By James Masterson
According to World Book Online Research Encyclopedia, "Phobia
is an unreasonable yet strong fear of a certain object, class
of objects or a situation." People who suffer phobia have a
compelling desire to avoid the object or situation that causes
Phobia may be classified into two types:
• Specific Phobia, such as fear of animals (i.e. Arachnophobia
- Fear of spiders; Necrophobia - Fear of death or dead
• Social Phobia is an anxiety disorder where the sufferer
being assessed adversely in front of a group. Thus, Public
speaking phobia is an over-emphasized fear of speaking in
of a group.
According to World Psychiatric Association (1995), Social
Phobia affects one to 10 people at some stage of their lives.
Sufferers experience dizziness, muscle tension, trembling,
blushing and/or sweating, and even heart palpitations when
exposed to the feared object or situation. Others do not
manifest physical symptoms but they are overtly conscious of
how others react to them. They also have a tendency to
underestimate their capability to overcome the feared
Among the common effects of Social Phobia in a person are:
• Unstable employment record
• Have less or no friends
• Being single
• Having a low educational attainment
Studies show that public speaking phobia, and most phobias,
develop in middle or late childhood stage. It usually starts
from an unpleasant experience like being humiliated in front
the class; this unpleasant experience gets stored in the
memory and is brought up when faced with similar situations.
Children who have been exposed to people with public speaking
phobia, like their parents or friends, learn the phobia by
hearing them. They immediately conclude that what they have
heard of is true without actually verifying the facts.
Research also shows that genetics also play an important role
in developing phobias. It has a tendency to occur in families.
Phobias are mostly likely to occur in identical twins, than in
Luckily, there are many ways to treat Phobia.
• PERSONAL MOTIVATION. There are many self-help books that can
help you overcome your public speaking phobia. Your desire to
overcome your fear is the most important factor of treatment.
• PROFESSIONAL TREATMENT. If self-treatment does not work for
you, you can seek help from a professional. Exposure to
is a good example of this method, which focuses on the
instead of the thoughts of the sufferer.
• Other kinds of treatment include:
• Counseling - discussing your phobia with a professional.
• Medication - This method is used if the sufferer has other
mental conditions that are affected by the phobia. The use of
these drugs can only be used for a short period of time. Using
medication alone cannot cure the phobia.
About The Author: James Masterson is Stand out, Be Recognized
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