Low self-confidence or low self-esteem. Usually, negative self-talk is used, like “I could never get this raise” or “I’m not good enough to fit in with the cool kids group in school.”
• Compulsiveness – Perseverance in negative thoughts. You only dare to accomplish the tasks that you know you will do impeccably and with ease.
• Excessive nervousness
• Avoidance behaviors – Compelling need to move away from a situation that makes you fear failure, such as difficult situations, exams, competitions
• Feeling trapped in your life
• Having no control over the circumstances of life
• Being a quitter – Believing that you had better give up or just not undertake
• Feeling of weakness
• Gastrointestinal distress
• Anxiety and panic attack
• Dizziness or restlessness
• Being too hot or too cold
• Shortness of breath
• Chest pain
• Chills or tremors
• Tachycardia or accelerated heart rate
• Excessive sweating
Do You Suffer from Atychiphobia?
If you experience the symptoms mentioned above, whether physical or mental, for more than six months, you will need to see a psychiatrist or psychologist.
Here are some additional elements to be able to establish a self-diagnosis before consulting a professional:
Predisposing Factors for Atychiphobia
Emotional Symptoms of Phobias
• Confused thoughts about the circumstances that cause the fear. Inability to concentrate
• Avoidance of circumstances and situations that can trigger our fear.
• Severe anxious reaction to the circumstances that trigger the fear
• Being aware that fear is extreme and irrational
Please remember that if the disorder you are suffering from, regardless of its symptoms, is hindering your personal growth, it is important to seek help.
Treatment of Atychiphobia
The most effective treatment options for all phobias are specific to each individual and may include lifestyle changes, therapy, or drug treatment.
It is better to consider a lifestyle change first by introducing specific healing activities, such as restorative yoga, mindful meditation, or mindful walks. These can help you deal with the anxiety or behavioral problems that accompany your fear of failure.
All the activities that you personally find helpful in relaxing are powerful tools against all types of anxiety disorders. I would advise you to stick with a specific sport or relaxing activity that you enjoy to release stress and negative feelings on a daily basis and in the long term. However, if your symptoms are severe, a lifestyle change will not be enough to cure you of atychiphobia.
In this case, it would be wise to consult a psychologist. This will probably offer you one of the following options:
• Exposure therapy: This therapy involves continuous, but gradual, guided exposure to the things you fear to change your reaction to these circumstances.
• Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): This is the therapy that has been shown to be the most effective against phobias. It consists of a dialogue between you and your psychologist to find the source of your disorder, change your way of thinking and provide you with the necessary tools to face your phobia. CBT in many cases involves exposure therapy.
In most cases, cognitive behavioral therapy will be sufficient to eradicate the problem, but if the symptoms are very persistent and severe it will be prudent to see a psychiatrist and start drug treatment. Certain medications can help because they provide a quick response to the discomfort and anxiety your fear is causing.
In the case of atychiphobia it is most likely that your psychiatrist will prescribe benzodiazepines which are anxiety tranquilizers or beta blockers which are drugs that stop adrenaline from increasing your heart rate.
And to Finish…
If your atychiphobia is preventing you from achieving your dreams or simply preventing you from living a normal life, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor. The sooner you start treatment, the faster you will be cured.