Fear of Pleasure (Hedonophobia): Diagnosis, Symptoms, Treatment

Fear of pleasure, also known as hedophobia, is an excessive fear or aversion to obtaining happiness. The supposed background of some of these associated sentiments may be due to an idea related to equality, whereby one feels solidarity with people from the countries with the lowest Human Development Index. For others, a recurring thought that some things are too good to be true has resulted in an aggravation that they have no right to feel too good. The condition is relatively rare. Sometimes it can be triggered by a religious upbringing in which asceticism is proposed.


Hedonophobia is formally defined as the fear of experiencing pleasure. Hedon ‘or’ hedone ‘comes from ancient Greek, which means’ joy’ + fear: ‘phobia.’ Hedonophobia is the inability to enjoy pleasant experiences and is often a persistent disease.

You can also read: Fear Of Cold: Characteristics, Causes, Symptoms, Treatments


  • The diagnosis of the condition is generally related to the age of “maturity” in each country where the syndrome exists.
  • For example, in the United States, a person must be 18 years old to be considered an adult, while in Canada, they must be 18 or 19 years old, depending on the province of residence.
  • Globally, the ages range from (+/-) 12 to 24 years and are mainly determined by the traditional ethical practices of previous societies.

The background is crucial in determining the diagnosis depth for those with hydrophobia.

  • For example, when a child is taught that a strong work ethic is all that makes them worthy of the finer things in life, guilt becomes a motivator to turn away from pleasure when they begin to experience it. The individual learns that treats are wrong, and feeling good is not as sanctified as being empathetic to those who suffer.


  • Anxiety high, panic attacks, and extreme fear are symptoms that can result from the anticipated pleasure of any kind.
  • Waiting or anticipating pleasure at some point in the future can also trigger an attack.

Hedonophobes have a type of guilt for feeling pleasure or experiencing pleasurable sensations

  • Due to cultural background or training (whether religious or cultural), avoids pleasant activities such as frivolous or inappropriate.
  • Often, social guilt is connected to having fun while others are hurting, and it is common for those who feel unworthy or have self-esteem issues to resolve.
  • In addition, there is a feeling that they should not be given pleasure because of their lack of performance in life and because they have done things that are considered “bad” or “underserved.”


  • BT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a practical approach to resolving past beliefs that creep in and affect the patient’s current responses to various situations.
  • Medication is only necessary when there is an interference with the average daily functioning of the person.
  • Various techniques are used by the afflicted with the condition of hiding, camouflaging, or masking their aversion to pleasure.
  • Any relationship that includes pleasant things is reestablished when the patient learns that he is not worthy of anything nice or only deserves the opposite of pleasant things. A disconnection is necessary to determine the patient’s inability to intervene in the entire process.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.