Atelophobia is the irrational fear of imperfection. Social pressures, as well as one’s own insecurities may be pertinent factors for someone wanting to strive for perfection. However, when this desire for perfection becomes irrational and when “nothing is ever good enough”, you may be experiencing atelophobia.

People with this mental illness may find it extremely difficult to accomplish tasks and achieve goals due to their irrational desire for perfection. They may put forth tons of effort toward accomplishing things, but may quit before they finish them due to their belief that it is not, nor will it ever be perfect.

To no surprise, people with atelophobia experience large amounts of anxiety and self-loathing as they are never able to meet the ridiculously high standards that they have set for themselves. This inability to meet this standard of perfection may cause them to choose careers that are very simplistic or that are very low pressure positions so that they won’t have to bother with being “the best.”

Atelophobia does not discriminate between sexes. Both males and females have their own ideas of “perfection” and we can clearly see how some societies have worked toward conforming “perfection.”

People with atelophobia may be overly concerned with their body, their face, their abilities, their job position, and virtually anything else in their lives that can be “improved.” They may find it very difficult to develop healthy relationships with people also. They may deeply desire compliments from others and may subconsciously want to be identified as perfect in some capacity by their peers.



Symptoms of Atelophobia

In several societies around the world many men strive for the ideal muscular body in what is called bodybuilding. Their strong desire to attain the perfect body leads some of them to resort to obsessive behavior where every aspect of their life revolves around improving their physique. They may exercise for hours each day, eat excessive protein and calories, abuse performance enhancing drugs (PED’s), and become in debt from all of their bodybuilding expenses. Such extreme cases may be intimation of atelophobia.

In many developed societies women may feel pressured to attain their version of the “perfect body” as well. They may get their breasts augmented, become anorexic, or may never been seen in public without makeup. Women who suffer from atelophobia may also go through many surgeries to restructure areas of their face also.

As mentioned before, atelophobia does not discriminate between sexes. So, some men with atelophobia may also develop an eating disorder or have numerous facial surgeries, while some women may workout excessively to attain “the perfect muscular body.” Nevertheless, regardless of what their particular motives are, they usually find that they are never satisfied, regardless of the amount of money they spend, the position they hold, or the quality of their efforts.

Below, you will see some of the most common symptoms of atelophobia:

  • Irrationally concerned with being perfect
  • May come across as obsessive
  • Self-loathing
  • Low self-esteem
  • Going to extreme lengths to accomplish goals
  • Poor self-image
  • Never satisfied with their efforts
  • Very self-critical
  • Judgmental of other’s “imperfection”
  • Finds self-worth in accomplishments

Causes of Atelophobia

There are no known causes of atelophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment are likely to play significant roles in the development of this disorder. People who have a family history of mental illness, especially with anxiety disorders and phobias may have an increased risk for developing atelophobia. Those who are genetically predisposed for developing mental illness will typically have a much greater chance of developing phobias, than those who are not genetically predisposed.

One’s environment is likely to play a very significant role in someone developing atelophobia. Young children who grow up in an environment where they are constantly criticized about their appearance or their abilities may have an increased risk for developing atelophobia. Growing up in an environment where nothing you do is “good enough” may be a causal factor for someone developing this phobia.

People with atelophobia may suffer from a very low self-esteem and they may try to combat this low self-esteem by attaining perfection in one or more aspects of their life. This is typical behavior with most healthy people. However, those who suffer from atelophobia will experience a much more extreme and debilitating desire to attain perfection. They may also subconsciously feel worthless and it may be these beliefs of worthlessness that fuels or reinforces their need for perfection.



Atelophobia Treatments (abridged)

There are no known treatments for atelophobia. However, therapy and medication may be able to help. Specifically, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be very effective at helping to treat this condition. CBT therapy would work by having you and the therapist work toward improving your coping skills and ability to problem solve.

These are very important skills to have when struggling with atelophobia as the symptoms of this phobia often leave many people unable to properly cope with their intrusive desires to be perfect. CBT therapy may be able to help you change the way you think about your irrational desire for perfection.

Medications may also be able to help with treating this phobia. Specifically, anti-anxiety medications may work best. However, this will depend from person to person. Some people with atelophobia may also suffer from other mental illnesses such as generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, or even dissociative identity disorder. So, the type of medication that would be prescribed for someone with atelophobia may be partially dictated by the occurrence of any other disorders they may have.

