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Last Updated: Dec 23, 2020
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Atychiphobia (Fear of Failure) : Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

About Symptoms Causes Signs Diagnosis Treatment How to overcome the fear of failure? Additional information

What is Atychiphobia?

Atychiphobia, known as fear of failure, is characterized by the inability to attempt any goal that does not guarantee success. This fear of failure can be so threatening that it can delay or stop your personal development. It means that you might miss out on different opportunities and experiences in work, life, and love.

Atychiphobia makes people avoid taking risks, focusing goals or participating in any co-curricular activities. This fear of failure can put a full stop to your growing career and make you so weak that you might not be able to take any risks or face challenges in life.

Atychiphobia or fear of failure can also be a part of mood disorder, anxiety disorder. No matter if you are brilliant or Mr/Ms/Mrs. Perfectionist, anyone can suffer from atychiphobia throughout their life.

Symptoms of Atychiphobia

It is not necessary that everyone will experience atychiphobia in the same way. Some might feel mild symptoms while others can feel severe. This phobia could also paralyze you making it difficult for you to face any challenges, complete any task at work/school/home or focus on your passion. Because of this phobia, you may miss out on important opportunities in your life, both personally & professionally.

Symptoms could be physical and emotional. These could trigger when you think about certain situations in which you might fail. Physical symptoms may include:

  • Feeling difficulty in breathing
  • Unusually fast heart rate
  • Chest tightness
  • Shaking sensations
  • Dizziness
  • Digestive distress
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Sweating

Emotional symptoms may include:

  • Intense feeling of panic or anxiety
  • Feeling to escape a situation that produces the fear
  • Feeling detached from yourself
  • Feeling like you’ve lost control over a situation
  • Thinking that you may die or pass out
  • Feeling powerless over your fear

Causes of Atychiphobia

There could be many causes to develop atychiphobia. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • If you have past failed experiences, especially if it was traumatic and made you depressed. For example, if you have missed your job or disqualified some major examinations.
  • If you have failed many times through different situations.
  • If you are a perfectionist and you failed.

There is also a possibility that watching someone else fail can also make you suffer from atychiphobia. This situation is also known as an observational learning experience. For example, if you grew up with a caregiver who was afraid of failing, then it might make you feel the same.

Fear of failure can also be developed after reading and hearing about others experiences. This is known as informational learning. Some specific phobias affect both children and adults.

It is to be mentioned that children between 7 to 16 have more reality-based fears and are more likely to experience atychiphobia related to things like school performance or failing in some kinds of activities.

3 signs you may experience during atychiphobia

  1. Obsessive thoughts: Rumination or obsessive thoughts is often at the core of anxiety and depression. Having repetitive thoughts that are not controllable and bothersome can keep one bound and frustrated. Many individuals struggle with fear of failure or other phobias may find themselves obsessing over certain things in life or certain decisions that need to be made.
  2. Learned helplessness: People who struggle with phobias and extreme fear often develop either internal or external locus of control. Internal locus of control is the idea that everything that goes wrong in your life is attributed to something within yourself and something you feel you don’t have. External locus of control is the idea that things outside of the individual are to blame for challenges in a person’s life.
  3. Perfectionism: Individuals who are perfectionistic often struggle with fear. Perfectionists often want things to be perfect or orderly. They are often Type A personalities and very focused on succeeding. Some perfectionists struggle with intense fears that may fail at something they would rather succeed at.

How Atychiphobia is Diagnosed?

If your fear of failing has started disturbing your daily life including your mental and physical health then you might have atychiphobia. You are advised to take medical help as a doctor can help diagnose your phobia and suggest treatments to help.

Your doctor may ask you questions about what symptoms you are experiencing and also a psychiatric and social history before using different criteria to make a formal diagnosis. Phobia diagnosis can only be done if you have had symptoms for more than six months.

Other criteria are as follows:

  • Overthinking of situations that bring on fear
  • Panic attacks on situations that bring on fear
  • Self-recognition that the fear is severe and irrational
  • Avoiding the situations and objects that bring on anxiety

How Atychiphobia is Treated?

Treatment for fear of failure varies from person to person. The main goal of treatment is to improve the quality of life. If you are a person who is suffering from different types of phobias, then your medical practitioner will treat them one by one.

Treatment options may include one or a combination of the following:

Psychotherapy:The psychotherapy will be performed by your mental health professional. He will take the help of Exposure Therapy that involves repeated exposure to things that make you fear in hope of changing your response to those situations.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT):It involves exposure and other tools that help you in dealing with your fear of failure. There are chances that your doctor may recommend one of these therapies or a combination of both.

Medication:There are certain medications that might help. These are used as a short-term solution for anxiety solutions or panic-related situations. A person suffering from Atychiphobia might consume medication before a public exposure or an important meeting. Medications include:

  • Beta-blockers help in blocking adrenaline from elevating your heart rate, raising blood pressure, and making your body shake.
  • Sedatives: It helps in reducing anxiety and will also help you in relaxing.

How to overcome the fear of failure?

Sometimes, you can overcome mild atychiphobia on your own by making a few lifestyle changes. But, if your phobia is extreme and causing a lot of trouble in your life or you are not able to catch any opportunity then you may consider making an appointment with your doctor. There are lots of treatments available including therapies that will help you in coping your fear within very little time.

  1. Reframe your failure:

    One of the best things is that you can try and reframe your way of thinking about the failure. Instead of seeing your failure in a negative way. Failures can actually be a learning experience for all. Just remember that most people don’t succeed straight away, there will be mistakes and failures along the way.

    These experiences can help you learn and improve until you succeed. Being able to change your views on failure could really help you not to be so scared of experiencing it and instead, helping you find the positive and learn from your mistakes.

  2. Ask yourself Questions:

    This can be a great way to become more aware of how you are feeling and why you are feeling that way. If you make mistake and you start to doubt yourself, take a minute to stop and ask yourself some questions like:

    • What can I learn from this mistake?
    • What is the positive in this situation?
    • How am I feeling, and if it’s negative, how can I change it?

    Find some time for you and dive deeper into how you are feeling and work for it to improve the things you need change on.

  3. Be kind to yourself:

    A big part of why we are scared of failing can be due to our lack of confidence, a strong desire for perfection. You should always try and treat yourself as you would treat a friend, as kindly as you can.

    Treat yourself with sympathy and understand why you are feeling this way. Once you are able to analyse and find a certain way to change. This will help you to deal with your emotions.

  4. Try to analyse all your outcomes:

    Try to analyze all of your outcomes if you doubt yourself in any situation. This can help you put things into perspectives, and see that failing is not the worst thing that can happen.

    Accepting and realizing that you may fail, can be a very effective way of improving your mindset. Being able to analyze the outcomes will keep you prepared for what might happen and can help you deal with emotions you might also face.

  5. Expose yourself to failure:

    Try and start exposing yourself to failure. It means trying something new that you are unskilled in and may make mistakes too.

    It can show you that mistakes aren’t as scary as they may seem to you right now. This will help you recognize that you need to fail in order to improve yourself.

  6. Visualize:

    Visualization is a very powerful tool and can also help you face your fears in future also. Being able to visualize yourself and growing stronger from it and accepting it can be a great tool to use along with positive thinking. Positive thinking is great but using that alone may not be helpful.

Additional information on Atychiphobia:

Performing some mindfulness exercises will definitely help you in dealing with atychiphobia and anxiety. You are advised to perform yoga, meditations. By doing so, you will be physically and mentally fit and will help you in coping with atychiphobia.

Content Details
Written By
PhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child Care
Pharmacology
Reviewed By
MD - Consultant Physician
General Physician
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