What are the causes and remedies for fear of losing control?

Symptom Database

Fear of losing control is a common anxiety disorder that affects many individuals. It can manifest in various ways, leading to feelings of unease, panic, and distress. Understanding the causes and remedies for this fear is crucial in order to cope with and overcome it. In this article, we will explore the underlying factors that contribute to the fear of losing control, discuss the symptoms associated with this fear, and provide effective strategies to overcome it.

Causes of Fear of Losing Control

There are several factors that can contribute to the development of a fear of losing control:

  • Past Traumatic Experiences: Individuals who have experienced traumatic events in the past, such as accidents or abuse, may develop a fear of losing control as a result. These experiences can create a sense of vulnerability and a fear of the unknown.
  • Perfectionism: People who have a tendency towards perfectionism may fear losing control because they feel that any deviation from their expectations will result in failure or chaos.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder can contribute to a fear of losing control. These disorders often involve excessive worry and a need for control over one’s environment.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as hyperthyroidism or heart conditions, can cause physical symptoms that mimic a loss of control. This can lead to a fear of these symptoms and a fear of losing control over one’s body.

Symptoms of Fear of Losing Control

The fear of losing control can manifest in a variety of symptoms, both physical and psychological. Some common symptoms include:

  • Panic Attacks: Individuals may experience sudden and intense feelings of panic, accompanied by physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, and sweating.
  • Obsessive Thoughts: People with a fear of losing control may have intrusive thoughts or images that revolve around losing control or causing harm to themselves or others.
  • Avoidance Behaviors: Individuals may avoid situations or activities that they believe will trigger a loss of control, leading to a restricted and limited lifestyle.
  • Physical Symptoms: The fear of losing control can also manifest in physical symptoms such as dizziness, trembling, and gastrointestinal distress.

Coping with Fear of Losing Control

While the fear of losing control can be overwhelming, there are effective strategies to cope with and overcome this fear:

1. Seek Professional Help

Consulting with a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor, can provide valuable support and guidance in managing the fear of losing control. They can help identify the underlying causes and develop personalized coping strategies.

2. Practice Relaxation Techniques

Engaging in relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga, can help reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calm. These techniques can be practiced regularly to build resilience against the fear of losing control.

3. Challenge Negative Thoughts

Identify and challenge negative thoughts that contribute to the fear of losing control. Replace them with more realistic and positive thoughts. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques can be particularly helpful in this process.

4. Gradual Exposure

Gradually exposing oneself to situations that trigger the fear of losing control can help desensitize the anxiety response. Start with small steps and gradually increase exposure over time, with the support of a therapist if needed.

5. Build a Support Network

Surround yourself with supportive and understanding individuals who can provide encouragement and reassurance. Sharing your fears and experiences with others can help alleviate the sense of isolation and provide a sense of belonging.

6. Take Care of Physical Health

Engaging in regular exercise, maintaining a balanced diet, and getting enough sleep are essential for overall well-being. Taking care of your physical health can have a positive impact on your mental health and help manage the fear of losing control.


The fear of losing control can be debilitating, but it is not insurmountable. By understanding the underlying causes and implementing effective coping strategies, individuals can overcome this fear and regain a sense of control over their lives. Seeking professional help, practicing relaxation techniques, challenging negative thoughts, gradually exposing oneself to triggers, building a support network, and taking care of physical health are all valuable steps towards overcoming the fear of losing control. Remember, you have the power to conquer your fears and live a fulfilling life.

Haroon Rashid, MD
Rate author
Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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