You are at the Mall with your friend or buddy, the environment is conducive for a nice picture, so you give your mobile phone to your friend to take a picture of you. As you pose and you are ready to take the picture, you suddenly get this awkward feeling that all those passing by and everyone at the mall has got their eyes on you or are staring at you. Overwhelmed by that feeling, you signal your friend to stop and you take your phone without taking a single shot. Deep down, you are really pissed because you really needed that picture in your gallery. If you have ever felt that way, relax, you are not alone.
In reality, no one really cares about you taking pictures in public, they may make eye contact, but that does not mean they are staring or judging. Let’s put it this way, how do you feel when you see someone taking a picture at a public place? None of your business, right? That is exactly how others also feel when you taking a picture in public.
Scopophobia, also known as scoptophobia, is the fear of being stared at.
Though this definition is general, we are associating it to taking pictures in public in this article. Being shy when taking pictures in public is absolutely normal, but if an individual shows severe or extreme signs of this behavior, then the person could be scopophobic. Scopophobia is a specific phobia, but it falls under the general spectrum of social phobias. Most people with this fear also suffer from such related specific social phobias as stage fright or the fear of public speaking. Some people also experience more generalized social phobia, although many do not.
Some people with certain neurological conditions develop scopophobia either because they feel that being stared at may trigger an episode, or because they fear that having an episode will cause people to stare. Epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, autism spectrum disorders, and some movement disorders are among the conditions that could heighten the risk for scopophobia. People with disfiguring illnesses or injuries may also be more likely to develop this phobia.
Scopophobia can often, though not always, be traced to a traumatic event. Those who were bullied or made fun of may be at increased risk for this phobia. In addition, people who feel shame or self-loathing are also at higher risk.
Many adolescents go through a phase of extreme self-consciousness which may include worries about being looked at. In general, however, these feelings subside within a few months. If the fear persists or worsens, however, it may be diagnosed as scopophobia.
Like all phobias, the fear of being stared at responds well to a variety of brief therapy options. Your therapist will work with you to develop a treatment plan that addresses the scopophobia as well as any concurrent disorders. Depending on the severity of your fear and any underlying issues, your treatment may last as few as three sessions or as long as several months. Scopophobia can be life-limiting, gradually forcing sufferers to restrict their daily activities. With hard work and perseverance, though, it can be overcome. The benefits of treatment are well worth the time and energy required to successfully battle this phobia.