If you think you may have atelophobia, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can to get properly treated. You should always get professional medical advice before you take it upon yourself to begin any treatment or take any medication.

It will be very important for you to discuss your concerns and all of your symptoms with your doctor so that you can get properly diagnosed and treated. As mentioned before, someone with atelophobia may suffer from other mental disorders also. So, it would be imperative that they get treated for all of their mental illnesses as each disorder may exacerbate the symptoms of another.

Treatments (expanded)

Reducing Caffeine for Atelophobia

It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with atelophobia to experience panic attacks.

So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.

Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with atelophobia.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Atelophobia

DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like atelophobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.

One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with atelophobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.

Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with atelophobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.

Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with atelophobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your atelophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.

Meditation for Atelophobia

There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from atelophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimeous state. There are many different ways with which you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.

Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from atelophobia due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else that does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.

For someone with atelophobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.

To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of atelophobia, you can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen and chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands during each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.

Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you, the way your skin feels as you touch certain objects, the way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with atelophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Atelophobia

CBT is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve one’s mental health. It is a modality that is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. Someone with atelophobia may also be able to benefit from CBT as well seeing as how it would allow them to have a much better understanding as to why they think and behave the way they do in relation to their irrational fears.

CBT can be immensely helpful for someone with atelophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with atelophobia is exposed to their fear, they will almost always have an instantaneous subconscious reaction to their fear. Such a lack of introspection is likely a large part of why someone with this condition will suffer to the extent that they will. CBT can help you to take a step back and analyze your fears more deeply than you typically would.

Besides learning to be more fastidious with regards to understanding one’s specific fears, someone with atelophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Atelophobia

MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from atelophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with atelophobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.

Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of atelophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.




Exposure Therapy for Atelophobia

As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as atelophobia. It can be an efficient way to help desensitize the patient to their specific fears. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the therapist implementing it on their patient is very adept at doing so. For example, if the therapist were to slightly expose someone with atelophobia to their fear, then it may not be very effective as they may need a higher amount of exposure to truly trigger any sort of worthwhile change in the patient.

The same can be said for the antithesis of this scenario. If the therapist were to excessively expose someone with atelophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their atelophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with atelophobia has a very strong sense of just how severe their symptoms are so that they can know the level of exposure that the patient will likely be able to handle.

Exercise for Atelophobia

Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including atelophobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.

According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of atelophobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.

There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of atelophobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with atelophobia over time.

Medication Therapy for Atelophobia

Antidepressant drugs

These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression as they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as atelophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of atelophobia.

These types of drugs are typically taken on a daily basis. They can indeed help prevent panic attacks from occurring, but they are more so used to help reduce people’s daily anxiety. Talk to your doctor to see if taking antidepressants can help to reduce your symptoms of atelophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.

Anti-anxiety drugs

These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe atelophobia due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.

These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their atelophobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.

Yoga for Atelophobia

There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from atelophobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with atelophobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.

There are many different types of yoga that someone with atelophobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with atelophobia.

If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of atelophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.

Positive aspects of perfectionism

Although perfectionism, or more specifically atelophobia can be extremely debilitating and cumbersome, it does in fact have its fair share of benefits. For example, many of the worlds most successful men have all been perfectionists, scrupulously attentive to the details of their craft. In situations such as this, perfectionism can be quite advantageous as it can allow one to accomplish things that could have never been accomplished if they weren’t so motivated to perfect their craft.

Perfectionism or mild atelophobia can also benefit someone by improving their ability to be resilient and persevere when things do not go their way, such as them experiencing a set back or a temporary failure of some sort. When such a situation arises, it is very common for people to simply give up or to accept the finished product as less than desired.

This is not and cannot be the case for someone who is a perfectionist or someone who has atelophobia as their intense desire to achieve perfection intertwined with their fear of not achieving that which they desire in the “perfect” manner they wish.

Although someone with atelophobia can expect to find it difficult to accept mediocrity in virtually anything they wish to pursue or seek out, they can also expect to meet the uptight demand they will likely have for themselves as they will be fueled by their anxiety. Oftentimes, great artists, musicians, writers, and scientists are seen as being perfectionists. Although this may not be the case for every successful person, a certain degree of perfectionism is likely to become evident in one way or another in their lives.

