What is Atychiphobia?

The fear of failure in a particular endeavor is experienced by most people one way or another. But irrational and extreme fear of failing or facing uncertainty is a phobia known as atychiphobia.

People who live with atychiphobia often feel absolutely certain they will fail, even if that feeling is baseless. This sense of insecurity can interfere with their thoughts, emotions, and actions.

Causes of atychiphobia:

Fear of failure can have a wide variety of causes. Some potential causes include:

  • Critical upbringing: People who grow up in households that are highly critical or unsupportive may be more likely to experience a fear of failure. Because they felt that they could never live up to their family’s expectations during childhood, they may continue to fear making mistakes as adults.
  • Definitions of failure: People often have different definitions of what failure means. For some people, it means not achieving something exactly as they planned.
  • Trauma: People who experienced a difficult or even traumatic failure may also be very afraid of repeating that experience in the future.


Not everyone will experience this type of fear in the same way. The severity runs along a spectrum from mild to extreme. Phobias like atychiphobia can be so extreme that they completely paralyze you, making it difficult to carry on with your tasks at home, school, or work. You may even miss out on important opportunities in your life, both personally and professionally.

The other symptoms you may experience with atychiphobia are similar to those you’d experience with other phobias. They may be physical or emotional in nature, and they are likely triggered most when you think about certain situations in which you may fail. In some cases, your symptoms may seem to come out of nowhere at all.

Physical symptoms may include:

  • difficulty breathing
  • unusually fast heart rate
  • tightness or pain in your chest
  • trembling or shaking sensations
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • digestive distress
  • hot or cold flashes
  • sweating

Emotional symptoms may include:

  • an intense feeling of panic or anxiety
  • the overwhelming need to escape a situation that produces the fear
  • feeling detached from yourself
  • feeling like you’ve lost control over a situation
  • thinking that you may die or pass out
  • generally feeling powerless over your fear

Risk Factors:

It can be difficult to put a finger on exactly why you’re experiencing an unnatural fear of failure. There are numerous risk factors for developing different phobias. You may be at higher risk for atychiphobia if you:

  • Have perfectionistic tendencies
  • Failed at important personal goals in the past
  • Have a genetic predisposition to atychiphobia
  • Have an eating disorder, mood disorder, or anxiety disorder

Impact of the Atychiphobia : 

Fear of failure can take a toll on a person’s belief in their abilities and their motivation to pursue their goals.

  • Low self-esteem: People who fear failure may also engage in negative self-talk or have low self-confidence. which makes it difficult to pursue goals.
  • Poor motivation: When people fear failure, they may also experience a lack of motivation that makes it difficult to get started on projects and work toward goals.
  • Self-sabotage: It isn’t uncommon for people who fear failure to engage in acts of self-handicapping that undermine their own chances of success.
  • Shame: The fear of failure often stems from a fear of experiencing shame or embarrassment. Failing can trigger feelings of worthlessness, so avoiding trying in the first place can sometimes serve as a way to protect the self from disappointment, regret, and sadness.

Living with this mindset brings negative consequences that can extend beyond failure to reach a goal. Extreme fear of failure can affect mental health, relationships, and overall quality of life.