Verbophobia – The Fear of Words

We don’t have the Words for Verbophobia?

Do you fret about spelling, pronunciations, and translations? Do they give you such a hard time that you prefer to skip them, anything to do with words? You could be living with verbophobia, the excessive fear of words.

The extreme fear you feel on an everyday basis can be quite crippling.

You could sweat profusely when required to read words out loud.

Public speaking, for you, must be a complete nightmare. Not everyone may understand it, but that does not make it any easier for you to deal with it. Is Verbophobia real? Yes, very much so. But it is also possible to live a verbophobia-free life.

Start by determining the cause of your phobia and work around that to treat the fear.

What Verbophobia is All About

Verbophobia is an inexplicable fear of words. It is always there, like a nagging presence. It never leaves your side. You continue to be tongue-tied because you are required to pronounce a particular word. Or, you hold your tongue when you need to speak.

The thought of certain words may be enough reason for you to panic, let alone having to say them. You might find yourself avoiding movies with subtitles as well. While it sounds far-fetched, any person living with Verbophobia understands too well what a world of uneasiness they live in. Words are everywhere. Speaking is a necessity that is unavoidable in a social world. Living with a fear of words is, therefore, a big challenge.

Verbophobia is different from hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, which is the fear of long words. Verbophobia, abnormal fear of words, falls under specific word phobias.

Symptoms of Verbophobia

Like most other phobias, Verbophobia symptoms can either be physical or psychological. Some of these symptoms have been listed below:

Physical Symptoms

● Sweating
● Trembling
● Breathing difficulties
● Increased heartbeat rate
● Feeling disoriented
● Headaches
● Nausea and vomiting
● Tightness in the chest and chest pains
● Dizziness
● Confusion
● Fainting

Psychological Symptoms

● Uncontrolled anxiety in public
● Shame and guilt
● Feeling unworthy
● Sadness and hopelessness
● Fear of losing control
● Withdrawal
● Self-isolation and avoidance of going to public places.
● Depression

But what are some of the Verbophobia causes?

Just like with other phobias, there is no specific cause of the fear of words. The fear stems from a combination of many factors depending on the individual. We’ll look into some of the possible causes. This, however, doesn’t mean that the causes are restricted to the ones outlined below.

Traumatic Childhood

How were your childhood years? Do you remember being laughed at in school for mispronouncing certain words? Do you remember being punished for misreading words? There you have a cause.
The most likely age to develop Verbophobia is during childhood years. The emotional turmoil that a child bears while young does not leave them even in adulthood.


Your genetics greatly influence your opinions, beliefs, and practices in life. Find out whether there is a history of Verbophobia in your family. The problem could be hereditary. In addition, if you saw people around you struggling with certain words while growing up, you could end up with the same problem. This is because other than school, children learn a lot from home.


For those that didn’t go through school, it is possible they never got a proper education. If you are required to read words or speak in public, you might shy away from the same due to shame and low self-esteem. In addition, the world can be a cruel place, where failure is in trivial things like mispronunciations. Not attending school is not a crime. You should not feel inferior for things that you weren’t privileged enough to have. In the current day, adult schooling is quite regular. You may require to attend a few classes, and that’s it. Your fear of words will be as good as forgotten.

Self-care Tips for Verbophobia

You need Verbophobia treatment as soon as possible. You can’t live in a world without words. Words can’t be ignored. More often than you think, you will be required to express yourself in public.

Professional treatment is avoidable in the case of Verbophobia. There are a few self-care tips you can apply in the healing process.

Try to Ignore Verbophobia

You can choose not to give too much attention to your fear. The more you think about Verbophobia, the worse it gets. Choose to focus on other things that make you happy.

Apply Relaxation Techniques

Relaxation techniques go a long way in calming you down when tense. Practise controlled breathing and meditation every day. Before leaving home, breathe in and out for a particular duration of time. You will know the breathing is taking effect when you feel relaxed and calm.

Get to Know Your Fear

Try to acquire as much information as there is about the abnormal fear of words. Read books and speak to experts in the field. The data you will acquire will set straight facts from fiction. Most of these study materials were written by people who overcame the fear of words. How best to go about healing than to hear from someone who suffered like you at one point?

Talk to Someone

Find someone you can trust to talk to. This person could be your family member or a friend. Tell them precisely what words make you feel. They should listen to understand you and offer you their support. In addition, you need people to show you that recovery is possible. It would help if you had some outside motivation to keep going.

Verbophobia is one of those phobias where a sufferer can apply practice to remove the problem altogether. In your own space and home, practice reading. Mark your progress every day for the duration you will be practicing. In addition, you can have a close person help you practice. This person should be so close that all they want for you is to improve. When they criticize, it should be positive.

You Can Also Seek Professional Help

In professional treatment, therapy and counseling are the most effective methods. When combined, you should come out of the treatment duration verbophobia-free.


In counseling, you will talk to a trained therapist. The therapist will listen in a non-judgemental way to understand where your fear is coming from. They will drive you into expressing your innermost feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. The therapist will gradually help you identify and change unnecessary thought patterns.

Exposure Therapy

Exposure therapy involves exposure to the very thing triggering the phobia. In Verbophobia, you will be exposed to reading and public speaking to alleviate your fear of words. Exposure therapy is not unsafe or intimidating. On the contrary, it is done in a healthy and safe environment that allows gradual progress.

It takes time, but it is sure worth it. The therapist will start you off by saying simple words out loud. The more you improve, the more the therapist will introduce you to complex terms. At the end of your treatment duration, you should be in a position to read words without fear and speak boldly in public.

How to Cope with Verbophobia Altogether

Simply determine the best way for you to treat your phobia. You can try a combination of treatments, or come up with a routine that suits you best. Either way, the best way forward is to take a firm decision regarding your phobia and then dealing with it.

Verbophobia Can Go Away

Verbophobia can have far-reaching consequences than you can imagine. The fear can mess your confidence up and even cost you jobs and opportunities. Drug medications are not necessarily a great way to treat phobias. Medication can only offer short-term solutions to short-term problems that come with fear. After a while, you will be back to that uncomfortable state. The best approach to healing is practice, counseling, and therapy. When well combined, you should overcome Verbophobia.

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