Hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliofobia (Fear of long words)

The fear of long words phobia or Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliofobia is often considered a facetious or fictional phobia; however, the phobia of long words is actually very real.

Fears and phobias, strange as they may seem, are very real and the human mind is able to develop them for just about anything or any situation.

People who suffer from hypopotomonstrosesquipedaliofobia  tend to experience a great deal of anxiety when faced with long words . In fact, it is ironic that the scientific name given to this phobia is a long word. The Oxford Dictionary uses the word Hippopotamine to refer to “something very big”.

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Causes of Fear of long words (phobia)

More specific phobias, including the fear of long words , can be caused by an event that is recorded by parts of the brain (amygdala and hippocampus ) as dangerous or deadly. The body reacts as if the same event is about to happen over and over. A person with severe hypopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia is literally a prisoner of his feelings of anxiety and panic, which he experiences with thinking or seeing long words.

Nobody is born with this phobia. Most people simply learn from an unpleasant episode. Indeed; many people don’t even remember how the fear started.

School-age children (or, in some cases, adults) may have been ridiculed or embarrassed when reading / pronouncing long words. The mind then continues to create the same response. For a person suffering from hypopotomonstrosesquipedaliofobia , the mind develops negative images with the thought or vision of long words .

Symptoms of hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia

Each individual is different and so are his symptoms of hypopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia as well.

Typically, the symptoms of long word phobia can be characterized as mental, emotional or physical. Many people feel extremely anxious or have a panic attack at the sight or thought of long words.

Physical symptoms include agitation, crying, escaping, shaking, feeling nausea, headaches, rapid heartbeat and shallow breathing.

The person will likely experience fear and terror; your mind creates very bad images, like embarrassing yourself in public, when faced with long words.

Often the patient understands that his fear is irrational and without a rationale; However, he is unable to control himself and is powerless to rationalize.

Treat and overcome the fear of long words phobia (hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia)

The good news is that hippopotomonstrosesquipedaliophobia can be overcome. Medicines should be the last resort since they simply mask the anxiety symptoms experienced due to the phobia. The solution to overcome the fear of long words is to mainly remember and evaluate the factors that led to the phobia in the first place.

Therapists can also help to assess these factors to arrive at a treatment plan. The individual is then encouraged to expose himself to long words gradually: starting with just seeing the word, then progressing to thinking about long words and finally speaking the words. Such gradual exposure helps to lessen panic until the individual is completely comfortable and can face long words with confidence.

Deep breathing, relaxation and meditation are also recommended when dealing with this phobia. T cognitive behavioral erapia is an effective method for treating hipopotomonstrosesquipedaliofobia .

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