Fear Of Stuttering

Stuttering can cause profound psychological damage to those unlucky enough to suffer from the disorder. Those who stutter report feelings of powerlessness, humiliation, and sadness. When the fear of stuttering becomes a phobia, it is known by the Latin name, Psellismophobia.

Causes Of Psellismophobia

The fear of stuttering is most likely to occur in people who have experienced the disorder in the past. Stuttering can be treated and even stopped, but it can also appear unexpectedly when someone is under pressure. The reasons for stuttering are hotly debated in the medical community. Some feel it has a genetic basis, and others feel certain it is psychological.

Shame Can Be A Trigger

The mysterious nature of stuttering leaves its sufferers feeling frustrated and often ashamed, even though stuttering is not their fault. Speech therapy and other treatments can produce positive results that lessen the impact of this phobia.

There are also people who fear stuttering in the afflicted. They report feelings of nervous tension and irritation when they are exposed to people who stutter. Conversely, others feel so much compassion for the person who stutters that they find themselves avoiding interaction with them because it is too emotional.

As you can see, Psellismophobia occurs for a variety of reasons. It can affect someone’s life adversely if they begin to avoid social events and workplace chit-chat because they fear a recurrence of the disorder. If they do not stutter themselves, those who suffer from this phobia will shun any group that includes a stutterer. To others, this distaste for stuttering can be perceived as cruel or harsh treatment of the afflicted person.

Misconceptions About Stuttering

Stuttering can be perceived as lack of intelligence, due to ignorance about the disorder. This can fuel Psellismophobia. Just as some people view those with disabilities such as deafness or blindness as being of inferior intelligence, certain people can link stuttering with comprehension problems.

This way of thinking is outmoded, but sadly common. If your fear of stuttering is a reflection of doubts about the stutterer’s intelligence, you may be misinformed. Many talented, famous people have grappled with this disorder, and still accomplished wondrous things. Golf legend Tiger Woods has been troubled by stuttering. So has singer Kylie Minogue, and the writer of Alice In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll.

Symptoms Of Fear Of Stuttering

Symptoms of fear of stuttering can include persistent anxiety, avoidance, and panic attack symptoms. When those with phobias experience panic attacks, they report feelings of dizziness, nausea, and terror. They are sometimes “paralyzed” by their fears and unable to function normally in their daily lives.

Many people who fear stuttering will adapt their lives to their phobia. They will take pains to avoid a certain person who stutters, even if it causes them difficulties. If they stutter themselves, they will refrain from any work duties or social obligations that might expose them to ridicule. Public speaking will be another source of anxiety for those with Psellismophobia.


Treating this phobia depends on the reasons why it is happening. If stuttering is the root cause of the person’s fears, medical attention and speech therapy may be required.

If the source of the phobia is psychological, therapy will ease tensions. Talking over fears and thoughts about stuttering will allow for a cathartic release. Sometimes, a course of anti-depressants will be prescribed to enable a lessening of physical discomfort associated with Psellismophobia.

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