This is not to say that all artists and scientists suffer from atelophobia, but rather that they may have experienced some of the symptoms of it, such as a deep desire to perfect things that they wish to pursue. For example, a music producer who is not only a perfectionist, but who also suffers from severe atelophobia will have an extremely difficult time completing a single bar of music as they will have a deep feeling of never truly being satisfied with their work, thinking to themselves that “it could always be better.”

Although someone suffering from atelophobia may not be able to create or accomplish the same amount of things as someone else who does not suffer from such a condition, the quality or attention to detail will likely be much more apparent insofar as their atelophobia is not so extreme that it completely cripples their ability to create things. If this were to be the case, then they may experience painful panic attacks due to their inability to ever “truly perfect” things in their lives. Such painful experiences are likely to bring forth the many negative aspects of being a perfectionist or having atelophobia.




Negative aspects of perfectionism

Although someone who deems themselves to be a perfectionist may be quite adept at their job or any other endeavor with which they decide to pursue, it will not come without its fair share of disadvantages. This is especially the case for someone who suffers from full blown atelophobia.

For example, someone who is a perfectionist can expect to be extremely anxious when pursuing their craft. Although they may deeply enjoy what they do, there will also be a great deal of worry that it will not meet the very high standards with which they have made for themselves. Although this may not seem like a negative thing for everyone, it can indefinitely be when it is experienced in its most extreme form.

Someone people who are perfectionists or who experience some symptoms of atelophobia may also find that they are simply not able to complete anything. They may start to build a birdhouse or paint the guest bedroom, but the task will never get completed as their unrealistically high standard will never get met because it is just that, unrealistic. So, although they may be very talented and intelligent, their burning desire for perfection may simply be too much for them to work with, thus leaving them dissatisfied with anything they pursue to the point of not completing it.

People suffering from conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder and anorexia nervosa can expect to experience a great deal of perfectionism or symptoms of atelophobia as they will be extremely dissatisfied with their appearance to the point of doing things that will harm their body, such as by temporarily starving themselves, among other things. Someone with body dysmorphic disorder may be so obsessed with “perfecting” their appearance that they may resort to undergoing numerous plastic surgeries on their face to alter their appearance to better meet the very high standard they have set for themselves.

For students suffering from perfectionism or atelophobia, they may have very good grades, but it may also come with the cost of their mental health as they may be so overly concerned with their academic performance that they may spend much of their waking hours in a state of dread and anxiousness as they may never feel that they work has been done. They may take their studies to the extreme to the point that it will negatively affect other very important aspects in their life.

Although many people who deem themselves to be perfectionists or those who suffer from atelophobia may take pride in their ability to perform at such a high level in their craft, they may in fact covertly have a very low self-esteem. This would make sense for some people as it would be this very low self-esteem, along with various insecurities that would help to fuel their perfectionism.

This double edged sword may not be able to be wielded successfully by everyone as some people can thrive with their perfectionism, while others simply cannot. This is especially the case with those suffering from full blown atelophobia as this mental illness can be considered to be a very hyperbolic version of what is thought to be perfectionism.

Multidimensional perfectionism scale (FMPS)

Also known as the Frost Multidimensional Perfectionism Scale, this scale which has six different dimensions of perfectionism was created by Randy O. Frost. The scale gives a clearer understanding of how someone who is a perfectionist (or someone who suffers from atelophobia) may think about themselves or other people insofar as it relates to perfectionism. Below, you will see the six different dimensions of perfectionism created by Frost, along with a brief description of each showcasing how they relate to atelophobia.

1) Concern over making mistakes

Someone suffering from symptoms of atelophobia or perfectionism will likely have a very difficult time with accepting making mistakes. When they inevitably do make mistakes in one or more facets of their life, they may become very enraged or saddened. They may also merely develop an even deeper sense of perfectionism as their standards may raise even higher after they make a mistake. Nevertheless, people experiencing symptoms of atelophobia will likely have a very deep concern over making mistakes.

2) High personal standards (striving for excellence)

Those suffering from symptoms of atelophobia can expect to strive for excellence in some, if not all endeavors they wholeheartedly pursue. The unattainably high personal standards that they set for themselves are likely never met. Nevertheless, setting the mark so high for themselves still typically means that they will accomplish or at least that they will strive to accomplish a great deal of significant things in their chosen craft. Such a reality will highly motivate someone with this frame of mind.

