What is Scriptophobia?

Scriptophobia is an irrational fear of writing, specifically 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. This phobia 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' and the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'

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Symptoms of Scriptophobia

  • Extreme Anxiety, Dread

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
  • Lack of Focus
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Feelings of Powerlessness
  • Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
  • Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
  • Avoidance Behavior
  • Headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms ›

Causes of Scriptophobia

Scriptophobia is a social anxiety disorder. Social phobias result in avoidance of social situations due to fear of being embarrassed in public and affect 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”, 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, seeing something in the news, on TV, or in the movies.

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

Scriptophobes are often afraid of rejection, ridicule, criticism, and 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.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments 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 ›

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