What is Scriptophobia?

Scriptophobia is an irrational fear of writing, sepcifically in public. This is a social anxiety phobia, and is related to graphophobia, the fear of writing or handwriting. Some possible causes include having had one’s writing criticized or ridiculed in the past, or fear of the consequences of writing down one’s thoughts. Scriptophobia is generally limited to a fear of writing in public, and writing in private usually does not trigger symptoms.

The name comes from the Latin word “script” meaning “write”.

Symptoms of Scriptophobia

Sufferers are often extremely guarded about their writing. In extreme cases they may write only at night to avoid being seen by others. They will be particular about where and what they write. Depression, isolation and other difficulties in school or at work are additional signs.

Emotional / behavioral

  • fear of being judged
  • fear of embarrassment
  • fear of offending others
  • intense fear of strangers
  • fear of being noticed
  • fear of physical symptoms
  • avoiding people
  • intense need to escape
  • extreme irritability
  • extreme anxiety
  • expecting bad outcomes
  • fear of losing control
  • fear of death

Physical symptoms

  • heart palpitations
  • chest pains
  • gastrointestinal distress
  • nausea or diarrhea
  • shortness of breath
  • choking sensations
  • excessive sweating
  • confusion or lack of focus
  • chills or heat flush
  • feeling faint or dizzy
  • trembling or shaking
  • tingling sensations
  • headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms

Causes of Scriptophobia

Scriptophobes are often afraid of rejection, fear of ridicule or being criticized and exhibit a fear of embarrassment. Other issues such as a deep rooted lack of self-esteem or the fear of persecution can also generate the fear of writing phobia.

Interestingly, a fear of excess success is thought to also possibly cause a fear of writing.

This fear can also lead to graphophobia, a “specific” or “isolated” phobia that is a fear of the thing itself or non-social injury/harm associated with it.

Scriptophobia is a social anxiety disorder. Social phobias result in avoidance of social situations due to fear of being embarrassed in public. Social phobia affects men and women equally. Extreme social anxieties often start in childhood or adolescence due to social traumas or embarrassments, etc., and may be accompanied by other anxiety disorders or depression.

The origins of social anxiety disorders are not as well understood as specific (or “isolated”) phobias, where a direct fear of injury from some specific animal, thing or situation forms a clear basis for the fear. Even so, hereditary factors may be present, such as a genetic tendency to be “high strung” or nervous, etc.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies.

Scriptophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious 'over protection' mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias

Treatment for Scriptophobia

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Habit strategies to relax
  • Cognitive therapy (CT)
  • In vivo exposure
  • Response prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments


Book Shelf

The list of books below are hand picked by the staff at Massive Phobia. It's a mixture of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Habit Strategies, Trauma Healing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Buddhist Knowledge and Somatic Study. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.