Fear Of Being Watched(Scopophobia): Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Fear of being observed – Scopophobia. It is the fear of being observed or looked at. It originates from the Greek word ‘skopein,’ which means ‘to look or examine,’ and phobia, which means ‘deep fear or aversion.’ The degree to which a person has Scopophobia can vary: some are so affected by it that they are afraid of “being watched.”

In any case, phobics experience an all-out panic attack at the mere thought of being looked at or looked at by people. It is known that many people who have Scophobia also face other social or specific phobias and when left untreated, these conditions worsen enormously over time.

You can also read The Fear of Writing: Causes, Symptoms, Overcoming.

Causes of Scopophobia

  • It is common for patients with epilepsy or Tourette syndrome (a neurological condition in which the patient has tics or vocalizations, etc.) to suffer from the fear of being observed or looked at.
  • However, compared to the Scopophobia that comes from disorders / social anxiety, phobia triggered by epilepsy usually causes one to be afraid of experiencing a seizure on a bus, train, or in other public places where everyone would look at them.
  • Also another difference in epilepsy triggered by Scopophobia is that it typically affects middle-aged people, while anxiety-related Scopophobia affects younger patients.
  • Children who have experienced a traumatic event such as public ridicule are more likely to develop a fear of being looked at.
  • Others who have a physical deformity due to an accident or illness are naturally more likely to be observed and develop fear over time.

People with other social disorders, such as stage fright, fear of public speaking, etc., can also develop.

  • In general, individuals with low self-esteem or those who have a self-developed body image are prone to suffer from this fear. Naturally, having a little social anxiety is considered reasonable.
  • However, in extreme Scopophobia, fear tends to grow out of proportion compared to the actual triggers or risk factors.
  • Autism and schizophrenia are other existing disorders likely to cause excessive fear of being observed or watched.

Symptoms of fear of being watched

  • Most phobics avoid experiencing situations that make them susceptible to being observed by strangers.
  • They are most likely depressed from having little or no social life.
  • Traveling on buses and trains can be traumatic for them.
  • The mere idea of ​​being watched makes them want to run away or hide. Shaking, sweating, having a dry mouth, and experiencing thoughts of death or dying are some common emotional and physical manifestations of phobia.
  • Flushing is another common symptom of fear of being watched. To make matters worse, the phobic may also fear blushing (erythrophobia), and knowing well that he has no control over this can cause him to experience additional physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, nausea, etc.

Towards the beginning, the person can only be afraid of being observed by unknown or strange people.

  • However, when left untreated, this phobia could lead a person to stop participating in family activities entirely or to refuse to meet with trusted friends or relatives.
  • Avoiding activities and slowly withdrawing from the public eye are the most common symptoms of Scophobia that may develop over the years.

Treating and overcoming Scophobia

  • The fear of being watched can be self-limiting, causing the phobia to withdraw entirely within oneself.
  • If this is the case for you or a loved one, it is best to seek therapy. There are several options available today; the most popular include hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, NLP, neurolinguistic therapy, etc.
  • Most of these options can help you get to the bottom of the fear to reduce the anxiety or panic attacks experienced due to the phobia.

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Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.