What is Ponophobia?

This article will include what Ponophobia is, causes, how it affects a person and how it increases the chances of having a panic attack.

It will define how Ponophobia is different from Social Phobia and will highlight how Ponophobia affects the “Quality of Life”.

It will also highlight how it interferes with the socio-occupational functioning of an individual and how he can overcome it. 


Ponophobia is the fear of fatigue and exhaustion, especially from overworking. The word Ponophobia comes from a Greek word Pono, which means hardship and toil, and “Phobos” which means fear. Ponophobia is often linked to Kopophobia and Ergophobia which also mean fear of fatigue and work.

Pono is a Greek word which means hardship and toil, in other words, it refers to “exert oneself” and phobia has been derived from the Greek word “Phobos” which means fear.

It is usually mixed up with other words like Kopophobia and Ergophobia which also means fear of fatigue and work.

How does Ponophobia affect a person?

As we know every individual is different and unique in their own ways, the threshold level also differs from person to person.

And a person having any phobia depends on the level of fear it generates, for example, a person has claustrophobia means that person has fear of closed spaces, the fear is so intense that the idea of being in a closed place generates goosebumps, restlessness, sweating etc.

Similarly, a person with Ponophobia also experiences the intense fear of fatigue and exhaustion as soon as he encounters overwork load.

He experiences breathlessness, palpitations, sweating, dry mouth, nausea, poor concentration and shivering.

Causes of Ponophobia:

The causes of any phobia to develop depends on the genetics and environmental factors.

If the family has a history of certain phobia then it is most likely for the next generation to have those phobias and Ponophobia is not different from any other phobia. 

Environmental factors refer to the intensity of exposure to the stressful situation in the past and the more intense exposure results in developing a phobia and this can be taken as the precipitating factor of the disorder.

In the case of Ponophobia, the triggering event could be a failure in completing a targeted work in the past, even after putting all the efforts possible. 

Failure usually generates fear and if the desired amount of efforts have been put and even then a person fails, a phobia is more likely to develop. 

Does Ponophobia increase the chance of having a panic attack?

Already having an anxiety disorder means that the person is suffering from unwanted fear, hypervigilance, irritability, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, trembling and body symptoms like fatigue or sweating.

Having Ponophobia increases the chance of getting a panic attack in anxiety-provoking situations and here the situations would be office work, projects, examinations, interview panels etc.

Even if the person only has Ponophobia, the anxiety-provoking situations mentioned above can lead to the extremes if proper measures have not been taken on time.


Ponophobia is often confused with social-phobia as both phobias include compromised social functioning and increased performance anxiety.

While in Ponophobia, a person has a fear of fatigue or pain because of work, it leads to ignoring the work environment, which eventually results in compromised social functioning &/ relations of the individual.

But in Social Phobia, a person has fear of people, social gatherings, humiliation, how to talk in public etc are the main concerns, which eventually results in avoidance in being in public and social gatherings.

However, both conditions lead to performance anxiety and therefore, the confusion must have been taken place that both are same.  


Quality of life simply means the satisfaction a person has from his life.

It involves factors like good physical health, psychological health, good job, enough money to live life happily, a good amount of friends, desirable partner, children, healthy environment, independency, happy social life and soothing personal life.

Good psychological health refers to having a stress-free life.

Ponophobia, on the other hand, brings stress and increases anxiety, it not only affects psychological health but also other factors to have a good quality of life.

We know that one thing leads to another, similarly, one negative aspect (if not cured) leads to damage to other aspects. 

If, for example, psychological health has been compromised, it will affect physical health as well.

In the case of Ponophobia, fatigue, exhaustion, laziness etc. are some factors will affect physical health.

Similarly, it will lead to unemployment and the financial crisis, then hampered social life and finally disputes in personal life.

We can say that everything is correlated in maintaining a good quality of life and this is how Ponophobia affects overall Quality of Life.    


Ponophobia like any other phobia interferes with the self-confidence of the person.

It leads to questioning self about the self-worth, that is he worthy enough to do anything?

