Scripophobia: symptoms, causes and treatment

Scripophobia is a rare phobia ; it consists in the irrational fear of writing in front of other people or in public situations.

Although it may seem a somewhat strange phobia, the truth is that there are not a few people, especially students who manifest it. Then we approach it in more depth.

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What is scleophobia?

Scripophobia is the extreme fear of writing in public (from Latin “scripto”, “write” and “phobos”, “fear, fear”). It is considered a phobia that has characteristics to be considered also a specific form of social anxiety. Like the rest of phobias, it produces feelings of stress, anxiety and suffering in those who suffer from it.

Although it may seem like a very rare specific phobia, it really affects thousands of people around the world, even without them knowing that they have a problem that prevents them from leading a normal life. The others who know they have a problem recognize that their phobia is irrational, but still have serious difficulties to adaptively face situations in which they have to write in front of others.

Some of the especially problematic situations for scripophobic people are: take a job in which you have to write in front of other people (eg, teacher, notary, …), take notes in class, give a phone number on paper, sign a contract …

Graphophobia is another phobia closely related to scripophobia, with a similar definition, although it is more specific. In this case, it would be an extreme and irrational fear of writing manually.

Symptomatology

The symptoms of scripophobia are very similar to those of other phobias, however they appear when there is a situation in which the person has to write something in front of others. They occur automatically and become uncontrollable, either because they are faced with a situation in which they have to write in front of other people or because they think of possible situations of that type, without being in one of them.

People with this phobia try to avoid any situation in which they have to write in front of other people . In fact, in some cases the phobia is so severe that the person only dares to write at night, without anyone at home being awake or giving the situation that they can find it by writing. If you are of student age, the person is likely to skip classes with the intention of avoiding writing at all costs.

The most notable physiological symptoms are dry mouth, palpitations, dizziness, sensation of needles in the skin, headaches and the rest of the body, excessive sweating, nausea, shortness of breath and fatigue.

As for the most psychological area, we have problems to relax, mood swings, fear, anxiety, stress and think that it is going to be ridiculous or that it will not be possible to get out of it without feeling humiliated.

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Possible causes

Normally, the fear of writing before others is caused by the experience of a negative event at some point in life that was related to this . In many cases, scripophobic people are afraid to make a fool of themselves when writing or for people to think their lyrics are ugly. It is common that those who have this phobia have lived at a time when they made fun of them for their type of writing or for having committed spelling mistakes. This could be lived with such intensity that it has encouraged the person to suffer panic attacks.

There are people who see in their way of writing an act similar to the one who strips. That is, there are those who have the feeling that writing on a piece of paper is a way of expressing their intimacy , either in the form of words explicitly related to this idea (eg, a personal diary) or because their They write it as something very personal that, if another person sees, it is as if they were looking inside, and they don’t like it.

It may seem a somewhat elaborate explanation, but the truth is that there are not a few people who would manifest this phobia because of this fact.

Treatment

As with the rest of phobias, the treatments focused on the scripophobia are mostly cognitive-behavioral and usually share traits with other treatments in which anxiety disorders are addressed. Exposure to the phobic situation, in this case the act of writing in front of other people, is usually the main method to work the phobia , although progressively and always with the security granted by the professional’s consultation.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy and exposure

From the cognitive-behavioral therapies the idea that many phobias, especially those such as scripophobia and other contextual ones, are due to a style of thinking that harms the person has been defended. The thought that it is going to be ridiculous for writing makes the person imagine the worst scenario , which causes feelings of anxiety.

The therapy tries to make the person explain exactly why he thinks he is going to make a fool of himself or why he thinks others could laugh at him. It is about addressing the type of thinking and changing it so that anxious feelings are not so high.

It is also in this type of therapies that the person tries to get used to writing in front of other people. First it would be done in front of the therapist, or, if the person feels safe with a family member or friend, have him come to therapy and participate in the treatment under the direction of the professional.

Psychoanalysis

Psychodynamic therapy takes into account the events and influences throughout the life of the patient that have contributed to the feeling of a scleophobia, in addition to taking into account their personality traits and see to what extent they have contributed to the formation of this disorder. of anxiety

The main objective of psychoanalytic therapy is to help the person to explore, understand and resolve the causes of his phobia.

Other options

Although the alternatives we are going to talk about are not treatments and the person would continue to have a phobic disorder, in fact, they could be considered as avoidant behaviors, the truth is that they would serve to initiate a therapy or, at least, facilitate having better wellbeing before seeking professional help.

As we have already seen, some scribophobic people are afraid to write in front of others because they do not think that their type of writing is pleasant or they are afraid of committing spelling mistakes . These are the simplest cases, since going to classes to improve calligraphy, in addition to going more carefully when writing and avoiding mistakes would be behaviors that would help significantly in the writing process.

Also, and because we live in a very computerized society, you can choose to type on your computer or any other electronic device with a keyboard. Word processors contain proofreaders that detect misspellings, and you can change the font of the letter and its size.

Obviously, scripophobia does not imply the simple fear of writing manually in front of others . There are many more aspects to keep in mind that make the person unable to do this, such as feeling observed, being afraid to make a fool of himself, thinking about what others will be thinking …

That is why the alternatives put in this section, as we have already said, are not a treatment in itself, but simple ways to improve the course of the disorder before going to a professional, since they help the person to take some control over your problem.

 

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