What is Glossophobia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

Not everyone has the confidence or the charismatic personality to sway the heart and mind of the audience. Some people overcome this condition with practice, and others find it very difficult to speak in public. Today, we’ll discuss what is glossophobia (social phobia); its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

What is Glossophobia? 

Glossophobia is the medical term for fear of public speaking, and it’s not a chronic or dangerous mental health condition. Approximately every 4 out of 10 US people experience this condition. However, it’s difficult for the affected person to speak in public and it could trigger anxiety and discomfort feelings, racing heartbeats, sweating, and uncontrollable trembling.

The urge of overwhelming feelings is so strong that it makes you get out of the room and get away from the situation that is causing anxiety and stress. Glossophobia falls under the category of social anxiety disorder or social phobia. However, it’s such types of anxiety that are way beyond nervousness and occasional worrisome. The fearful feelings are out of proportion that you have never experienced before.

The anxiety disorder could aggravate under certain types of circumstances, and it interferes with your capability to perform various functions in your routine life.

Symptoms of Glossophobia 

The glossophobia person experiences a fight-or-flight reaction when someone asks him to give a presentation or speak in public. Their body would prepare itself in the defending mode like any type of potential threat.

When you’re in a threatened state of mind, then your brain releases chemicals like steroids and adrenaline. It causes to increase in the energy and sugar levels in your blood. Resultantly, your heartbeat and blood pressure increase, and it pumps more blood into your veins and muscles.

Some of the main symptoms of Glossophobia in the fight-or-flight mode are as follows;

  • Strong urge to getaway
  • Tension in your muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Hyperventilating or shortness of breath
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Sweating
  • Trembling
  • Racing heartbeat

Causes of Glossophobia 

The fight-or-flight reaction is an instinctive response in your body and it helps you to survive when attacked by animals or fear enemies. But it’s not a good and effective response when you’re having a meeting in the office. Therefore, you should dig down to the root cause of your fear, and it would help you manage your fear.

The feeling of being judged, rejected, or embarrassed publically is very strong among people that have fear of public speaking. They would experience unpleasant feelings like their presence in the class didn’t go as planned. Or someone has asked them to speak or present a report without any preparation.

Some experts say that social phobia is hereditary and it runs in the family, and science is yet to find the behind it. A study conducted in 2002 showed that breeding mice that exhibited low fear and anxiety and their offspring resulted in exhibiting lower fear and anxiety. Researchers need to conduct more studies to resolve the mystery of whether it’s hereditary or not.

The tests conducted by NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health) showed that the brain of a glossophobia person would show a high response of social anxiety especially when you read hateful and negative comments to them. Emotional processing and self-evaluation are the main responsible areas that would be affected. However, the people without this condition would exhibit a high level of response.

Treatment of Glossophobia 

The fear of public speaking or social phobia would badly impact your routine life. If your condition is severe, then you should consult with your therapist to develop a treatment plan for you. It could be any of the following;


CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) helps people to deal with social phobia and glossophobia condition. Your therapist would help you to identify the root cause of the problem that is causing you to feel this way. For instance, you would find that it’s the fear of embarrassment or ridicule that is causing you to feel this way and not the speaking.

Your therapist would work with you in order to find the negative thought pattern that would go with them. He would teach you strategies to deal with negative thought patterns. For instance, instead of thinking that you shouldn’t make any mistakes, you should remind yourself that everyone makes mistakes, and it’s normal and okay. The audience usually doesn’t pay attention to the speakers.

After recognizing your fear, you should begin addressing the audience starting from your supportive social groups, and then moving on to the bigger crowd.


If the therapeutic approach isn’t working, your therapist would prescribe you some type of medicine to deal with the anxiety disorder. For instance, beta-blockers help you to treat heart disorders and higher blood pressure. They also help you to deal with the symptoms of glossophobia.

Antidepressants, as the name implies help you to treat depression, and they’re equally effective in managing the symptoms of glossophobia. Your doctor could also prescribe Benzodiazepines (Xanax or Ativan) if the condition is getting out of hand and impacting your daily life.

Other Strategies

  • Practice answering the questions of the audience in your routine life
  • Videotaping and recording your presentation and watching your performance
  • Practice, practice, and practice
  • Follow the script of your presentation
  • Knowing your material

Conclusion: What is Glossophobia? Symptoms, Causes, Treatment 

After an in-depth study of what is glossophobia (fear of public speaking); its symptoms, causes, and treatment; we have realized that social phobia could badly impact your life. If you’re working on yourself to deal with this condition, then you should follow and practice the abovementioned tips and suggestions.