Decidophobia: Overcoming The Fear Of Making Choices


Decisions, decisions, decisions - life is filled with them. From choosing what to have for breakfast to making major life-altering choices, decision-making is an inherent part of being human. For most of us, making decisions comes naturally, but for some, it can be an overwhelming and anxiety-inducing process. Together, we will delve into the world of decidophobia, exploring what it is, its causes and effects, who is affected, and most importantly, how to treat and overcome this fear of decision-making.

What Is decidophobia?

Decidophobia, often described as the fear of making decisions, is an emotional and psychological state that can significantly impact a person's life. It is characterized by an intense anxiety or fear associated with the process of making choices, even seemingly minor ones.1 People with decidophobia may find themselves paralyzed by the thought of having to decide, leading to procrastination, avoidance, and sometimes a complete inability to make choices.2

Causes of decidophobia

Understanding the root causes of decidophobia is crucial in addressing this fear. While the exact cause can vary from person to person, several factors may contribute to the development of decidophobia:

  1. Perfectionism: Perfectionists often struggle with decision-making because they fear making the wrong choice. They set unrealistically high standards for themselves and worry that any decision they make will fall short.
  2. Low Self-Esteem: Individuals with low self-esteem may doubt their own judgment and feel unworthy of making decisions. They might seek external validation for every choice they make, leading to indecision.
  3. Traumatic Experiences: Past experiences of negative outcomes resulting from decisions can create a fear of making choices. People may associate decision-making with negative consequences, leading to avoidance.3
  4. Fear of Responsibility: Some individuals fear the responsibility that comes with making decisions. They worry about the consequences of their choices and the impact on others.
  5. Overthinking: Overanalyzing every possible outcome of a decision can lead to mental exhaustion and heightened anxiety, making it even harder to make a choice.

Effects of decidophobia

Decidophobia can have a range of effects on a person's life, both in their personal and professional spheres. These effects may include:

  1. Procrastination: A common response to decidophobia is delaying decisions or avoiding them altogether. This can lead to missed opportunities and increased stress.
  2. Stagnation: Fear of making choices can result in a stagnant life, as individuals may resist change or avoid making necessary decisions to progress.
  3. Low Self-esteem: The constant doubt and self-criticism associated with decidophobia can erode self-esteem over time.
  4. Relationship strain: In personal relationships, decidophobia can lead to frustration and conflict when one person consistently avoids making decisions.4
  5. Career Impact: At work, indecisiveness can hinder career advancement, as it may be interpreted as a lack of confidence or competence.
  6. Isolation: Decidophobia can lead to social isolation as individuals may avoid social situations that require decision-making.

Who can be affected by decidophobia?

Decidophobia can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. However, some factors may increase the likelihood of developing this fear:

  1. Personality traits: Individuals with certain personality traits, such as high levels of anxiety or perfectionism, may be more prone to decidophobia.
  2. Past trauma: Those who have experienced traumatic events or negative consequences resulting from decisions may develop a fear of decision-making.
  3. Family and cultural factors: Family dynamics and cultural upbringing can influence a person's approach to decision-making. In some cultures, for example, deference to authority figures is emphasized, which can discourage independent decision-making.
  4. Work Environment: High-pressure work environments or jobs that require frequent decision-making may exacerbate decidophobia in some individuals.
  5. Media: Several studies:5 suggest that people who frequently switch between various media tasks tend to experience a decline in their thinking abilities. This decline impacts their ability to make informed decisions in situations requiring careful thinking and strategic planning, as well as in scenarios where they need to learn from feedback. Compared to those who don't multitask with media as much, heavy media multitaskers may struggle to make good decisions in both types of situations. 

Artist Elke Eve Reinhuber used the 'Decidophobia' video installation to address the difficulty of decision-making and the abundance of choices in our society.6 Her aim was to raise awareness of our freedom to choose while acknowledging the challenges of making the right decisions. Her work also prompted reflection on how different choices in the past might have shaped our lives today.

