Most people do not intentionally work themselves to physical collapse, but some fear the potential of pain associated with normal work. When the fear of pain is especially strong the condition is referred to as Ponophobia.
Personal experiences or experiences through a family member or close friend who obtained a painful or debilitating physical injury while on the job may allow the phobic to conclude that hard work equals long-term pain and discomfort. That experience can cause an individual to resist any future occurrence of a similar event.
Media can heighten the fear through programs or commercials that show physical trauma in overworked employees.
An individual with this phobia will struggle with completing strenuous work related activity. It may not be a situation where they are trying simply to get out of work – they may be seeking to avoid the pain they believe is likely in such a scenario.
Other symptoms include an urge to come up with any reason possible to get out of the work requested, panic attack, air hunger, trembling, nausea, dry mouth, crying, feeling faint, elevated heart rate.
This fear can be troublesome because it can diminish employability. It can diminish the value one has had within a company – and in a worse case scenario it could result in job termination.
Learning that a little bit of pain is both normal and sometimes necessary in a work related experience can be a valuable aid in overcoming this fear. A therapist can help discover the origin of the fear and how to logically counter the emotional response to the fear.