What is Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure?

Most people in today's society experience a certain and normal amount of doubt related to whether they will succeed in their projects, relationships, or exams. In certain cases, when the fear of failure becomes a part of someone's everyday life, then we can say for that person that he/she suffers from atychiphobia or fear of failure.

The atychiphobia or fear of failure is also termed as Kakorrahaphobia, and also as Kakorraphiophobia. Kakorraphiophobia is a mix of the fear of failure together with the fear of rejection.

Why do individuals with atychiphobia fear dreadfully of failure? That is because individuals with atychiphobia or fear of failure tend to lack confidence in their abilities. Some people that suffer from this phobia have the extreme fear of being laughed at if they fail at something. Other individuals with atychiphobia or fear of failure suffer from it because they fear of taking risks in their lives. People that are diagnosed with atychiphobia or fear of failure often or always have unrealistic expectations and excessive behavior patterns.

Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure

Causes of Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure

In the case you or your loved one is diagnosed with atychiphobia or fear of failure, then you can be sure that the phobia did not come on its own. Atychiphobia or fear of failure actually develops after an individual experiences a traumatic or extremely embarassing life event.

But, traumatic or embarassing life events are not always the main cause for developing atychiphobia or fear of failure. It can develop in the early childhood. Children with strict and overly demanding parents, friends and siblings are at big risk to develop atychiphobia or fear of failure.

Sometimes only one small and unimportant failure can cause a child to develop atychiphobia or fear of failure later in its development to adulthood or in the adulthood. A minor failure one experiences leads to negative thoughts and to fear of taking other life challenges.

Once exposed to a minor failure, certain psychological traumas and complexes develop in the child. Those traumas and complexes eventually cause atychiphobia or fear of failure. The fear of failure keeps growing up like a tumor as the child becomes older.

Signs and Symptoms of Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure

There are many signs and symptoms of atychiphobia or fear of failure. It lowers the quality of life of the individuals diagnosed with it. People that suffer from atychiphobia or fear of failure might go so far that they avoid activities and projects that are not likely to have a positive ending.

Individuals that cope with atychiphobia or fear of failure tend to give up on their relationships, work projects and education and everything where a failure might occur. Atychiphobia or fear of failure sufferers are pure perfectionists; they will not participare in any project if they are not 100 percent sure the outcome will be a pure perfection. What is sad about people that suffer from atychiphobia or fear of failure and generally all perfectionists is that they are not aware of the fact that perfection is just an illusion.

Sadly, most of the people that cope with the atychiphobia or fear of failure are in such a measure controlled by their phobia that they give up their job positions and end their relationships. Also, atychiphobia causes its sufferers to sabotage their lives. Individuals with atychiphobia tend to be hypochondriacs, make excuses often, and lie often. That all leads to marriage problems, demotions, and other negative things.

Atychiphobia or fear of failure can also be felt, physically. Thoughts about failure linked to a certain task cause many nights without sleep, headaches, pain in the muscles. People that are atychiphobia sufferers usually are not focused on their tasks and how could they succeed on a certain task, but rather they are focused on failing at a certain task. Instead of spending all their energy to acomplish successfully certain tasks, people with the fear of failure spend their creative energy thinking about failure.

As stated above, atychiphobia or fear of failure causes people to experience physical signs and symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems, nausea, vomiting, tension headaches, sweating, panic attacks, and generalized anxiety. Some people with Atychiphobia also experience twitching and trembling. Signs and symptoms of atychiphobia or fear of failure are the following:

  • Mental distress and anxiety.
  • Digestion problems.
  • Headaches.
  • Tension in muscles.
  • Panic attacks which comprises difficulty breathing, sweating, heart skipping a beat, mouth dryness are the symptoms of atychiphobia or fear of failure.

The signs and symptoms mentioned above will occur in most of people with atychiphobia or fear of failure when they are asked to do a certain task or to do something for which they are unsure about the outcome. If the atychiphobia or fear of failure is left untreated, the signs and symptoms of it will become worse and worse over time. Atychiphobia or fear of failure causes the loss of motivation and low self confidence that can lead to depression.

