The Fear of Writing(Graphophobia or Scriptophobia): Causes, Symptoms, Overcoming

 The fear of writing – Graphophobia or Scriptophobia, is the extreme fear of writing in public. The word Scriptophobia is derived from the Latin word script, which means writing, and phobias, the Greek word for fear or dread. The agoraphobia is very similar to the Scriptophobia, but it is more specific; it is related to the extreme and often irrational fear of handwriting.

Both Scriptophobia and Graphophobia are widespread fears that affect hundreds of people worldwide. In some cases, the phobia can affect the patient’s daily life. Many are unable to accept writing jobs. Fear is exceptionally debilitating for students who cannot make progress in school. Many tend to drop out of education because of this fear.

You might also like to read:  Fear Of The Future: Causes, Symptoms, Overcoming.

Causes of Graphophobia

  • The fear of writing generally stems from a negative experience in the past.
  • Aside from technicalities, many writerphobes are also afraid of rejection, ridicule, self-shame, criticism, etc.
  • A student may have been reprimanded or laughed at for something he has written or even for his handwriting.
  • This episode can trigger panic attacks every time one has to write in class.
  • This deeply conditioned response can create negative thought patterns that are difficult to change or overcome.
  • Other issues like deep-seated lack of self-esteem or fear of persecution can also cause fear of typing phobia.
  • Fear of excess success can also cause anxiety in writing. This may be strange to believe, but the person suffering from it develops a peculiar complex that makes them afraid to write down their thoughts.
  • Fear of exposure can also lead to Graphophobia – it makes the writer feel vulnerable that he is exposing the innermost thoughts or that his writing could lead to devastating results.
  • Writing down one’s ideas and thoughts is often therapeutic for some, but at the same time, a person might feel that reading those thoughts would violate their privacy.
  • Words can also provoke anger, sadness, or evoke other emotional responses. Therefore someone’s private affairs that are made public can lead to paranoia that resembles being naked in public.
  • News reports such as writers who have written an explosive columns and who have been persecuted (in communist countries, etc.) or even trigger bombs that explode due to the writing devices they touch can lead to fear of writing.
  • The latter is an extreme and exceptional case, and most issues of Scriptophobia generally stem from other causes explained above.

Scriptophobia symptoms

Scriptophobia symptoms

  • Depending on the fear of writing phobia, the patient may suffer from various physical and emotional symptoms.
  • Some Graphophobes are incredibly cautious about their writing.
  • They could write only at night to avoid being seen by others. They will be particular about where and what they write.
  • In other extreme cases, we just have to type something that can lead to a dry mouth, elevated heart rate, sweaty palms, nausea, etc.
  • Students may experience debilitating symptoms due to this fear, such as the inability to write in school or finish projects due to fear of embarrassment.
  • They could try to avoid writing at all costs.
  • Many miss school frequently complaining of stomachaches or other disorders – anything that allows them to stay home.
  • Parents often tend to be strict with children suffering from Scriptophobia.
  • This makes the child feel isolated, depressed, and anxious.
  • Many children also develop other fears such as sleeping alone or may wet the bed due to this fear of writing. Others tend to be lonely or even have imaginary friends.
  • Therapy is of utmost importance in treating this phobia in younger patients.

Overcome the fear of writing

  • As stated above, children with Scriptophobia need to be treated with TLC, and if necessary, a therapist or school counselor should be consulted.
  • We are getting to the bottom of fear through hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and other desensitization techniques.
  • Adult writerphobes must first learn to accept their fears.
  • This will put them in a better position to overcome it.
  • Phobics can also try to feel more comfortable while writing – sometimes some relaxing music, lovely bright lights, or writing near an open window can create an environment conducive to writing.
  • Today, there are many different devices available for writing.
  • You can type on a typewriter or computer instead of the traditional pen and paper.
  • You can also read more for inspiration – these little things can help you overcome your fear of writing.
  • Write whatever comes to mind, even gibberish.
  • The critical step is to start and take the first step and continue until you reach the end.
  • You could imagine yourself enjoying yourself while writing and concentrating on the ultimate goal or objective of why you are writing in the first place.

If your thoughts are challenging to write down, you can try recording them on a voice recorder, creating a short written outline, and then filling in the gaps. Finally, Scriptophobia or Graphobia can be overcome by practicing writing daily. One can start a daily blog or keep a journal – the key is to write something every day. These are good practices to make people accept what you write and gradually overcome your fear of writing.

Georgia Tarrant
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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.