Plutophobia (Fear of Wealth)


Plutophobia is the irrational fear of wealth. Someone with this phobia may be extremely terrified of people who are wealthy and powerful. They may also be immensely fearful of becoming wealthy themselves. Though most people would probably not find much of an issue with becoming rich, some people are truly afraid of it. Thus, someone with plutophobia may purposely sabotage their potential in their career by putting forth mediocre efforts each day to ensure they never become wealthy.

Their fear of becoming wealthy may be due to them foreseeing a plethora of potential responsibilities, pressures, and anxieties that would only be brought on by a drastic increase in revenue. They may be fearful that once wealthy they would be taken advantage of by other people or that they would be pressured by family members to support them financially by giving them large sums of money out of guilt.

Their plutophobia may also be due to their own paranoia or pessimistic view of other people’s intentions as they may become fearful of being robbed, stalked, or pursued by another person who envies their wealth. Though criminals exist, purposely choosing to limit your own potential just to “protect yourself” from maybe getting robbed one day or becoming pressured to give a friend thousands of dollars is not rational and may be a sign of plutophobia.

The fear of wealthy people is also a very real obstacle that those with plutophobia face. Very rich people typically have the reputation of being “crooked”, “greedy”, or “untrustworthy”. Such unfavorable adjectives may be what fuels plutophobia. It is entirely possible that some people’s fear of wealthy people may be due to an evolutionary subconscious belief. This makes sense when we look at how powerful people (i.e. kings, dictators, etc.) throughout history have used their wealth and resources to oppress their people.

Symptoms of Plutophobia

Someone suffering from plutophobia may feel intense amounts of anxiety when in the presence of wealthy people or even at the thought of them becoming wealthy. They may choose careers that are relatively low in pay and they may put forth conscious efforts to ensure that they don’t climb the ladder of success. This is all in an effort to stay out of the upper-class tax bracket.

People experiencing plutophobia may have a strong distaste for someone who’s rich and may even believe them to be the anti-Christ or that they are simply an evil person. They may often overlook the charitable things that some rich people have done throughout their lives and focus just on the negative things they have done or may be doing. Regardless of their reasoning, people with plutophobia are irrationally fearful of wealth and their convictions are often out of touch with reality.

Below, you will see some common symptoms of this phobia:

  • Intense anxiety when around wealthy people
  • Anxiety when thinking of wealth
  • Sabotaging one’s own potential
  • Believing to be more ethical than the rich
  • Distrusting wealthy people
  • Taking on low paying careers
  • May often complain about wealthy people

Causes of Plutophobia

There is no exact cause of plutophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment may play a significant role. It may be entirely plausible to think that some people have developed an intense irrational fear of wealth as an evolutionary advantage seeing as how human history is full of examples of wealthy kings and leaders barbarically oppressing their people.

Looking at the lineage of plutophobia in a much more recent time frame may be intimation that such a condition was passed on by their parents. To develop this phobia, it may only take having a family history of mental illness, especially with anxiety disorders. Having such a family history may mean that you have a genetic predisposition for developing mental illness.

Besides genetics, it is also possible for someone to develop plutophobia as a result of a traumatizing experience or learned conditioning. For instance, someone may have developed a fear of wealthy people by having had money stolen from them or by being blackmailed by a wealthy person in someway. Such an experience may then force the victim to distrust all wealthy people.

They may have also developed plutophobia by merely looking at certain wealthy politicians or movie stars who have done things that they disapprove of. Thus, putting the blame of their actions on their wealth and not on the people themselves.

It is experiences such as these that can reinforce and justify their plutophobia. They may feel that if they were to be in a position where they had access to large sums of money, that they may become corrupt like the wealthy people they themselves despise.

Plutophobia Treatments

There is no treatment specifically designed for plutophobia. However, talk therapy, exposure therapy, and anti-anxiety medication may be able to help minimize the symptoms of this disorder. There are many different types of talk therapy that can be beneficial for treating plutophobia. For instance, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be among one of the most effective forms of therapy to treat anxiety disorders.

Another common form of therapy used to treat anxiety disorders, especially phobias such as plutophobia is exposure therapy. Exposure therapy works by having the therapist slowly expose the patient to their fear for a given amount of time. To treat plutophobia, the therapist may have the patient look at pictures or videos of wealthy people. She may also have the patient describe what it would be like if they themselves were wealthy.

Engaging in such activities will almost certainly exacerbate the patient’s symptoms of plutophobia by giving them high amounts of intrusive anxiety and stress. Nevertheless, the goal with exposure therapy is to try and desensitize the patient from their fear by being repetitively exposed to their fear. So, theoretically, the more they see or think about the thing they fear, the less scary it will become.

Anti-anxiety medication may also be able to help reduce the symptoms associated with plutophobia. However, you should first talk to your doctor before you decide to take any medication or pursue any sort of therapy to ensure its effectiveness, as well as your safety.

Exercise for Plutophobia

Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including plutophobia. 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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia, 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 plutophobia over time.

Practicing Yoga for Plutophobia

There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from plutophobia. 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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia.

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 plutophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.

Reducing Caffeine for Plutophobia

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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Plutophobia

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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia. 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 plutophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.

Psychiatric Medications for Plutophobia

Anti-anxiety meds

These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe plutophobia 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 plutophobia 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.

Antidepressants

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 plutophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of plutophobia.

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 plutophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Plutophobia

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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with plutophobia 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 plutophobia 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 Plutophobia

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 plutophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with plutophobia 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 plutophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.

Practicing Meditation for Plutophobia

There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from plutophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimous 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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia, 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 plutophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.

Exposure Therapy for Plutophobia

As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as plutophobia. 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 plutophobia 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 plutophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their plutophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with plutophobia 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.

If you think you may be suffering from some of the symptoms of this condition, then you may benefit from therapy. Feel free to reach out to your doctor or local mental health clinic to see what your available options are and to see if there is any sort of discount or promo code available to help you with the costs of treatment, as well as if your health insurance will cover treatment costs.

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