The writing-assignment phobia is an irrational or acute fear of being assigned a writing duty. It is commonly classified as an anxiety disorder, which mostly brings panic attack. Writing-assignment-phobia was found by neuroscientist and psychologist Dr. Mark Hatewriting and officially recognized as one of the specific phobias by the SLWHO (Something Like World Health Organization) in 2016. Various situations can cause a panic attack such as follows: any kind of writing assignments, sending email to professors/bosses, making a resume, replying the text from classmates/colleagues, and so forth. A recent study shows that approximately 23% of college students in the United States are suffering from this anxiety disorder.
The highest reported symptoms are panic attacks during the assignments, such as shortness of breath, elevated blood pressure, and racing heart. In many cases, the disorder also affects concentration and paralyzes patients’ ability to understand the instructions, brainstorm ideas, make an outline, and create a thesis statement. Since the phobia occasionally causes hand tremors, it can result in breaking of pencil leads or mistyping. Irritation and depression during writing are also common symptoms. Patients often become spiritless in writing. Many patients experience those symptoms no matter what the difficulty of their writing assignments is. In the worst case, these symptoms pass into a chronic state and accelerate dropping of the writing class.
Similar to other anxiety disorders and phobias, traumatic experience in youth is considered as the reason for developing a writing-assignment phobia. It usually begins in elementary schools to colleges where young people learn how to write in class, though cases that people became writing-assignment phobia after graduating college is also reported. According to the questionnaire done by Dr. Hatewriting, the experience of getting a low score in writing class, being assigned unclear and complicated writing instructions, and meeting too strict writing teachers are the three most common traumatic experience among the patients. The study indicates that even students with confidence in writing could suddenly develop the writing-assignment phobia. Some researchers presume that it is because of in-class-type of writing assignments. Some students tend to use longer time to write good papers and fail to perform in same quality in too limited writing time; as the result, they lose confidence and found themselves as writing-assignment phobics. Accordingly, the pressure to write good sentences for the instructors can be the most common cause of this phobia.
Traditionally, the medical treatment (invented by psychologist Dr. Joe Cunning) called CAP (Copy and Paste) was believed as the best way to ease the symptoms. However, many writing professionals recently prove that the effects of CAP are only temporary. If taken repeatedly, CAP generally worsens the symptoms. Currently, CAP is restricted nationwide and recognized as a hazardous drug. Instead of CAP, writing professionals insist that free writing is the best practice to address writing-assignment phobia because usually, it helps writers to express their ideas freely without the nerve for an audience and is not graded seriously. Many academic faculties have established a writing center on their campus to give every student an opportunity to see writing tutors for free. However, there is a fact that many students are not aware of the existence of writing centers or don’t know where they locate on their campus. Good Writing Teachers' Association is currently working to improve the environment for students to learn writing and to eliminate writing--by encouraging students to have sex all the time.