Papyrophobia: The Fear of Paper

Papyrophobia The Fear of Paper

As humans in today’s world, we can hardly avoid seeing, touching, or even using paper. Everywhere you turn, there is always something made out of paper, or there is a reason for you to use or touch paper.

Because it has become a part of our everyday life, it is difficult to believe that any human would be irrationally afraid of paper.

In this article, we will be discussing the fear of paper, also known as papyrophobia.

What is the fear of paper phobia?

The term Papyrophobia is of Egyptian and Greek origin. The term was coined in ancient times and was derived from the word “Papyro or papyrus” of Egyptian origin, meaning paper and “Phobos” of Greek origin which means “extreme fear of aversion.”

Papyrophobia simply means the extreme and unreasonable fear of paper. As bizarre as it sounds, it is real. This fear generically includes; the fear of touching a paper, fear of paper cut or even writing on it.

Depending on how severe your condition is, the symptoms you experience may be very different from the next person in the same situation.

And severe cases of papyrophobia, however, could cause the sufferer a full-bore panic attack, just by merely thinking of a sheet of paper – may be a clean sheet of paper, a paper crumbled into balls, or a beautiful wrapping paper.

At times, this severity of the fear depends on the size or type of paper encountered or thought about by the sufferer.

Causes of Papyrophobia (fear of paper phobia)

Experts believe that there are no causes of phobias. This is literally because phobias have no causative agents; thus, they have no root. But then, they are predisposing factors that lead to their developments.

However, in this case, papyrophobia has one known predisposing factors, and that is Unpleasant Past Experiences.

Unpleasant past experiences, such as a paper cut may convince a child that they should be afraid of papers. If the child does not get over it as soon as possible, the child’s fear may develop in papyrophobia when it can adversely dent a child’s life.

In some cases, that little incident could be highly traumatic to the child, which may result in papyrophobia, which can cause the brain of the child to go into fight, flight, and fright response whenever it is triggered by sight or thought of papers.

To experts, it is tough to nail precisely the cause of this rare phobia. Some experts believe that genetics, heredity, and other certain deficiencies can all be predisposing factors that encourage the development of this condition.

Some also believe that the existence of other phobias or medical conditions can sometimes result in developing Papyrophobia.

While some other experts believe that this rare phobia can exist just like how papers are in existence, Papyrophobes may be afraid of paper simply because papers exist, or they are afraid of writing and printing on papers. Anyways, this condition is bizarre.

Symptoms Of Papyrophobia

When papyrophobes are exposed to papers or anything that a resembles paper, or even when the thought of a sheet of paper crosses their minds.

They are likely to experience the following symptoms:

  • Shaking, shivering, and trembling
  • Rapid or shallower breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Inability to articulate or form complete sentences
  • Full-blown panic attacks which involve the urge to flee, crying, screaming
  • The uncontrollable sense of lurking doom when you encounter with paper
  • Fear of death or dying
  • Nausea
  • Nervous numbness

How severe the papyrophobia condition is to the individual is determined by the intensity of the symptoms experienced; thus, the reason why these symptoms vary from person to person.

More than just the physical effects of papyrophobia, extreme cases of this condition can disrupt the person’s normal lifestyle, get the person ridiculed by friends, family, and others, and this can ruin the individual’s relationship with people or cause social withdrawal.

This can also affect the individual’s ability to carry out tasks, especially tasks that involve papers. This can even lead to the person losing his or her job.


Mild cases of papyrophobia can worsen to moderate or severe cases of the condition; thus, no matter the intensity of the symptoms nor the severity of papyrophobia, treatment should commence once diagnosed.

Treatments of phobias are summed up in the following:

  • Therapy
  • Medications


Scheduled sessions with your therapist can help you recover from this condition. Under this are the following techniques that your therapist can adopt to improve your situation:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)

Effects of papyrophobia can alter our perceptions about a particular situation or object, in this case- paper.

Extreme papyrophobia can deprive you of peace of mind, trigger unpleasant symptoms, make you develop avoidance behaviors as well as weird behavioral patterns, and so on.

Therefore, Cognitive-behavioural Therapy is aimed at pinpointing those negative behavioral and thought patterns that trigger your fight, flight, and fright response even when it is not needed and equip you with the schemes to help you defeat them while keeping your cool.

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy makes the individual go through laid down stages where the person is gradually exposed to objects and situations that can trigger anxiety under a serene environment and with professional supervision.

The more individual passes each stage successfully, the less endangered he or she feels at an encounter, and soon, the individual will not get triggered at contact with a paper.


This is when your therapist pens up your subconscious mind and reprogram it to see that your fear for paper is unreasonable, and there is absolutely nothing to be scared of.


Antidepressants, tranquilizers, beta-blockers are the three main types of medications that can be used to obtain temporary relief from the psychological symptoms of papyrophobia. This is used in treating, but they are not the cure.

These drugs, just like every other substance, should be used only with the doctor’s prescription and strictly by the doctor’s prescription. Once more, medicines can cause side effects on an individual, and sometimes, these side effects can be extreme.

While taking medicines, especially the medications mentioned above, you should apply precautions and use only for a short period to avoid dependency and addiction which can cause withdrawal syndromes when you stop them abruptly.

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