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What Is Atychiphobia?

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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 07 August 2014
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Atychiphobia is a medical term used to describe an intense and irrational fear of failure. This type of fear can become so debilitating that the affected person is unable to attempt anything new due to the certainty that all efforts will fail. In addition to this extreme level of anxiety, symptoms of atychiphobia may include nausea, rapid breathing, or digestive disturbances. Although there is no clear cause for this fear, many patients who have been diagnosed with this disorder have experienced traumatic events, especially in childhood. Treatment for this condition can be complicated and often involves a combination of psychotherapy and prescription medications. Any specific questions or concerns about atychiphobia in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Many people with atychiphobia have a strong desire to have new experiences, but the type of paralyzing fear associated with this disorder prevents any effort to participate in the desired activities. Ironically, this intense level of fear often causes the very failure that was imagined, furthering the imaginary proof that the affected person is incapable of success. Over time, the patient may find it easier to avoid doing things in an effort to avoid failing.

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The physical symptoms of atychiphobia are essentially the same as with any other type of extreme phobia. Anxiety may lead to panic attacks that cause symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, chest pain, and nausea. Trembling, shortness of breath, and profuse sweating may also occur. As these symptoms closely resemble those of more serious medical conditions, a doctor should be consulted for further medical evaluation.

Treatment for atychiphobia is extremely individualized, and it may take several months or years for the patient to feel that sufficient recovery has taken place. In the early stages of treatment, medications may be prescribed in order to reduce some of the symptoms of this condition so that other methods of treatment can be successfully implemented. Ideally, the use of these medications can eventually be discontinued.

Psychological counseling is widely believed to be the most effective treatment option for those diagnosed with atychiphobia. During therapy, the patient will learn new coping skills and different ways of thinking that can help to overcome the fear of failure. Under the guidance of the therapist, the patient may be slowly introduced into fearful situations in order to practice these new skills. Slowly facing fears and accepting that everyone experiences some level of failure can greatly improve the life experience of those with atychiphobia.

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