What Is Scoptophobia [A Guide To The Psyche] Ichaku [Perfect Gifts Selection]

What Is Scoptophobia [A Guide To The Psyche]

Some people try not to draw attention to themselves unnecessarily.

And under any pretext, they refuse to make public speeches, assign others to make presentations and try not to turn on the camera in "Zoom". All of this can be a symptom of scoptophobia. We tell you about it in the next issue of our guide to the psyche.

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What is this

Scoptophobia is an intense fear that some people have when someone looks at them. The term comes from the Greek words skopeō - "to look, to examine, to check, to test", and phobos - "fear".

It is believed that the first clinical case of scoptophobia was described by Hippocrates: one of his medical treatises mentioned extremely shy man, who was convinced that others were constantly looking at him. But the term itself came much later - it was first used in 1906 in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The severity of scoptophobia can vary. Some people are afraid at the moment when they find themselves in the spotlight at a public event. And someone because of scoptophobia can not tolerate when he looks at a loved one.

At the heart of this fear is the person's irrational belief that people are looking at him for a reason. They evaluate and study him, looking for flaws and reasons for ridicule. This is why the gaze of another causes the scoptophobic sufferer a great deal of stress. It leads to the appearance of typical symptoms:

  1. The person avoids eye contact.
  2. Trying not to draw attention to himself unnecessarily.
  3. easily embarrassed.

Often during an attack of scoptophobia a person also experiences physiological manifestations of stress: increased breathing and heart rate, dry mouth, nausea, dizziness, muscle tension, increased sweating. Panic attacks are also not uncommon.

Scoptophobia is not considered a separate psychiatric disorder. In some countries, it is classified as a so-called specific phobia or considered a manifestation of social anxiety disorder. It is only diagnosed if:

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  1. Each time he/she is faced with the source of his/her fear, the person experiences intense anxiety.

(2) This anxiety is disproportionate to the threat he is really facing.

(3) The individual makes every effort to avoid that which is causing him or her intense fear.

All of these symptoms must be persistent and unchanging for at least six months. And seriously interfere with the person's life.

In addition, before making a diagnosis, a specialist must rule out all other conditions and disorders that can cause these symptoms. This means that while very many people tend to experience anxiety when communicating with others, true scoptophobia is not widespread.

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Its signs may include phrases and thoughts such as:

- "They're staring at me all the time."

- "I don't want you to look at me like that."

- "Why are they looking at me? Now they're going to notice how ugly I am."

- "Stop staring at me!"

- "I don't want anyone to see me."

- "Do you mind if I don't have my camera in Zoom?"

Why does it arise

Scientists do not know exactly. But there is every reason to believe that the trigger to the development of scoptophobia can be a combination of factors.

Genetic predisposition. Studies show that people who have close relatives with phobias are more prone to develop these conditions.

Bullying. It is known that people who were bullied in childhood or frequently ridiculed are more likely to suffer from scoptophobia than those who avoided it.

Certain illnesses. Scoptophobia often affects people with epilepsy or Tourette's syndrome. They get it from fear that during seizures, other people will look at them - and feel fear or disgust.

There is also the hypothesis that in adolescence, a lot of people experience something similar to scoptophobia: at some point, teenagers become extra shy and sensitive about how they are perceived by others. This causes them constant anxiety during social interactions. Most people outgrow this phase. But a few do not. It is they who, over time, can develop scoptophobia.

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What is dangerous

The stronger the scoptophobia, the more it affects a person's life. Some because of it try not to attend public events, even entertainment, such as concerts. And reduce communication with friends to a minimum. And in especially severe cases, stop going out of the house without an acute need.

Scoptophobia has a devastating effect on their careers. Because of the fear of attracting the attention of others, the man ceases to show himself in any way. As a result, his productivity falls, he can not cope with the tasks. And at best he remains in the same position for years. At worst, he gets fired.

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And the stress in which scoptophobic sufferers have to live, increases the risk of depression and addiction.

What to do

See a psychiatrist, who will diagnose it. Scoptophobia can get worse if left untreated.

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The main way is cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT. It helps to identify the irrational attitudes and beliefs that underlie the fear. And replace them with more realistic perceptions of how you are likely to be perceived by others.

Another option is exposure therapy. This is one subspecies of CBT. The essence of exposure therapy is that the person gradually stops avoiding situations that cause him stress. And he starts little by little, in a sparing mode, to deliberately find himself in them. With time he gets used to them - and his fear disappears.

In some cases, medications are prescribed to reduce the intensity of symptoms. Most often these are antidepressants.

At scoptophobia as at manifestations of social anxiety, the methods lessening tension in the moment are useful. For example, breathing exercises.

Here are the simplest ones:

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  1. Inhale deeply with your belly for four counts.
  2. Hold your breath for four counts.

3 Slowly - for four counts - exhale.

4 Hold your breath again for four counts.

Repeat until you feel the anxiety go away little by little.

Another way is grounding. It forces you to shift your attention from what's going on inside to what's around you in the moment.

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  1. Take a couple of deep and slow exhalations and breaths.
  2. Look around carefully and name five objects that caught your eye.
  3. Concentrate on what you hear and identify four sounds.
  4. Touch three different things.
  5. Catch two different smells - if you can't, try to imagine them.
  6. Make yourself taste one flavor - you can take a sip of water.

This will bring you back to reality and take your mind off your fears.

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