What is Plutophobia? (A Comprehensive Guide)

In this blog we will go through the causes, symptoms and treatments of Plutophobia.

Plutophobia is an irrational fear of wealth and the wealthy people.

The person who suffers from Plutophobia can be distrustful of rich people, thinking that they will be harmed due to the status of wealth. 

Even becoming rich and affluent themselves will pose a threat to their peace of mind and they will make sure, by not excelling in work, that they do not gain a higher wealth status.

Plutophobia is an intense and severe fear of wealth and riches.

People generally strive and work hard only to gain a financial position, but the one suffering from Plutophobia. 

Wealth is an essential for everyone to spend life comfortably, but gaining excessive wealth means they will get undue benefits and this thought adds to the fear of the people suffering from Plutophobia.

Causes of Plutophobia

Plutophobia may be caused due to the following factors:-

  1. Genetic Predisposition

Every person has a genetic tendency to contract a disease or go through a mental illness. This predisposition is embedded in our DNA and is handed down to us over the generations.

If the person’s ancestors suffered from anxiety disorders, phobias, mental illness or even Plutophobia, then chances are higher for him/her to suffer from the same or from either of these.

Phobias are familial and most often than not run in families. Their intensity may vary from person to person, from one relative to the other.

  1. Biological Cause

Hormones play an important role in causing anxiety disorders, specifically phobias as well.

Thyroid Stimulating Hormones (TSH) is directly related to the etiology of anxiety related problems that occur.

Symptoms that indicate a Thyroid malfunctioning are:

  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Nervous demeanor
  • Irritability
  • Losing or gaining weight 

Low levels of Testosterone (male hormone) can also lead to anxiety.

Serotonin, is also called a happy chemical and depletion of this hormone can also cause anxieties of varying levels. 

Dopamine, the ‘feel good’ chemical or neurotransmitter is involved in happiness and a state of elatedness.

When the levels of Dopamine drop, anxiety and a feeling of dread become a common forte. 

Adrenaline rush is another biological factor that emanates the ‘flight or the fight’ response. This response is triggered when the brain suffers from a threat.

This threat may be caused by a stimulus that causes anxiety. This stimulus is the very stimulus that initiates a phobic fear.

In the case of Plutophobia, this stimulus will be the wealth and riches that bring with it many other evils, as thought by the sufferer.

  1. Behavioral Cause

Children learn behaviors and attitudes from people around them. These people may be their parents, siblings, extended family members like uncles or aunts, grandparents or any significant others they are attached to.

In Plutophobia it is often found that if a member of the family or peer group is scared of becoming wealthy and intimidated by the affluent, chances are higher that the child will also develop some of the symptoms of Plutophobia.

  1. Traumatic Incidence/s

Plutophobia may also be caused due to an incident or accident that was caused due to either someone who was wealthy and go away with it.

Person suffering from Plutophobia may consider the wealthy as indulging in evils due to the fact that they have the riches and the resources to indulge in them. 

It is famously seen that if someone contracts a substantial amount of wealth, he is being looked up to for all kinds of aids and help, this may also develop in the person a fear of being used by others unjustly.

The people who suffer from Plutophobia have this fear that people might not be sincere with them and will be cordial to them only because they possess wealth. 

This thought consolidates their Plutophobia. 

  1. Media, Literature & Facts

Watching movies of robberies and reading books that tell the same stories of how the rich are robbed, mugged or even killed because of their wealth, may feed into Plutophobia.

It is quite irrational to avoid earning more or getting wealthier only because they will be robbed or will be asked for financial help.

The wealthy people are notoriously acclaimed for wrongly getting the justice on their side and misusing their power that comes in the form of wealth.

But fearing that one might also become like them, is going a bit overboard with worry. 

 Symptoms of Plutophobia

Different people display the symptoms of the same phobia differently; with varying degrees of severity.

There are two types of symptoms; Physical symptoms and Psychological symptoms.

The Physical Symptoms include those that involve changes in the bodily sensations and are felt by the sufferer.

Examples are:-

  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • headaches
  • Sweating and trembling
  • dry mouth
  • raised blood pressure
  • nausea
  • dizziness

 The Psychological Symptoms include those that impinge on the mind and are visible through a person’s behavior.

Examples are:-

  • feelings of dread
  • Anxious when around wealthy people
  • fear of dying
  • fear of losing control
  • fear of harm
  • fear of illness
  • feeling of helplessness
  • confusion
  • anger
  • irritability
  • mood swings

Therapeutic Interventions for Plutophobia

Phobias can be treated through a variety of therapeutic interventions. a) Systematic Desensitization b) Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) c)  Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP) d) Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction MBSR) d) meditation e) medication

  1. Systematic Desensitization

This is one of the most common therapies used in treating phobias and an effective way to desensitize the person suffering from phobia.

