Papyrophobia is an extreme, unreasonable irrational fear of paper. Papyrophobia comes from the Greek words papyrus, meaning paper, and phobos, fear or disgust.
The disorder includes a fear of touching paper, writing, or simply being cut. In some cases, papyrophobes suffer a terrifying panic attack even at the thought of the very object of their condition, whether it is a blank sheet, a crumpled ball, wallpaper or gift wrap. Sometimes the intensity of the fear increases depending on the type or size of the paper.
Papyrophobia is rare. A small number of people around the world suffer from it.
Some experts believe that the disorder develops simply because of the presence of paper or a fear of writing or typing.
A child who accidentally cuts his or her finger with the edge of a sheet of paper may become permanently afraid of all kinds of paper. In most cases, however, a very traumatic episode results in a phobia that causes the child’s brain to react with fear. In some cases, psychologists simply cannot pinpoint the exact cause of this relatively rare phobia.
Often genetics, heredity or certain features of the body can be responsible for triggering extreme Papyrophobia. Sometimes such a disorder develops due to the presence of other anxiety conditions.
Fear of paper, although extremely rare, is a real phobia. The person experiencing it experiences a variety of physical, emotional, and mental symptoms similar to other disorders. These include:
- Trembling at the mere sight or thought of the paper. Individuals experience faster or slower breathing, increased heart rate, and dry mouth. Some lose the ability to coherently formulate sentences.
- Full-blown panic attacks, including the desire to run, cry, scream are also found in people with Papyrophobia.
- Phobia sufferers often believe that something really bad will happen to them when they come into contact with the paper. Images from movies or constant thoughts with images of death flash through their minds.
- Symptoms of Papyrophobia vary from person to person, depending on the degree of the phobia. Some people vomit or sweat at the sight or touch of paper. Others may experience nervousness that makes them feel embarrassed.
Papyrophobes often endure ridicule. Performing job duties or daily paperwork can become difficult to the point where a person is forced to leave work.
The best way to treat Papyrophobia is to learn to confront your fear. It is necessary to discuss the situation with your loved ones so that they can understand your feelings. If this is not enough, you need to seek psychological help. Conversation therapy through group counseling will be very helpful.
There are several phobia treatments available today, and some of the most effective are cognitive behavioral therapy, neurolinguistic reprogramming, and hypnosis. All of these will help get to the root of the phobia to get rid of it once and for all.
Another method of treating paper phobia is gradual or systematic desensitization. In this therapy, the sufferer of the disorder is gradually exposed to the interaction with the object of fear. He first learns to look at what he is afraid of, then touches and takes notes. The treatment is supervised by a therapist. Through this technique, the papyrophobe learns to control his reactions gradually until he overcomes the disorder once and for all.