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Ergophobia – A Fear of Work or Just Laziness?

General Comments November 9th 2011

I can safely say that the majority of people don’t like to work. Having said that it is a proven fact that work is actually healthy for you physically and mentally. It is what makes you get up in the morning and if you are a shy person, forces you to interact with other people. Most people that fall into the “work hating” category are not that much of a concern because they can just get on with it, however there are some that truly and deeply hate work and even fear it. They are classed with a condition called ergophobia.

I know that this may sound odd and some people will read this and just think that this is another term for laziness, however this is actually a viable psychiatric condition. The term comes from the Greek “ergon” meaning work and “phobos” meaning fear. The phobia means that the person suffering fears the working environment. This does not mean that he/she is afraid of the office storage, workstations, swivel or office chairs, office screens or any of the office furniture, but actually fears failing in tasks, afraid of public speaking and some even fearing socialising with colleagues.

So how can you tell if someone is really ergo phobic or just pretending to hide behind their desk? It may be that in certain cases these people know that they have this fear and it is irrational. Below are some of the symptoms to look out for. These actually occur amongst all people with phobias, all though the symptoms will be at different extremes:

  • Panic attacks
  • Feelings of terror and horror
  • Increase in heartbeat
  • Breathing problems
  • Trembling or irrational shaking
  • Nervousness
  • Extreme sweating
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Redness
  • In extreme cases, rashes on the body

The advice in this case, or any phobias that are affecting the day to day function of your life, is to seek medical help, or intense counselling. There are ways in which you can get over your fears of work and it may help you in other areas of your life also.

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