In this therapy the client with phobia is exposed to the stimulus gradually with varying degrees of severity, varying durations of time.

The degree of severity is hierarchical,ranging from low to high. Every time the ‘exposure’ of the feared stimulus is increased.

In Plutophobia the client is exposed to images of toads first.

For the fear to be invoked during therapy, the patient must be exposed to an intense stimulus (one that is feared).

The aim of Systematic Desensitization is to remove the ‘feared stimulus’ and substitute it with a ‘relaxation response.’

Initially a relaxation technique that involves deep breathing is taught to the client.

Then the client is asked to present a list that has a hierarchical presentation of his fears, starting from the least fear evoking situation to the most. 

The therapist takes the client through these situations via two methods:

a)     In vitro – where the feared stimulus is made to imagine

b)    In vivo – where the client visits the the feared place in reality

The exposure to the phobic stimulus is of varying durations, where the client exercises relaxation techniques and can revert to a previous non-threatening situation any time.

  1. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

In CBT the therapist helps the client to amend his thoughts so that a desirable behavior can be achieved.

This therapy is effective, because if the thoughts or cognitions alter then there will be a lasting impact on behavior.

The therapist helps the client to discover the reason for this thought and behavior that follows.

This therapy is goal oriented and short termed. Therefore, the results are seen soon. It changes the way a person thinks and feels.

CBT does not focus on probing the past to resolve current problems, rather it concentrates on the present situation. 

Our thoughts determine how we act or react to certain stimuli and situations.

Therefore, negative thoughts bring about a negative behavior response or an undesirable behavior.

Whereas, positive thoughts propagate desirable and healthy attitude and response.

The therapist separates the problem into parts. These may include: thoughts, feelings and actions. 

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of CBT and designed by Albert Ellis. According to Ellis, “people are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.”

This is what subjective perspective is. 

c) Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP)

In this therapy the client is asked to 

  • Access the phobia in a safe environment.
  • Help them to replay the phobia along with happy emotions.
  • Disassociate from the phobia.

d) Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

MBSR involves being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings and reducing the interference from around the environment.

We do not pay attention to how we process the various stimuli that affect us.

We do not process the way our bodies feel and respond, there is no focus on our thoughts and how these thoughts are influencing our emotions. 

In MBSR, the client is ‘woken up’ to actually experience the various senses. ‘Focus’ is the keyword!


Alters the emotional attachment one has to his/her thoughts. This attachment is actually the root cause of Plutophobia and other phobias as well.

Meditation helps to disconnect, is by far the quickest, most effective way to do this.

Meditation helps one to detach their thoughts from the emotional content of the phobia. 

Meditation helps you to alleviate all irrational thoughts.

Relaxation and maintaining focus gives one the strength to press into the phobic fear and gain access so that it can be eroded, session by session.

e) Group Therapy

Group Therapy is one of the most effective treatments available for phobias. In this the client does not find himself as a lone sufferer.

These groups are individuals who are afflicted with the same types of phobias or anxieties.

They come together to share their thoughts, experiences and their coping mechanisms.

This also helps in developing a ‘sense of I am not the only one’ suffering.

f) Routine Modification

The person suffering from Plutoophobia is advised to alter his daily routine and bring about a change.

The change is always considered to be a healthy way of dealing with stress and phobias in particular.

  • Adopt a walking regimen
  • Induct exercise on a daily basis
  • Alter eating and drinking habits
  • Improving the sleep cycle

g) Medication

There are a number of medicines that the Psychiatrist can prescribe if the symptoms of  Bufonophobia are severe and hinder the daily activities of the sufferer.

  1. Anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs)

These should only be taken after the consultation with the doctor and shouldn’t be initiated or discontinued as per personal discretion.

  1. Antidepressants 

These medicines are not only used to treat depression, but also to alleviate the symptoms of  Plutophobia as well as other phobias.

Medicines alone might not be as effective, but if used in conjunction with therapies then the results will be better. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the fear of wealth called?

The fear of wealth is called Plutophobia.. 

What is the fear of spending money called?

Fear of spending money is called Chrometophobia, where the person is afraid of thinking of money, even touching it and spending it. 

Is meditation more effective than CBT?

Meditation and CBT are equally effective for the treatment of Bufonophobia.

If we improve our sleep, will we be able to get rid of anxiety?

Yes. if our sleep is improved, the symptoms of anxiety are alleviated.

An adult requires 6 hours of good sleep that enables him/her to think clearly and have a positive outlook as when the mind is rested things seem better.


  • www.psychtimes.com
  • www.amazon.com
  • www.nhs.uk
  • www.verywellmind.com

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