Atychiphobia (Fear Of Failure)

Fear of failure can be part of some anxiety disorder, eating disorder or mood disorder. One can also occasionally experience Atychiphobia in their life if they’re a perfectionist.


Most people have a normal level of doubt about success in a certain project, exams, or relationships. However, when the phobia of failure becomes extreme then it’s called Atychiphobia. There are also several other names for Atychiphobia, including Kakorraphiophobia or Kakorrahaphobia, which also encompasses the phobia for rejection.

People coping with the fear of failure mainly dread failure because they aren’t confident in their abilities. Some people experience Atychiphobia due to the ridicule they might face because of the failure. Similarly, some fear failure because of the phobia for risk-taking. People dealing with Atychiphobia usually have unrealistic or rigid expectations or excessive behavior standards.

Symptoms of Atychiphobia

Not everybody will deal with Atychiphobia in the same manner. The severity can be mild or extreme. Atychiphobia can be so overwhelming that it completely paralyzes an individual, making it hard for them to go about their tasks at home, work or school. The individual may even pass up crucial opportunities in their life, both professionally and personally.

The other symptoms one can experience with Atychiphobia are like those they’d experience with other fears. The symptoms may be emotional or physical, and they’re most likely caused when one thinks about certain situations where they may fail. Sometimes one’s symptoms may seem to originate from nowhere at all.

Physical symptoms of Atychiphobia include:

  • Sweating
  • Cold or hot flashes
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Abnormally fast heart rate
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Shaking or trembling sensations
  • Pain or tightness in the chest
  • Digestive distress
  • Emotional symptoms of Atychiphobia include:
  • Generally feeling overwhelmed by fear
  • Thinking that you could pass out or die
  • Feeling like you’re in control of a situation
  • Feeling disconnected from yourself
  • The intense feeling of anxiety or panic
  • The overwhelming need to get out of a situation that provokes the fear

Another possibility for people with Atychiphobia is self-handicapping. This means that one’s so scared of failure that they actually undermine their efforts. For instance, one may simply not begin a big school project, therefore, failing in the end. The idea behind this thinking is that it’s much better to not succeed by not beginning than to put in lots of effort and fail.

If Atychiphobia is left untreated, these symptoms will worsen over time. The phobia leads to low self-confidence and loss of motivation, which can result in depression.

Causes of Atychiphobia

If someone has Atychiphobia, then they can be certain that the fear didn’t develop on its own. The fear of failing or failure actually develops after one suffers a traumatic or utterly embarrassing event in their life.

Traumatic or embarrassing events in life aren’t always the major cause of Atychiphobia, however. It may develop in early childhood. Kids with overly demanding and strict parents, siblings and friends are at a higher risk of developing Atychiphobia.

Sometimes just one small and insignificant failure can make a child develop the fear of failure later in their adulthood. A small failure one experiences result in negative thoughts and the fear of tackling other life challenges.

After being exposed to an insignificant failure, certain complexes and traumas form in the kid’s mind. These complexes and traumas eventually lead to Atychiphobia. Atychiphobia keeps developing like a tumor while the child grows older.

Treating Atychiphobia

The best way to treat Atychiphobia is to overcome it. It’s completely dependent on how willing, motivated and determined one is to make the change personally. The following treatments may be considered for patients with the fear of failure/failing.

  • Behavior therapy
  • Self-help methods
  • Counseling
  • Personal changes
  • Psychotherapy
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Neuro-linguistic therapy
  • Energy psychology

Medicines are not recommended for treating Atychiphobia. Many mental health professionals opine that medicines like anti-depressive or anti-anxiety drugs can mask the issue rather than actually treat it. There are other treatment options available, which have produced some encouraging results in treating Atychiphobia.

Counseling therapy

Counseling could be the best method for treating this kind of fear. By visiting a reputable counselor, you’ll soon be able to open yourself up and build new coping mechanisms to handle stressful situations.

Hypnotherapy (Hypnosis)

Atychiphobia may be caused by emotional trauma in one’s childhood. Hypnotherapy has been proven to be an effective way to treat many different phobias. This therapy works by retrieving the fundamental cause of the fear and removing affected reaction to the stimulus. At first, the hypnotherapist aims to find out the event which caused the development of Atychiphobia.

In most cases, a traumatic event in the past is the cause. Often, the Atychiphobic doesn’t remember this traumatic event as it may be repressed for years. Repression is the mind’s protective mechanism, which keeps the memory of the event out of one’s conscious until they’re ready as well as able to face it.

To access this state of memory, heightened focus and relaxation or hypnotic trance must be achieved to be able to access the unconscious mind. Therefore, unconscious memories may be discovered and brought up to conscious awareness. Once this is accomplished, the fear will generally go away.

Energy psychology

Energy psychology applies a variety of methods to treat various mental problems (like fears ), including yoga, tai chi, prana, qi gong, energy medicine and acupressure, teaching individuals simple ways to make changes in their life.

With these techniques, energy points on the skin surface may be stimulated. When combined with certain psychological therapies, this can alter the electrochemistry of the brain. Although energy psychology still remains a controversial subject, it seems to really help people deal with fears, including Atychiphobia.

If the irrational phobia for failure is impacting your life or that of your loved one and is hindering success, then it’s now time to take back your life. There are lots of different options available to treat Atychiphobia today, and you can definitely beat your fear of failure by trying a few of them.

Preventing Atychiphobia

Atychiphobia can be prevented by making a number of personal changes. These can help the individual overcome the phobia. It’s vitally important to understand that for everything one does, there’s always the potential to fail. Facing and embracing that possibility will help one overcome Atychiphobia.

Here are some ways to prevent Atychiphobia:

Have more positive thoughts and learn it: Thinking more positively is an excellent way to neutralize self-sabotage and shape self-confidence.

Analyze all possible consequences: Many individuals have Atychiphobia because they’re afraid of new unknown tasks and things. Get rid of this fear by considering all the possible consequences of your decisions.

Have an alternative plan (Plan ‘B’): If your plan ‘A’ doesn’t bear fruit, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re the biggest loser in the world. You should always have another strategy, or plan ‘B’, in case you don’t succeed at something. There’s a healthy possibility that your plan ‘B’ will eventually pay off.

Consider the worst-case scenario: While the worst-case situation may be catastrophic and cause your fear of failure, it can indeed be not that much worse in most cases and recognizing that may help.

Understand the good side of failure: Life is a puzzle of various experiments and the more you try them the better it is for you. Each failure is an examination of an experiment and opportunity to find and know something new. Even when failure results in financial loss, the benefits of learning outweigh the loss by far.

Take action: Taking action is the best method to build your confidence and lessen the fear. Remember that everything you do for the first time is difficult. Start off with little steps and increase your confidence gradually until you overcome the phobia for failure.


People with Atychiphobia are usually not comfortable with setting goals. If you want to go anywhere in life, you must set some goals. Visualization is recommended as a good way to set goals by many professionals.

Imagining how your life is going to be after achieving your last goal is usually a great motivator that’ll help you stay on track. The best option is to begin by setting some minor goals. These goals should be somewhat challenging but not too difficult.

Once you achieve them, these minor goals can lead you to much bigger ones. You shouldn’t be focused on the end result. Simply focus on your next step and have a nice routine, lessening the errors of execution.