3) The perception of high parental expectations

For most children, it is very common for them to have a deep desire to want to make their parents proud of them. However, for those suffering from atelophobia or for those seeking to attain “perfection” in every facet of their lives, they will likely be doing the opposite of what they intended. Although this is definitely not always the case, attempting to attain a “perfect ideal” can bring forth a plethora of issues such as diminishing healthy parent-child relationships and obsessively ruminating over their ideals.

4) The perception of high parental criticism

A perfectionist or someone suffering from atelophobia may find themselves being overly critical of their parents or overly critical of their children. This may be due to the high expectations they have put on their parents or their children. Nevertheless, such criticism due to their inability to fit into the ideal with which the perfectionist has conformed will likely cause a great amount of discord in their relationships.

5) The doubting of the quality of one’s actions

Doubting one’s ability or the quality of one’s actions is likely to be a very common characteristic of someone experiencing symptoms of atelophobia. Such doubt and ambiguity may lead them to take extreme actions to ensure that they meet the very high standards that they have set for themselves. Although they will likely fall short of such a incredibly high standard, this will likely not stop them in their pursuit for perfection.

6) A preference for order and organization

The perfectionist’s preference for things in their life to be orderly and organized will oftentimes become much more than preferences, especially when it is concerning things that they care deeply about. In such an instance, their scrupulous tendencies may become excessive to the point of resembling obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).



Atelophobia in bodybuilding

The sport of bodybuilding is known for taking aesthetic to the extreme. The men and women involved in it do their best to try and get as lean as they can, as muscular as they can, and as symmetrical as they can. Such a form of perfectionism may make some bodybuilders transition into eventually developing full blown atelophobia. This is obviously not the case for every bodybuilder as it will likely be quite aberrant when such a case is identified.

Nevertheless, the extreme measures that people who compete in bodybuilding are willing to take are at least likely to show some symptoms of atelophobia, if not actually developing the condition in its full form. The desire to develop the “perfect” body is among one of the main focuses of those involved in bodybuilding. Their intense desire to cultivate their physique to the ideal that they have imagined in their minds may motivate them to push themselves to their limits, but it may also create a false ideal that can never truly be reached. Thus, causing them to take extreme measures that may be harmful to their overall mental and physical health.

For example, a bodybuilder experiencing symptoms of atelophobia may convince himself that they only way with which he can ever achieve the ideal he has in his mind of how he should look is by taking performance enhancing drugs. Although these drugs may not be innately harmful, when achieving a perfect ideal, it can clearly be seen how such drug use can get out of hand. Bodybuilders with symptoms of atelophobia may convince themselves that “more is better”, meaning that the more testosterone and steroids they take, the closer and faster they will get to that perfect ideal they have imagined in their mind.

If someone is heavily involved in bodybuilding, then it may be extremely difficult for them to want to seek out treatment for their atelophobia, if they happen to suffer from the condition that is. This would be due to the fact that they have made bodybuilding a very large part of their life. Their entire identity may be wrapped up in the fact that they compete as a bodybuilder. Friends and colleagues may know them as “the bodybuilder” and this may make it quite challenging for them to want to hit the brakes on their pursuit for perfection.

A bodybuilder showing symptoms of atelophobia may even see their intense desire to achieve perfection as a virtue which makes them feel special and unique. Also, the encouragement they are likely to get from their friends or their fans may also make their pursuit for perfection even that much more difficult to break. So, despite the deep amount of discontentment they may always feel about their appearance, specifically their body, they may suppress any ideas that the lengths to which they are willing to go to achieve their ideal body may actually be harmful and/or obsessive.

Atelophobia in sports

Due to the competitive nature of athletics, symptoms of atelophobia are likely to be commonplace as athletes are competing with not only their opponents, but also with themselves. With that being said, below you will see a handful of popular sports, along with some of the ways that atelophobia can easily seep in.

Track and field and atelophobia

The many events that are constituents of the sport of track and field are not exempt from the pernicious nature of atelophobia or the pursuit of perfection. Unlike many other sports, there is a very significant emphasis put on breaking records. Regardless of the event, be it the 100 yard dash, the pole vault, the high jump, or the 1 mile run, records are paramount in these sports as they are a direct indication of their ability.

