Definition of Fear of joy

Fear of joy: An abnormal, excessive, and persistent fear of experiencing joy or 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 in 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).

Fear of joy is termed "hedonophobia," a word 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).


Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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