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What is Plutophobia?

By Kelly Ferguson
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Plutophobia is an intense, irrational fear of money. It can manifest as the fear of having money, the fear of rich people, or the fear of the actual money itself. As is the case with most phobia sufferers, plutophobics feel compelled to avoid the fearsome object at all costs, in this case, money, rich people, or a situation that might lead to becoming wealthy, because the anxiety worsens the closer the person gets to the object.

Though some people are more likely than others to develop a phobia, plutophobia, like other phobias, usually stems from a life experience rather than a mental problem. Some phobia sufferers may be able to pinpoint a particular traumatic event, while others will feel that the fear arose from nothing. In these cases, researchers speculate that it may be because the triggering event was a combination of several minor, bad experiences that occurred in childhood and have since been forgotten, while the fear remains.

Depending on the intensity of the fear, symptoms that a sufferer of plutophobia may experience range from feelings of anxiety to shortness of breath, nausea, and many other symptoms associated with anxiety disorders. Extreme fear may lead to panic attacks or similar episodes. Sometimes medication can be used to control severe anxiety to help the individual live a more normal daily life. Most of the time, however, medications only serve to cover up the symptoms and do not help control the underlying fear itself.

One way to learn to manage plutophobia is to practice relaxation techniques to learn how to control the fear and prevent it from taking over. Therapy is also an option, and can sometimes unearth a previously unknown cause for the phobia, or a deeply buried, unconscious origin that can then be addressed. Hypnotherapy is sometimes used to find a reason for the phobia or to modify the person’s feelings toward the feared object, helping the sufferer to confront his fears, or any number of other applications. One well-known treatment for phobias of all kinds is called exposure therapy, a method in which the phobic individual is slowly and gradually exposed to the scenario he or she is afraid of in a controlled situation. This, over time, helps the phobic person to build up a tolerance and become desensitized to a situation that would normally be intensely stressful.

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