Telephonophobia (Fear Of Talking On The Phone)

Telephonophobia is a fear that has evolved in awareness and scale over the last decade, thanks to the ongoing evolution of communicative technology. This phobia is classified by a profound, irrational and often overblown fear of talking on or using a telephone in a variety of different situations.

What is Telephonophobia?

A phobia directly related to the use and presence of telephones, this phobia can take many different guises, from difficulty and intense fear of talking on the phone in a professional capacity, speaking on the phone to authority figures or using a telephone in any communicative way.

Telephonophobia can often be highly debilitating due to the prevalence of telephone use in many jobs and lifestyles. As with all phobias, there are different degrees and reasons for the irrational anxiety and fear that phone calls cause, from making calls to a business and operator to even speaking to close family and friends over the phone.

People with Telephonophobia frequently experience intense feelings of anxiety, as well as insecurity and depression if the person is required to use a telephone. Severe telephonophobes may not even feel comfortable owning a phone or smartphone, even when not using the technology for telephone calls.

What are the symptoms of Telephonophobia?

Similarly to other phobias, Telephonophobia is directly related to the way a person feels based on a specific set of circumstances. In this case, a fear reaction or anxiety response directly stems from many aspects of the telephone, from merely picking up a handset to the anticipation of making a phone call or even hearing a ringtone. Symptoms can vary depending on this level of reaction.

Many of the symptoms of Telephonophobia are listed below, though the specific symptoms will vary from person to person when they are met with the stressors and triggers associated with this condition:

  • Physically trembling or shaking in either the hands or the whole body, which may be minor or highly visible
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness and a feeling of spacing out that can result in disorientation
  • An immediate or sudden increase in heart rate that often feels uncomfortable, and can include palpitations
  • Gastrointestinal illness or pain as a result of distress, as well as the immediate onset of nausea
  • A feeling of tightness and closing of the throat
  • Numbness and tingling both across the body and in extremities
  • Sweating that is sudden or extreme, and may result in chills
  • A tight or painful feeling across the chest that may be very tight

As well as the physical response and symptoms of Telephonophobia, specific mental and emotional symptoms may persist based on this condition. Any of the following may occur as a result of Telephonophobia:

  • A feeling of sudden and acute terror or uncontrollable panic
  • A fear or sense of almost fainting or dropping
  • Removing focus on the real world, and instead choosing to focus on an unreal environment
  • Intense anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about needing to use telephones

Causes of Telephonophobia

The causes of Telephonophobia, as with many other phobic conditions, doesn’t have one known cause or confirmed origin. As an anxiety-related condition, stressful, traumatic or anxiety-causing situations, both in adult and childhood, can be a trigger for Telephonophobia. For example, a negative experience when using the phone, such as taking a call about the death of a relative, experiencing intense harassment over the phone or otherwise having a negative experience relating to the telephone can directly result in this condition.

As a tool for communication, there are many opportunities for both negative and positive experiences when using telephones, which can directly impact the perspective of the person. This can increase anxiety.

It has also been suggested based on research that certain phobias, especially those related to objects or the environment, can be a direct result of learned fear from a parental figure or another influential person in the life of a developing child. This perceived response can result in the child to experience these feelings of anxiety for themselves or can leave them without the coping skills and mechanisms for using this kind of technology.

Treatment for Telephonophobia

For almost all cases of Telephonophobia, there is a variety of different treatments available that can influence and affect this condition. These treatments can directly help people with Telephonophobia to develop new coping and management strategies that can aid them in remaining fully functional in life and the workplace.

For many people with Telephonophobia, choosing to work with a psychologist or psychiatrist may be the right move. These professionals are trained and qualified to help with copying and development actions to help individuals cope with situations that trigger or otherwise exacerbate their phobia.

These treatments include, but are not limited to:

  • Person-centered therapy
  • CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy)
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Counseling
  • Hypnotherapy

CBT is known to be a particularly effective treatment when it comes to working with coping and management of phobias. In fact, three out of four phobic patients experiences an improvement in the management of their condition based on this therapy.

There are also medical treatments available for the condition of Telephonophobia, but these medicines do not affect the way the situation impacts those who have it. Instead, these medications can be used to reduce and manage the anxiety symptoms and physical response this phobia can cause. Popular choices for this form of treatment are:

  • Beta Blockers
  • Anti Depressants
  • Anti Anxiety Medications

Finally, several non-medical options can be used for the management of the response Telephonophobia can cause. These natural methods include, but are not limited to:

  • Mindfulness
  • Meditations
  • Soothing
  • Muscle Relaxation

Prevention of Telephonophobia

As a phobia that is not consistent in its cause, Telephonophobia is very difficult to prevent and may occur despite taking actions for prevention. One of the ways that this phobia can be caught early, or even stopped, is by being vigilant with the responses that both you and others around you experience concerning the use of the telephone. Genetic phobias are not known to exist, but the behavior of a parent may directly impact that of the child, especially when it comes to high anxiety situations for the parent.

Should you or others notice or experience symptoms of Telephonophobia, learning coping or management techniques as swiftly as possible can be of great benefit. This may mean making an appointment with a psychiatrist or psychologist when experiencing anxiety responses, to prevent fears from becoming phobias.