Telephones have become an integral part of our lives today, enabling us to communicate with others from anywhere in the world. But there are many people who dislike talking on the phone due to “phone anxiety.” For such people, talking over the phone could be an ordeal. Whether it is a task as simple as informing one’s boss about whereabouts or expressing one’s love, they break out into cold sweats and are extremely nervous. Most of them shiver at the idea of conversing with someone over the phone.
Interestingly, people with phone phobia are more comfortable in interacting with people directly, rather than making and receiving calls. Sadly, phone phobia may even prove to be destructive to one’s personal and professional life.
Phobias are irrational fears
Phobias related to phones are of two kinds – nomophobia, when one is mortally scared when one does not have cellular phone contact, and telephonophobia, when a person is petrified of taking and making calls. Another common cause of telephone or mobile phone anxiety or stress could be past trauma or stress.
Drawing a link between social anxiety and telephonophobia, Dr. Katy Kamkar, from the Psychological Trauma Program/ Work, Stress and Health Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), said, “There are many reasons why people have phone anxiety. Some include not knowing what to say, not being able to recognize the other person’s facial expressions, fear of being judged, humiliated, saying something wrong, looking stupid.”
Handy tips to deal with telephonophobia
While telephonophobia has not yet been identified as an anxiety disorder technically, its symptoms can be so severe that one might start feeling panicky and distressed for the fear of being humiliated or judged by others.
A person with a phobia will go to great lengths to avoid the source of fear. For example, a person with an extreme telephonopjobia will ensure that the cause of his or her phobia is avoided at all costs. Also on being confronted with the object of fear, the person experiences extreme and unreasonable distress, which could disrupt his or her normal life. In the U.S., more than 50 million people are affected by different types of phobias.
Phobia, whether it is due to the fear of heights, dogs or telephones, causes an influx of fight-or-flight signals to the brain. As a result, the individual experiences pain, profuse sweating and increased palpitations.
Listed below are a few self-help measures that can help mitigate the distress of telephonophobia:
- Scripting the conversation in advance: Writing down the script is a helpful tactic for dealing with routine telephonic conversations, such as getting a doctor’s appointment.
- Knowing the purpose of call: Knowing the facts and being prepared prior to the call not only prevents unnecessary delay but also helps in accomplishing the task quickly.
- Eliminating the fear of judgment by others: People dread talking over the phone because they dread being judged. It is important to remember that one is not obliged to be friends with the person on the other end, therefore, one need not be afraid of the outcome of the conversation. Moreover, by reminding oneself that the dialogue is not of a personal nature, one can get over the fear.
- Listening more and talking less: Counting till 10 before talking to the person on line can significantly reduce anxiety associated with talking on phone. Also, remembering to listen more and talk less creates an environment that is conducive to conversation.
Road to recovery
While certain self-help measures and counseling is helpful in resolving the distress one faces while making and taking a phone call, , it is essential to take a therapist’s help in case the symptoms worsen. Depending on the severity and the duration of the disorder, a physician assesses the impact of the phobia and then, recommends the necessary treatment.
It is important for a person to have a strong willpower to improve his or her mental health. If you or someone you know is dealing with phobia or any kind of anxiety, the Anxiety Treatment Centers of California can help. Contact us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-972-9459 or chat online with one of our representatives who can assist you in finding one of the best anxiety treatment centers in California.