Medical Definition of Hedonophobia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Hedonophobia: An abnormal, excessive, and persistent fear of pleasure. Sufferers with this most puritanical of phobias typically feel guilty about experiencing pleasure even though they usually realize rationally there is nothing at all wrong with taking pleasure. Their guilt usually arises from the fact that they are participating a pleasurable activity while others around them or in the world at large are experiencing nothing but illness, grief, economic hardship and other painful problems. Their guilt may also arise from the belief that life is best lived ascetically (similar to the idea that, for a medicine to do good, it must taste bad).

"Hedonophobia" is derived from the Greek "hedone" (pleasure, delight) and "phobos" (fear). Other words derived from "hedone" include "hedonism" (a philosophy that emphasizes pleasure as the main aim of life) and "hedonist" (a pleasure-seeker).

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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