Some athletes have a fear of imperfection to the point of excess, so much that competing means everything to them and the mere thought of losing or having an “imperfect” showing at their upcoming track and field event to be utterly terrifying. Such symptoms of atelophobia may cause them to spend countless hours working on their craft, regardless of if doing do means that they will damage the interpersonal relationships they have developed over the years, as well as diminishing their own health in the process.

Gymnastics and atelophobia

The sport of gymnastics is another flourishing sport which similar to track and field not only has a very deep history, but also heavily involves the pursuit of perfection. Gymnastics, unlike most sports has judges which score the gymnast on their performance. The fact that this creates an environment of subjective scoring, unlike other sports like basketball or hockey which are objective in the way each team scores points (excluding subjective officiating), gymnasts may have even more fear of imperfection as they realize that they are also dealing with the element of opinion among the judges.

With this being said, it can easily be understood why a gymnast may develop some symptoms of atelophobia due to their fear of having an “imperfect” showing. Such a fear may lead them to take extreme measures to achieve their goals, even if the repercussions of those measures are very damaging to their overall happiness in life.

Baseball and atelophobia

Bringing the focus in to team sports, baseball is another sport which has had many instances where certain players become utterly obsessed or at least excessively concerned with their own pursuit of perfection. Whether that be them breaking what were thought to be unbreakable records or achieving some other sort of dominance off of the field, baseball is another sport where symptoms of atelophobia can clearly be seen. This is not to say that all great baseball players suffer from atelophobia, but rather that their deep desire to achieve greatness or their intense fear of having an imperfect performance on gameday may very well be a common way of thinking among such men.

For some of these men, their deep fear of imperfection or their symptoms of atelophobia may motivate them to take extreme measures such as taking steroids or other performance enhancing drugs to help them get an overall advantage on their opponents. Similar to those involved in bodybuilding, when such drugs are taken in excess, very negative repercussions may inevitably ensue.




Atelophobia in modeling

Similar to bodybuilding, men and women involved in modeling will likely have also cultivated a sort of “perfect ideal” of what they should look like when they compare their face and body to that of other successful models in their niche. Obviously, not all models suffer from atelophobia. However, it is very plausible to conceive that a significant number of them at least have symptoms of atelophobia due to the superficial nature of modeling. The excessive amount of makeup used, hair products, perfectly choreographed poses, expensive clothing, etc.  It is all used to allude to the illusion of perfection.

Although this isn’t the case for all models, it definitely is for a great many of them as it comes with the territory just as it does in bodybuilding. The competitive nature of modeling may also aid in amplifying some of their symptoms of atelophobia insofar as they are experiencing it. Such competitiveness may motivate them to take extreme measures to stand out from the crowd and to be as successful as they possibly can be. Although they may not have entered modeling due to the competitive nature of it, if they are pursuing to the absolute best that they can be in their modeling career, then they may in fact experience some competitiveness as a result of it. Thus, feuling their symptoms of atelophobia.

Such measures may be them getting numerous surgeries to reconstruct their face or augment their breasts, among other things. Such practices are not innately bad, but when taken to the extreme and when searching for “perfection”, one can clearly see how such an endeavor can end up becoming a never ending facial and body reconstruction. Such surgeries can be very pricey and has the potential to cause damage to the body. People who are addicted to plastic surgery oftentimes withhold the conviction that “it is never enough.”

Some models experiencing symptoms of atelophobia may also develop body dysmorphic disorder. This mental illness is characterized by having an obsessive focus on a perceived flaw in their appearance. Such perceptions may lead them to develop anorexia nervosa, among other conditions. Anorexia is an eating disorder causing people to obsess about their weight and what they eat. They may force themselves to eat very little food each day, causing them to become very skinny and malnourished. Although anorexia is mainly seen in women, it is also experienced in men as well.

This is not to say that everyone involved in modeling is anorexic, has body dysmorphic disorder, or has atelophobia, but it is to say that it can easily be understood how such a profession can create an environment that encourages such thinking and such pursuits for perfection. Models suffering from atelophobia may indeed find that they are never satisfied with their appearance, regardless of what measures they have taken or what measures they are currently taking. To them, their pursuit for perfection may never be enough.

