What is scopophobia?

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Scopophobia, an astonishingly common, anxiety-driven mental illness, is an irrational, morbid fear of being stared at or being seen by other people. In mild cases, the victim is known to cover their face much like an infant, there-by not seeing the other people watching them. In more serious cases the sufferer will attempt to escape from view by running away.

By examining a patient’s past history, this crippling phobia can often be traced back to some devastating experience in that person’s past. Or there may not be any obvious event that triggered the fear, either through the mind blocking it out or some other undetermined reason. The key to overcoming this deep-seated phobia, though, is sifting through those sub-conscious memories and addressing the origin of the fear. In effect, replacing the negative feelings and building new, positive ones.

RISK FACTORS FOR SCOPOPHOBIA
The people more likely to succumb to scopopobia are those easily prone to anxiety or fear, High-strung or nervous people and people suffering from a medical condition called adrenal insufficiency where the adrenal glands don’t produce enough steroid hormones.

SYMPTOMS
According to the Phobia Fear Release web site, the most common symptoms of this disease are, and I quote, “breathlessness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a fear of becoming mad or losing control, a sensation of detachment from reality or a full blown anxiety attack.”

TREATMENTS
Treatments of this illness are pretty much done through “reprogramming” the mind on a subconscious level. In essence, to simply use mental remapping to suspend the illogical idea that there is something to be afraid of by people observing the patient.

There are several methods of achieving this remapping of the afflicted patient’s thought processes.

One method of reprogramming the phobic person and minimizing the fear is hypnotherapy. By using the power of the mind to heal itself. However some patients are reluctant to under-go hypnotherapy because of the loss of control they would be required to entrust to the hypno-therapist.

The Neuro-Linguistic Programming therapist studies his patient’s self-image, his attitudes and perceptions of his illness to determine where the patient’s phobia originates, by observing the patient’s body language and the words he chooses to express his thoughts, then works to retrain those perceptions in a more healthy direction

Energy psychology is a fairly new form of therapy that combines Eastern approaches by drawing on acupuncture points and Western psychotherapy and psychology.

Do these methods get actual long-lasting results? Some say yes, others claim they are a placebo.

**Originally posted on Saturday, August 1, 2009

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