Risk Factors for Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure

The following factors may increase ones' risk of developing atychiphobia or fear of failure:

  • Genetics can be a risk factor for atychiphobia or fear of failure. If you have a case of a certain phobia running in your family, then you are also at risk of developing that same phobia or any other phobia. If someone in your family fears the height, you could also develop the fear of height. It is said that some phobias are inherited, but mostly they are learned after watching a family member's phobic reaction to certain situations or objects.
  • People who are more of a sensitive temperament, who are inhibited and more pessimistic, are more prone to develop atychiphobia or fear of failure.

Complications in Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure

It is true, phobias seem funny to most of the people, but to their sufferers, they are not so funny. Rather than being funny to their patients, phobias to them are devastating aspect of life that greatly reduces their life quality. Some of the complications that atychiphobia or fear of failure cause are the following:

  • Social isolation may be a complication of atychiphobia or fear of failure. Some people tend to avoid certain places and events that they fear of. That all can lead to professional, relationship, and educational issues.
  • Depression. People that suffer from atychiphobia or fear of failure might also develop depression, which can be devastating.
  • Substance abuse. Individuals with atychiphobia or fear of failure are more likely to start using certain substances such as drugs and alchol to extreme measure only not to think about their phobias.
  • Persons that suffer of atychiphobia or fear of failure are more likely to commit suicide.

Tests to Diagnose Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure

Are there laboratory tests available for atychiphobia or fear of failure? No, there are no lab tests for atychiphobia or fear of failure. To be diagnosed with a certained phobia like atychiphobia or fear of failure, you have to undergo a special clinical interview with a psychologist or psychiatrist and meet the clinical criteria to be diagnosed with a phobia. Your psychologist or psychiatrist will conduct a clinical interview with you comprised of certain questions about your symptoms, he/she will also take your medical, social and psychiatric history.

If you meet up with the medical criteria for phobias and other mental issues called Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders issued by the APA or American Psychiatric Association, you are officialy diagnosed with a phobia.

Treatments for Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure

Phobias are real and existent, but there is no proven cause of them. Many professors and psychiatrists think phobias start to develop after an exposure to a certain truamatic event from childhood. To treat atychiphobia or fear of failure, one must be decisive to make a personal change and not let atychiphobia or fear of failure have an impact on his/hers life. A lot of good will, determination and motivation has to be present to overcome atychiphobia or fear of failure. Usually, no medications are prescribed for atychiphobia or fear of failure.

Counseling is, if not the only, the best option to treat and cope with atychiphobia or fear of failure. By talking with a licensed counselor, you can open up to him about your irrational fears and create with your counselor specific methods of coping with your phobia.

You should not let atychiphobia or fear of failure stand in your way to success. It is only an irrational fear you produce that stands in the way of your success. If you want to be successful, but you cope with atychiphobia or fear of failure, it is best for you to pay a visit to the certified counselor to find a way to escape the hell of atychiphobia.

Prevention of Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure

There is no sure way to prevent atychiphobia or fear of failure. If you suffer from atychiphobia or fear of failure, then it might be the real time to visit a psychologist or a psychiatrist. It is especially important to treat atychiphobia or fear of failure if you are a parent, because children can actually "learn" the phobia from their parents.

Coping with Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure

You can cope with atychiphobia or fear of failure. You have to realize that every person, no matter what he or she does, can fail at anything. Failing is just a part of life.

But, if you are so afraid of being a failure, here are a few ways to reduce your fear of failing:

  • Analyze the outcomes for proper coping. People with atychiphobia fear failure because they do not know what is the outcome of their projects and everything else going to look like. It is recommended to analyze and consider all the potential outcomes and to learn how would you react to any of those outcomes.
  • Another way to cope is by thinking positively. Thinking positively about outcomes greatly reduces your atychiphobia or fear of failure.
  • Have a "Plan B" is a good coping method. If you fail at your "Plan A," it does not mean you are the biggest failure in the world and you should know that you always should have a "Plan B" if you fail at something. There is a great possibility you will eventually succeed with the "Plan B."

Recovery Period/Healing Time for Atychiphobia or Fear of Failure

Your recovery period/healing time from a atychiphobia or fear of failure and all the distress it caused you depends entirely upon you. If you want to fully recover from a phobia like atychiphobia or fear of failure and all the anxiety and panic it had caused you, consult with your family doctor or psychiatrist on a regular basis.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: October 12, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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