OCD and atelophobia

Obsessive thoughts and compulsions are quite common among those who profess themselves to be perfectionists or for those who suffer from atelophobia. This is not to say that everyone who suffers from atelophobia also suffers from OCD, nor does it imply that anyone with OCD also has atelophobia as both of these conditions have their fair share of distinct symptoms, which the other condition will not have.

People who suffer from OCD are often consumed with orderliness and structure. Although this is not the case for everyone with OCD as there are countless amounts of ways that someone with this condition can experience their obsessions and/or compulsions, but it is still a pretty well known trait of someone with OCD nonetheless.

Just as is the case with those suffering from OCD, someone with atelophobia may also be overly concerned with orderliness and structure, at least in the sense that the lack of those things may lead to some sort of “imperfect” outcome. That is one of the main differences with OCD and atelophobia: the person with OCD has obsessions and compulsions due to illogical fears which are often not based in reality (i.e. driving over 3 speed bumps may cause an earthquake), while those with atelophobia will withhold fears about imperfection which are largely based on a false premise (which is that perfection can truly ever be reached by means of subjectivity).

Depending on the individual’s genetics, as well as their environment, someone suffering from severe atelophobia may in fact be at risk for developing OCD as well. Such a possibility may be much more likely if some of their symptoms of atelophobia causes them to obsess about the fear of imperfection to the point of excess. Such obsessions may lead them to develop full blown OCD insofar as they have the proper genetics that is. The same can be said for someone with atelophobia who has compulsions along with their obsessions about imperfection.

Also, just as someone suffering with atelophobia can develop OCD, the inverse can also be said. Someone with OCD who has obsessions and compulsions about imperfection or of attaining perfection may also develop atelophobia. Typically, people who suffer from OCD will have many different obsessions and compulsions, and if some of those obsessions and compulsions entail cultivating a certain type of ideal, whatever that may be, then they may be at risk for developing atelophobia.

If you suffer from OCD and you have not yet gotten treated for it, then it would be in your best interest to seek out treatment as soon as you can, not only for the sake of improving your symptoms of OCD, but also to help prevent your risk for developing atelophobia as well. If you happen to suffer from both OCD and atelophobia, then you may greatly benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, among other treatment methods. In addition to this, some psychiatric medications may also be able to significantly help reduce the intensity of your symptoms.

Narcissists and atelophobia

Although narcissism and atelophobia are quite different mental disorders, especially when we look at the details of both conditions, they still have some commonalities. For example, those suffering from narcissistic personality disorder will often try very hard to give off the aura that they have “perfect” lives. They will often go to painstaking efforts to ensure that they are viewed as being the antithesis of imperfect.

Such a fear of being viewed as imperfect is likely what causes many narcissists to accrue massive amounts of debt due to their frivolous spending habits as they will often try to impress others by showing them how “well off” and “perfect” their lives are, even though they may actually be poor. This is due to very low self-esteem and a an abysmally poor self image of oneself, among other things. Such actions can easily be mistaken as being nothing more than symptoms of atelophobia.

Narcissists may also experience symptoms of atelophobia by refusing to acknowledge that they have any flaws when speaking to someone close to them. For example, if a narcissist was asked, “What is your worst character trait?” The narcissist may answer that question with something like, “I am a perfectionist.” or “I care too much sometimes.” Essentially, they will try their hardest to emit the illusion of a perfect life as best they can.

Although atelophobia is much different than narcissism, you can clearly see how narcissists can exhibit signs of atelophobia. With that being said, the inverse is much less common as those with atelophobia do not have a desire to belittle others nor are they overly concerned with their reputation like narcissists are.

This is not to say that someone suffering from atelophobia can under no circumstance develop narcissistic personality disorder, but rather it is to say that the many symptoms of atelophobia itself does not lead one to develop narcissism as their reasons for doing so is based entirely in fear, not in insecurities. So, if someone with atelophobia were to eventually develop narcissism, then it would likely be due to other reasons, not directly related to their atelophobia alone, although it may be a miniscule contributing factor.

So, if you are suffering from narcissism in some capacity, then you should talk to your doctor or therapist as soon as you can so that you can be treated for your symptoms, as well as helping to reduce your risk for developing atelophobia too. It may also be pertinent to take a close look at whether or not you are experiencing some of the symptoms associated with narcissism to decipher whether or not you should seek out help from a mental health professional.