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What is Glossophobia?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jan 22, 2024
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Glossophobia is a fear of public speaking. It can occur as part of a larger issue, like stage fright, or on its own; in some cases, it can be quite crippling for people who suffer from it. A glossophobic might, for example, make a conscious effort to avoid situations in which he or she may be obliged to engage in public speaking, thus limiting his or her life and career choices. There are a variety of techniques which can be used to treat glossophobia, for patients who wish to seek treatment.

A wide variety of things can cause glossophobia, and often the cause is complex, with several factors being involved. One common reason to become glossophobic is childhood trauma, or even traumatic situations which occur as an adult. It can also be caused by a tendency to avoid public speaking, which can create anxiety around the idea, thus causing someone to become glossophobic. The condition can also be related to psychological conditions which may require complex treatment.

Symptoms of glossophobia vary. In a mild case, someone simply feels anxious about the idea of speaking, but in more severe cases, physical symptoms can manifest. These are part of the body's flight-or-fight response to stress, which causes sweating, an elevated heart rate, and other symptoms. Some people may become so nervous that they feel sick or vomit from stress. These symptoms cause people to try and avoid public speaking whenever possible.

A wide assortment of things can be used to treat glossophobia, and many people find such treatments beneficial. In addition to treating glossophobia, these treatments may also elevate self-confidence in general, making people feel more comfortable in the world. People who wish to seek treatment usually go to psychologists or psychiatrists to talk about the condition and its root causes before deciding on the best treatment option. It is important to remember that treatment takes time; glossophobia is not something which can be cured overnight.

One way to address the condition is to take public speaking classes, some of which are targeted at people who fear public speaking. It is also possible to undergo hypnosis and other psychotherapy treatments, or to use techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga. Certain drugs may also be utilized to encourage people to relax before public speaking engagements, although ideally medication should be used in combination with a course of therapy.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon185797 — On Jun 13, 2011

Anther technique is desensitization. Many people have been helped through Toastmasters Clubs.

By anon150224 — On Feb 07, 2011

Well obviously, public speaking is a very hard phobia to conquer. Hear is one way to conquer it. First, say a speech in front of a mirror. Then say it to the family. After say it to your friends. Then so on. Hope this helps! From Dr. Feldman.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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