All these point to the fact that several factors can contribute to decidophobia.

How to treat decidophobia

The good news is that decidophobia is not a permanent condition, and there are effective strategies for overcoming it. Here are some steps and approaches to consider:

1. Self-Awareness:7

  • Recognize and acknowledge your fear of decision-making. The first step towards solving an issue is to recognize it exists.
  • Identify the specific situations or types of decisions that trigger your anxiety.

2. Start small:

  • Begin with low-stakes decisions to build your confidence. Gradually begin to make more important choices.
  • Break down complex decisions into smaller, manageable steps.

3. Set realistic expectations:

  • Understand that not every decision will have a perfect outcome. Embrace the idea that making mistakes is part of learning and growing.
  • Challenge your need for perfection and remind yourself that most decisions can be adjusted or corrected if necessary.

4. Develop decision-making skills:

  • Learn and practice decision-making techniques, such as the pros and cons lists or decision matrices.
  • Seek advice and input from trusted friends, family, or colleagues when appropriate.

5. Manage anxiety:

  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or mindfulness meditation, to reduce anxiety associated with decision-making. Also, considering therapy to deal with anxiety.

6. Build self-esteem:

  • Work on improving your self-esteem and self-worth through self-compassion and positive self-talk.
  • Celebrate every accomplishment, big or small. This will boost confidence.

7. Seek professional help:

  • If decidophobia significantly impairs your daily life and well-being, consider consulting a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counsellor.
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) is a common therapeutic approach used to address anxiety-related issues, including fear of decision-making.8

8. Medication:

  • In some cases, medication may be prescribed to manage anxiety symptoms associated with decidophobia. Consult a psychiatrist for a thorough evaluation.


Decidophobia, the fear of making decisions, can be a challenging and limiting condition, but it is not insurmountable. With self-awareness, practice, and, if necessary, professional help, individuals can overcome this fear and regain control over their lives. Keep in mind that decision-making is a talent that can be honed and improved through time.  Embrace the opportunities that choices bring, and don't let the fear of making decisions hold you back from living a fulfilling life.


  1. Ahmed AH, Bwisa H, Otieno RO, Karanja K. Strategic decision making: Process, models, and theories.
  2. Appel H, Englich B, Burghardt J. “I know what i like” – indecisiveness is unrelated to behavioral indicators of evaluation difficulties. Front Psychol [Internet]. 2021 Sep 16 [cited 2023 Sep 8];12:710880. Available from:
  3. Decidophobia. In: Wiktionary, the free dictionary [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Sep 8]. Available from:
  4. Müller SM, Schiebener J, Brand M, Liebherr M. Decision-making, cognitive functions, impulsivity, and media multitasking expectancies in high versus low media multitaskers. Cogn Process [Internet]. 2021 Nov 1 [cited 2023 Sep 8];22(4):593–607. Available from:
  5. Reinhuber EE. Decidophobia – an artistic research on the possibilities of immersive environments. Revista ICONO 14 Revista científica de Comunicación y Tecnologías emergentes [Internet]. 2014 Jul 1 [cited 2023 Sep 8];12(2):206–29. Available from:
  6. Scribd [Internet]. [cited 2023 Sep 8]. Effects of a cognitive-behavioural intervention on career indecision | pdf | cognitive behavioural therapy | counselling psychology. Available from:
  7. The burden of excessive dependency and how we can conquer it - Klarity Health Library [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2023 Sep 8]. Available from:
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Nzubechukwu Joy Nnadi

Master of Science - MS, Biomedical Sciences, Wrexham University

Nzube holds a Master’s degree in Biomedical Science, a BSc in Microbiology and has several years of experience in writing and research. She remains passionate about health research, medical writing and the education of individuals on complex health subjects. She will continue writing and hopes to create impact on the world through this passion. presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
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