The Fear of Making Decisions
Does the very thought of making a decision give you anxiety? Are you terrified by the very prospect of having to make a decision? Do you ever wonder, why do I fear making decisions?
Making decisions is something most probably do every single day, often multiple times a day. But if the idea of making any choice and making a mistake sends you into full-blown panic mode, it may be a symptom of decidophobia.
This irrational fear of decision-making is one of the rare forms of phobias. Let’s explore this in further detail.
Decidophobia is defined as the irrational fear of making the wrong decision. Those who have this phobia exhibit strong anxiety when faced with having to make decisions.
These decisions can be about the smallest things, such as what to wear or where to eat. Not being able to make swift decisions about simple matters can lead to blurred thinking, loss of clarity, and the feeling of being lost.
As you might expect, this phobia results in a state of inaction. And this can seriously thwart a person’s ability to function in society. People with long-term untreated decidophobia have been found to develop Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) later in their lives. It is thus necessary to address this lack of decision-making.
To understand decidophobia, you need to understand what phobias are. By definition, phobias are irrational fears that come with intense symptoms. Fear is a natural part of life, but if you’re experiencing intense anxiety on a regular basis that prevents you from functioning normally, you may have a phobia.
There can be a number of reasons why you may fear having to make choices. Some of them are:
● Social anxiety
● Being afraid of change
● History of making bad decisions
● Low self-confidence
● Tendency to overthink
At first glance, these fears appear to be normal. Everyone goes through these feelings when it comes to making major decisions, such as getting married or putting down money on a house. So you may be wondering, what makes this fear bad?
What makes it bad is, during the limited time we all have on earth, there are many important things we need to do, some for ourselves and some for others. You need to become well-educated, improve and maintain your health, have a meaningful and sustainable career, form relationships, etc. And it’s impossible to go about doing these things with a debilitating fear of having to make decisions. Especially when the decisions involved are mundane, like choosing a brand of milk to buy at the grocery store.
So what causes one to fear having to make decisions that intensely? So far, experts are yet to find a singular cause, but there is extensive speculation that it stems from traumatic experiences.
What Are The Symptoms Of Decidophobia?
Decidophobia is incredibly complex to diagnose because, as mentioned earlier, some decisions are perfectly natural to be worried about.
According to many psychologists, a good way to distinguish between regular fear and a phobia is that the fear being experienced is disproportionate to the actual danger posed by the subject of the fear — in this case, decisions.
Here are some possible signs you may be suffering from decidophobia:
● You deliberately avoid situations where you will be required to make a choice.
● You often let other people make your decisions for you and feel dependent on them.
● You place a great deal of importance on psychic or mystical guidance.
● You experience stress very often.
● You feel like you’re far from functioning at the best you can.
Like most phobias, decidophobia takes its toll on both a person’s mind and body. Here are the most common symptoms of decidophobia.
● Panic attacks
● Muscle tension
● Elevated heart rate
● Hold/cold flashes
● Butterflies in the stomach
● Excessive trust in others
● Fear of an impending doom
How Can You Deal With Decidophobia?
None of these signs and symptoms mean that you are weak or unintelligent in any way. It’s quite the opposite. Intelligent people are more likely to face anxiety when making decisions because they know how complicated the world is.
But decidophobia is not the kind of phobia you can find a way to live with. After all, there’s no way to get through life without having to make decisions. The only way to deal with decidophobia is to overcome it either through guided self-help or professional treatment.
The world of self-help literature and videos for people who fear making decisions is endless. Chances are you might be able to pick up a good book at your local library. Knowledge is the most powerful tool you have because it helps us push through fears and set accomplishments.
Reading and talking to people can make an enormous difference in dealing with decidophobia. You’re likely to find many people who understand your struggle and may have found their own unique ways to overcome the fear of certain decisions.
One of the fastest ways to solve problems is to open your mind to new ways of thinking about them or conceptualizing them. Having a conversation about it can help you achieve this. It can also help you find a new sense of solidarity among people once you realize you’re not the only one who struggles with decisions, which will alleviate your anxiety.
Professional Decidophobia Treatment
Psychologists/therapists will probably have a session or two with you to understand the reasons for your fears from your perspective, the extent to which it interferes with your life, and a little bit about your history. They then determine the mode of treatment that is the most appropriate in your case.
There are three commonly known treatments for decidophobia:
#1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Also known as “talk therapy,” this form of therapy simply involves an open dialogue with a professional. The objective is typically to get to the bottom of your phobia and help you reason your way out of it. Therapists are familiar with a number of methods that can help you overcome your phobia and will probably recommend a few over the course of your treatment.
This involves using hypnosis to help you achieve a calm and focused state of mind to increase your awareness and attention span. In other words, it allows you to help yourself to change the behaviors and habits that are causing you grief.
#3. Exposure Therapy
Exposure helps people desensitize towards the things that strike fear into them. This involves making you face your fear gradually. It’s heavily practiced and has been known to work for many kinds of phobias, including decidophobia.
Coping With Decidophobia in the Long-Term
There are many ways for you to help yourself overcome decidophobia, but the most important is that you need to make the decision that you will somehow overcome this. Decidophobia is a tricky one, because it gets directly in the way of the things you need to do to overcome it — because they involve making decisions.
You may have trouble deciding whom to talk to, what to share and what not to share, what to read, and how to approach situations differently. It’s not an easy road, which is why the sooner you begin to face your fears head-on and get the necessary help, the faster you can be on your way to a more proactive life.
Decidophobia can be extremely harmful to your long-term health and wellbeing. You need to understand what motivates your fear of decisions and seek guidance or treatment accordingly. There’s no shame in not being able to make decisions; it’s something all people struggle with to varying degrees, especially during their younger years. But that doesn’t mean you choose to live a life avoiding any major decisions.