Let’s face it, some things are creepy or scary. Someone might become fearful when coming across a venomous snake. That fear is healthy because it tells us to stay away from the snake whose venom could kill us. But what if a rubber snake sends someone into scream-filled terror? Then that person might have a phobia, an irrational fear of something.
The term “phobia” comes from the Greek word phobos (“fear”). Some phobias are common, such as coulrophobia (fear of clowns) or arachnophobia (fear of spiders). Other phobias are so rare or bizarre that you may have never heard of them.
People suffer from workplace anxiety from time to time—for example, when you have that important presentation to give in front of a big audience. However, with ergophobia, the sufferer has an irrational fear of work.
Ergophobia comes from the Greek ergon (“work”). The phobia may include the combined fears of speaking in groups, socializing, and failing at tasks. The anxiety is severe enough to cause the person to leave work early or not be able to go to work at all. This fear persists even if the work or workplace changes.
One treatment for this condition is exposure therapy, in which the patient is gradually exposed to his frightening work environment until he no longer fears it. Another treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy, where situations are created to teach the correct behavior.