Ponophobia brings challenges every single day, for example, a child having Ponophobia suffers every day in order to achieve good grades, doing homework and projects.

This leads to issues in self-worth, self-confidence and self-esteem.

Similarly, an individual seeking for jobs, having Ponophobia will make difficult for him to get one and if he gets one, it will be more difficult to achieve targets on time which eventually will affect the overall functioning of an individual.

This leads to reduced social gatherings because of lack of confidence and reduced efficiency in occupational functioning.  

How can we overcome Ponophobia?

To overcome Ponophobia, certain measures are important to take-

  • Like any other phobia or anxiety disorder, seek a professional help
  • Focus on the therapy side along with the medications. Medications will help in reducing fear and anxiety, while therapy will focus on the underlying factors which provoke fear of fatigue and it will be good for long-term help
  • Medications would include anti-anxiety medications mostly GABA reuptake inhibitors are preferred, but it always depends on the condition of the person who is seeking the treatment
  • Therapies like Cognitive-behavioral therapy, Exposure and Response Prevention therapy and Relaxation techniques will be helpful
  • Learn basic methods of managing stress and anxiety and learn how to lead a good socio-occupational functioning by learning Social skills
  • Accepting yourself is the biggest thing to do, we all have our own flaws, nobody is perfect and therefore accepting ourselves as we are is very important. If you accept yourself, the world will accept you for who you are
  • Believe in yourself, there is nothing important than having faith in yourself. Have faith that no matter how bad the hurdles are you can overcome it


It is advised to consult a psychiatrist for the medications, these medications will focus on the anxiety of the patient and might have their own side effects or withdrawal symptoms.

Medications do not cure any phobia it only suppresses the symptoms which occur in fearful situations and therefore anxiety medications are given like Xanax.

Therefore, it is advised not to be dependent on just the medications and simultaneously try other methods as well.


Psychotherapies help in dealing with the underlying factors which are responsible for the fear to reoccur.

In Ponophobia the ultimate fear of fatigue and exhaustion because of workload is the problem and therefore different psychotherapies have different roles in overcoming from this fear and those are:

  1. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT): CBT helps in finding out the automatic negative thoughts which are developing as soon as the fear-provoking situation (workload) comes in. It then helps in restructuring the pattern and eventually in changing the behavioural pattern.
  2. Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP): ERP helps by showing the fear-provoking situations for a fraction of seconds or minutes (either in vivo or in vitro) and then preventing the response of the individual. The exposure eventually progresses until the time it increases anxiety.
  3. Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation techniques include breathing exercises, biofeedback etc. The most famous relaxation technique is JPMR, and it is very helpful in working with a single muscle at a time and also focusing on the breathing process as well.

Usually, a therapist mixes 3-4 therapies and work accordingly as every individual is different and the problem also varies from individual to individual.


This blog has discussed about Ponophobia, what it means, it’s causes and symptoms.

It has also discussed the factors that affect a person suffering from Ponophobia and the difference between Ponophobia and Social-Phobia.

It has also discussed how it affects the overall quality of life of a person and how it can drastically affect the socio-occupational functioning of an individual. 

Effective measures to deal with Ponophobia has also been discussed and how medications and psychotherapy together can help in overcoming the problem has also been discussed.

Your valuable comments and thoughts are welcomed and it would be wonderful if you can share your personal experiences (if there are any) or experiences of your close ones.

FAQ Questions:

Are Ponophobia and Phonophobia similar?

Ponophobia refers to the fear of fatigue because of overworking while Phonophobia refers to the fear of loud voices.

Are Ergophobia and Ponophobia similar?

Ergophobia is fear of work or employment whereas Ponophobia is the fear of pain from work.


Barcaccia B. et.al. Quality of Life: Everyone Wants it, But What is it? 

Bushra M, Ajaz A K. Jacobson Muscle Relaxation Technique (Jpmr) (20 Min).

Bozman E. (2007), Ponophobia. 

Ergophobia- Wikipedia.