Glossophobia is very interesting.

  • It's not listed in the Oxford Online Dictionary, the Merriam-Webster dictionary or
  • It is in Wikipedia and as the fear of public speaking, although the ultimate source seems to be the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual Version 4 (DSM IV) which is the bible of the American Psychiatric Association.
  • According to, glossophobia is a subset of Social Phobia which is a Disorder listed in the DSM IV.

Here's how the DSM IV defines Social Phobia:

Psychiatric Disorders

Simple Phobias (including Social Phobia)

Category: Anxiety Disorders

Etiology: Often a traumatic event is the precursor for a phobia, which may or may not be at the conscious level.

Symptoms: Symptoms include either extreme anxiety and fear associated with the object or situation or avoidance. To be diagnosed, the symptoms must be disruptive to everyday functioning (such as quitting a great job merely because you have to use an elevator).

Treatment: Treatment is often behavioral in nature, with the therapist guiding the client through exercises more closely resembling the feared object or situation. Exploring underlying issues can also be beneficial.

Prognosis: Prognosis is very good if treated effectively.

So what can we make of all this?

The definition at first glance seems to me to be pretty broad. If you've ever avoided speaking in public (and who hasn't) then you got it! That's crazy (no offence to the psychs) because just about everyone would fall under that diagnosis.

So my first piece of advice is not to try and self-diagnose. If you really think that your fear of public speaking is so bad that it significantly disrupts your daily life then get professional help.

Secondly I'm encouraged to see that even the psychiatrists say the prognosis is good, and they don't mention medication as the preferred treatment. Thank goodness thre's some common sense left in the world!

For more help if you feel bad about public speaking, go back to the home page becasue the whole site's designed to get you past it.

Good luck!

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