This article on Epainassist.com has been reviewed by a medical professional, as well as checked for facts, to assure the readers the best possible accuracy.

We follow a strict editorial policy and we have a zero-tolerance policy regarding any level of plagiarism. Our articles are resourced from reputable online pages. This article may contains scientific references. The numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3) are clickable links to peer-reviewed scientific papers.

The feedback link “Was this Article Helpful” on this page can be used to report content that is not accurate, up-to-date or questionable in any manner.

This article does not provide medical advice.


Scopophobia : Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

What is Scopophobia?

Scopophobia is a type of fear in which people fear of being watched or stared at. They may have some level of anxiety when they are the center of attention. They may have exaggerated feelings in these situations.(1) These people may also alter their lifestyles and keep away from social events. Scopophobia may interfere with their daily life.

Scopophobia : Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Scopophobia and Anxiety Disorder

Scopophobia can be a specific phobia or a part of an anxiety disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health specific phobia is the term used for phobias that relate to specific objects or situations.(2)

In social anxiety disorder, there is intense anxiety about social situations. A person is anxious and very much concerned about other people judging him. This leads to feelings of embarrassment.

Causes of Scopophobia

There is no single cause of developing a phobia or anxiety, but there are factors that can increase the risk. The factors that contribute to the development of anxiety disorder are genetics or the result of a person’s experiences.

The negative social experiences include being bullied as a child.

A study was published in a journal that stated, having a history of depression increases the risk of developing of specific phobia.(3)

It is also observed that people with certain medical conditions such as Tourette’s syndrome and epilepsy that draw other people’s attention are more susceptible to anxiety and phobias.(4, 5)

Symptoms of Scopophobia

If suffering from scopophobia, social encounters get stressful as people with it believe that other people are watching or judging them.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the symptoms of scopophobia include:(9)

Many people with scopophobia turn down social encounters as the associated stress gets overwhelming.

Not all people with scopophobia may experience such symptoms. Some may feel uncomfortable in social situations but still would be able to attend them.

The symptoms of scopophobia may disrupt a person’s daily life and interfere with their daily routines. It may affect a person’s ability to do their job or complete school.

Also, these people may misinterpret social cues. They may continue feeling distressed. It can also increase the risk of depression and substance use disorder.(6)

How is Scopophobia Diagnosed?

The diagnostic criteria for scopophobia include:(7)

  • Being marked as fearful about a specific situation
  • An object or a specific situation triggering immediate fear
  • Fear and anxiety are out of proportion to the level of danger the object or situation poses
  • The symptoms being persistent and lasting for more than 6 months
  • Other mental disorders

Social anxiety disorders are also diagnosed according to the criteria listed in DSM-5-TR, which include:(8)

  • Being extremely anxious about social situations
  • Fear being out of proportion to the risk
  • Avoiding social situations due to anxiety
  • Being reluctant to participate
  • Having the same reaction to all social situations

Treatment of Scopophobia

The treatment plan for scopophobia includes:

  • Medications, which mostly include antidepressants and antianxiety medications
  • Psychotherapy, including cognitive behavior therapy or exposure therapy
  • Complementary approaches including relaxation techniques

Cognitive behavior therapy helps in recognizing unhelpful ways of thinking that lead to overwhelming fears.  It also helps a person in learning new ways to identify the fear and reevaluate perceived threats.

Exposure therapy helps in breaking the cycle of fear and avoidance. The therapist first creates an environment in which a person feels safe and then exposes him to situations they find threatening.

Complementary approaches work by managing stress and anxiety through mindful therapies

Scopophobia is an excessive fear of being watched. It makes social situations extremely stressful for people. There are therapies that help in managing stress and making everyday living easy for an individual.

Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 23, 2022

Recent Posts

Related Posts