There are people who suffer from a fear of embarrassment. This fear can develop into an intense and unwarranted terror or agoraphobia. Agoraphobia was named after a Greek market and it literally translates to mean a fear of being exposed to a situation or situation publicly where embarrassment can occur. With some agoraphobics this can extend to include anxiety attacks. However, not all agoraphobics hide away in their homes and avoid any risk of embarrassment. Some are able to fend quite well in places where they are able to control the situation.
It has been shown scientifically that the majority of agoraphobics are women, though some men can suffer it too. It has been estimated by researchers that 2.7 to 5.7% of the population suffers from some level of agoraphobia. In fact, agoraphobia can begin as young as 15 or as late as 35.
A fear of embarrassment in its extreme does appear in families, but the reasons for this have not yet been discovered by scientists. However, they all share at least one or more of the following commonalities in their fears:
o loss of control in varied public areas
o being in a location where escape may be tricky
o Staying at home for lengthy periods
o estrangement or detachment feelings from other people
o the need to be dependent on other people
oa feeling that their body is not real
oa feeling that their surroundings and environment are not real
o panic or anxiety attacks or just general anxiety
o irritability, sweaty palms, and general change in behavior
Other more physical reactions can also occur in people suffering more severe forms of the fear of embarrassment, including:
o lightheadedness or fainting
o sudden dizziness (not to be confused with the signs of a heart attack or stroke)
o extreme perspiration or sweating
o flushing of the skin
o difficulties in breathing or the sensation of breathing problems (not to be confused with an obstruction in the throat, an asthma attack or severe allergic reaction)
o pains in the chest, jaw, stomach, arms or neck (not to be confused with the signs of a possible heart attack)
o pounding heart, irregular heartbeat or heart palpitations (not to be confused with the signs of a heart attack)
o vomiting or simple nausea
o tingling, pins and needles and numbness in any body part (not to be confused with the signs of a stroke or impending heart attack)
o butterflies in the stomach, gassy abdomen or cramping
o mental confusion, disorganized or odd thoughts (not to be confused with the signs of a stroke)
oa deep terror of going completely mad
oa deep terror of dying
In the majority of cases, an agoraphobic person or someone who has an intense fear of embarrassment can relieve their symptoms by leaving the situation where the embarrassment occurred or by just simply going home.
Unfortunately, an intense fear of embarrassment can lead to anxiety or panic attacks in certain situations where the person begins to feel as if they are losing control, insecure, distant from a place of comfort, or trapped. The majority of agoraphobics are able to develop ways to combat this by simply avoiding any situation that may lead to such an attack. To understand this better, a person can suffer an anxiety or panic attack in a severe form that can continue anywhere from 10 minutes to as much as a week. So, it is no surprise that the person would want to avoid suffering this because such attacks are very disruptive to normal living.
Each person is different in the situations that can trigger their fear of embarrassment. Some people find that socializing, driving a vehicle, going to church services or other meeting places, and shopping by themselves can trigger the fear. Ultimately, the fear of embarrassment soon develops into a fear of having an anxiety or panic attack, which leads to the person's withdrawal from normal life. This can greatly detriment their ability to socialize, have relationships with others and their ability to perform in a work situation.
A fear of embarrassment is not a mental illness, but when it develops into agoraphobia it needs to be treated by a medical professional. There have been many famous people who have suffered from this, and in some ways, every person has a situation that they prefer to avoid because of the fear of embarrassment. However, for most people, the choice is not to avoid, but to face our fears.