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Bibliophobia – the Fear or Hatred of Books

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Emmanuella Ekokotu
Ekokotu Emmanuella is a sociologist and Anthropologist, writer, and fashion model who lives in Benin city, Edo state,Nigeria.

Bibliophobia is not one of the most popular types of phobia you’d hear about, but it is as real and uncomfortable as any other phobia out there.

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Bibliophobia is an irrational and unusual fear of books. This fear can be broadly defined as an intense dread of books, but it can also be used in reference to a fear of reading at all or reading out loud or to a crowd of people in public.

Many people who have been diagnosed with this phobia only have a subset of it, fearing children’s stories, textbooks, or historical novels, rather than having a fear of all books.

There is also mythophobia, also known as the fear of legends, and it can be seen as a subtype of bibliophobia if the horror that is felt is of the myths that are written down and not of those that are told orally.

Metrophobia is also another fear that is considered a subtype of bibliophobia. Metrophobia is the fear of poetry.

The Phobia of Books

If you have been experiencing bibliophobia, there is a high possibility that you may have challenges when forced or told to read.

You may be afraid of the stories themselves. Sometimes, the simple act of reading a book, holding a book, or finding yourself in a library may cause anxiety associated with your phobia.

For people who have learning disabilities or have some difficulty with reading, then it is almost natural to be nervous, especially when you have to read out loud. You must determine the root cause of your phobia and treat it.

You may have been compared to your peers, ostracized in childhood, because you could not read adequately or you were forced to read before you were able to.

So the fear which you deal with in adulthood is associated with a lack of control over all forms of reading material which has formed your aversion and led to anxiety surrounding books.

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Treatment for Bibliophobia

Because bibliophobia, just like many other phobias can be extremely life-limiting, and can also cause problems at school and work as well as in personal relationships, it is essential to consult your doctor and seek proper treatment.

Your mental health professional or doctor will work closely with you to create a treatment plan that suits your needs.

Patients will likely be taught novel ways of seeing and thinking about books, and will also be encouraged to read a few pages of any book at a time, but firstly within the safety of a therapist’s office.

Important to note is that at no time will a person be forced to get better at a faster pace than they feel comfortable with.

Remember that treatment for bibliophobia is not a cure, so the best thing you can do for yourself is to keep exposing yourself to books and other reading materials to reduce the anxiety that surrounds your fear of books.

This constant exposure will help you to overcome your concern in the long run better.

Bibliophobia in Popular Culture

Although unlike many other phobias this phobia is a rather unusual one, it makes a fantastic backdrop for some Halloween events; an example will be Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights.

For instance, in Universal’s scenario, a female drama voice coach gets both bibliophobia and metrophobia, which makes it difficult or near impossible for her to do her job.

The treatment, in a horror movie pattern, is to force the lady to face terrifying images that are contained in a series of weird fairy tales.

While this may be a funny way of depicting people who are frightened of scary stories, the fear here should be taken with seriousness because of the consequences that this particular fear comes with.

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