Verbophobia comes from the Latin word, verbo meaning words and phobia, the Greek word for fear. It is the fear and dislike of words and this may be words in general or specific words. Another name is logophobia derived from the Greek word logos meaning words. I came across some variation in the details of the definition on the various internet sites I looked at. I guess though, severe fear to do with anything to do with words would be classed as verbophobia or logophobia.
Various details of verbophobia I came across included
abnormal fear of speaking
fear of pronouncing particular words incorrectly
fear of stuttering or stammering when attempting to say specific words
irrational and ongoing fear of hearing words in general or specific words
It is thought verbophobia may result after a traumatic incident in childhood experienced by an individual with a predisposition to developing a phobia. Perhaps a child was ridiculed repeatedly after making mistakes when trying to say or spell specific words. A child with learning difficulties may have been pressured to learn how to spell or say new words. Some people with verbophobia are illiterate and experience anxiety when faced with situations where they are expected to read something.
A sufferer may experience any of the following -
shortness of breath
fear of dying
It is recommended anyone who finds a severe fear of words is causing her/him problems consult a General Practitioner for an appropriate referral. Treatment could be one, or a combination of more than one, of the following -
cognitive behavioural therapy
neuro-linguistic programming (NLP)
Although a person suffering verbophobia may be embarrassed about admitting their phobia, help is available. Appropriate treatment should relieve the intense anxiety experienced and make it easier for the person to function in day to day life.