Overcoming Atychiphobia: The Crippling Fear of Failure

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Overcoming Atychiphobia: The Crippling Fear of Failure

No human is perfect so experiencing failure is inevitable / Photo by Shutterstock


The desire to prevent any failure from happening is normal amongst humans. Naturally, no one wants to commit mistakes.  If at all possible, most people would like to attain perfection or at least be able to execute an excellent performance. Although a majority of people would rather refrain from having setbacks, since humans are not perfect to begin with, experiencing failure is inevitable.

Feeling anxious about failing is not uncommon. However, if this fear of failure becomes so intense that it hinders a person from doing anything at all or actually trying in life, they have the condition known as Atychiphobia.


What is Atychiphobia?

Atychiphobia is defined as the irrational fear of failure.

It comes from the Greek word “atyches” which means “unfortunate”.

According to The Hindu, its major cause is a lack of a person’s self-confidence.

This kind of phobia can greatly affect all parts of a person’s life.

For instance, if they are too preoccupied with the idea of making a mistake in the project assigned to them by their manager, they may refuse to even attempt to start it. This could lead them in getting fired from the workplace.

Having an excessive fear of failure may be so restrictive that it may lead to even more failures. As a result, this phobia makes the individual unproductive. As they continue to experience a cycle of failures owing to their fear of it, they become more critical of themselves. In turn, this buries them further into the fear making them even more reluctant to try new things.



What Causes It?

According to massivephobia.com, these are the factors that can cause an individual to be excessively afraid of failure:


1. Traumatic experiences

If they had a traumatic past such as being made fun of in their childhood, not having support from their parents or being conditioned to think that failure is bad or natural, they are likely to develop this fear.


2. Genetic factors

Having family members who are affected by phobias may also put them at risk of having it.


3. Hereditary factors

Environmental elements such as being injured in their area as a result of failure can cause them to acquire this phobia.


4. Upbringing

Parents warning them about the negative effects of making mistakes may also cause them to have this.


5. External experiences/exposure

Watching a member get affected by this phobia or similar phobias can make them have it. In addition, indirect exposure like overhearing someone referring to failure or watching it being portrayed in the news or the movies may also induce them to have Atychiphobia.


What Are Its Symptoms?

The symptoms that can manifest when one has Atychiphobia are listed below, as indicated by allaboutcounselling.com:

1. Intense mental anxiety

2. Having stomach problems or digestive issues

3. Experiencing headaches

4. Muscle tension

5. Panicking which can make a person sweat, feel nauseous, have quick breathing and feel that their mouth is drying up



How Do You Treat It?

The recommended ways of dealing with Atychiphobia include:


1. Counseling

If a patient seeks help from a therapist or a counselor, they may be able to express how this fear affects them and be able how to properly cope with it using effective strategies.

2. Hypnotherapy

Making a person undergo this therapy may help them realize that failure does not mean that everything is over or that they no other chances to succeed, but rather that is a normal part of growth and development.

3. Self-help

Relaxation or breathing techniques may help the phobic calm down and be less fearful of failure. They may also engage in yoga and be using deep breathing techniques.


Psychotherapy is most effective treatment for Atychiphobia / Photo by 123rf.com


Psychotherapy is identified to be the most effective treatment approach to Atychiphobia. Other therapies and methods they are encouraged to go through are InVivo Exposure, Response Prevention, Group Therapy, Meditation, Cognitive Therapy (CT), Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Energy Psychology.

Being able to use mindfulness exercises may also aid them in overcoming their fear. This could help manage avoidance or anxiety that may be linked to this to this fear, Healthline says.

An individual affected Atychiphobia is not usually advised to have medication, since these may only temporarily relieve them of their symptoms but may not help them in the long term.  However, they may be prescribed sedatives and beta blockers. Sedatives can help lessen the anxiety while the beta blockers can stop the person’s adrenaline from increasing their heart rate, blood pressure and also keep them from shaking.

Making changes in their lifestyle is also one of the suggestions. An example would be exercising daily for better health.  It is said that the best way to cure their fear of failure to find their own motivation. It is also found that breaking down a task into simpler steps and doing them gradually may enable the patient to deal with their fear more productively.




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