Dystychiphobia is a fear of accidents. With this specific phobia, you may feel anxious when you think about or see a place where you fear an accident may happen. Many people with this fear have had past traumatic experiences with accidents. You can overcome fear of accidents with exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and other treatments.
People who have dystychiphobia (dis-TITCH-a-phobia) have a fear of accidents. Someone with dystychiphobia has extreme anxiety at the thought of being in an accident. They stay away from situations where one might happen, even if an accident is unlikely. This condition may affect their ability to go to work, school, shopping and other places.
“Dys” and “tych” are the Greek words for bad and accident. “Phobia” means fear.
Phobias are a form of anxiety disorder. They cause an extreme fear of something that’s out of proportion to the actual risk.
Dystychiphobia is a specific phobic disorder. A specific situation (such as driving or working with machinery) brings on a fearful response. Sometimes, just the thought of a potential accident causes a reaction.
It’s hard knowing exactly how many people have a specific phobia, like dystychiphobia (fear of accidents). Many people may keep this fear to themselves or may not recognize they have it. About 1 in 10 American adults and 1 in 5 teenagers will deal with a specific phobia disorder at some point in their lives, though.
A person with dystychiphobia is afraid of causing or being involved in an accident. They may be scared of accidents:
You have a higher chance of having dystychiphobia or a different specific phobic disorder if you already have:
Other phobias linked to dystychiphobia include:
Potential dystychiphobia causes include:
If you have this fear, any situation that you think may lead to an accident can bring on dystychiphobia. Dystychiphobia triggers include thinking about or participating in:
Physical symptoms of dystychiphobia can range from mild to extreme. They include:
Dystychiphobia can also cause emotional symptoms. These include:
Healthcare providers use a mental health evaluation to diagnose dystychiphobia. There isn’t a specific test to diagnose dystychiphobia. Your healthcare provider will ask you about your symptoms, mental health history and whether you have other phobias. They may refer you to a mental health professional who specializes in phobias and anxiety disorders.
Exposure therapy is one of the main dystychiphobia treatments. During exposure therapy, your mental health professional guides you to experience situations and images that may trigger symptoms. Most people with specific phobias see their symptoms improve after receiving exposure therapy.
During exposure therapy, you:
Other techniques to overcome dystychiphobia include:
Severe dystychiphobia can affect your quality of life. You may have difficulty getting to work or school, running errands, playing sports or going to social events. It may be impossible to visit friends or family or participate in activities with them.
Some people with dystychiphobia have panic attacks. They may experience noncardiac chest pain, a fast heart rate and symptoms similar to a heart attack. Constant worries about panic attacks can result in a panic disorder that requires long-term use of anti-anxiety medications.
You should call your healthcare provider if you’re having:
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Phobias like dystychiphobia can get worse when untreated. You may become unable to drive, fly or participate in physical activities or sports. Fear of accidents can also impact time spent with your friends and loved ones. Healthcare providers can help you overcome a phobia of accidents. Talk to your healthcare provider about treatments. Exposure therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy can help you cope with dystychiphobia triggers.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/28/2022.
Learn more about our editorial process.