Fear of Words: Logophobia

Logophobia has long been associated with the fear of speaking in public, but it is more precisely the fear of words themselves. By extension it’s also the fear of speaking, or fear of certain words. Words are phobogenic (the source of phobia) whether spoken, read or written.

Analysis of a logophobia case: Paul, 47, deeply dislikes words that end with the suffix ite. It’s a special logophobia, and he’s convinced that he’s the only one in the world suffering from it, which makes him a little paranoid.

After several sessions of analytic therapy, Paul makes a link between the suffix –ite and the fact that this suffix is applied to the clinical names of all inflammatory diseases. With his therapist, he is therefore able to identify a deep and personal fear of inflammatory disease, and now understands the source of his inhibitions and fears.

Behaviors Associated with Logophobia

People with logophobia have a fear of speaking in public, as well as saying or hearing certain words. Sometimes this fear or anxiety extends even to the act of reading or writing these words. This phobia affects men more than women for reasons that remain unexplained as of this writing.

Possible Sources of Logophobia

Logophobic subjects are afraid to express themselves in public with the fear that certain words will expose personal vulnerabilities and character traits. Therefore, at the base of this phobia is a shame or guilt whose source can likely be found in the childhood of the subject.

Physical, Psychic and Behavioral Consequences

Logophobia leads to states of withdrawal where the subject is in a struggle with his- or herself. This can come close t  o a form of schizophrenia, with voices that intimate orders, and actions to achieve a personal form of moral acceptance.

It’s noted that logophobes who are afraid of certain words are often sexually timid, and words they dislike are often strongly tinged with sexuality. More often than not, logophobes display attitudes that seek to avoid any discourse on sexuality – yet in therapy they are usually found to be unconsciously fascinated by it.

Possible Treatments of Logophobia

The perceived threat for logophobes is often internal; there are no external phobic objects. These individuals improve most when they do work on themselves, which is why psychotherapy tends to work well. The fear of sexuality is an important component of logophobia, so it may be a good idea to consult a sex therapist.

Hypnosis can be a remedy but would require further analytical work carried out afterward. We must also take into account the paranoid and possibly slightly schizophrenic dimension of logophobia. For this reason, a psychiatric diagnosis is also commonly recommended.