Your Opinion of Doxophobia?
Have you ever been handed a feedback form only to find yourself breaking out in a sweat? Do you avoid conferences or meetings where you might be asked to give an opinion? Does the idea of giving or receiving opinions fill you with dread or anxiety?
If your answers to these questions were a resounding yes, you are probably dealing with doxophobia, or the fear of expressing opinions.
It’s difficult for people suffering from doxophobia to express their opinions in front of others. The physical symptoms, combined with the psychological turmoil, are hard to ignore and can cause a lot of distress, hindering one from living a full life.
Thankfully, with advancements in medical science, there is greater awareness of phobias and ways to treat them. With various effective therapies, treatments, and medications available, you, too, can overcome your doxophobia.
What Does Doxophobia Mean?
The term “doxophobia” originates from the Greek words doxo, meaning honor or glory, and phobia meaning fear. So, the definition of doxophobia is essentially the fear of expressing opinions or of receiving praise. This results in the sufferer going to extreme lengths to avoid being in a situation where they may be asked for an opinion or may be praised.
Did you know that there are more than 400 phobias? And from the full list of phobias, some are phobias of disgust, where the object of the phobia produces disgust while others are fear phobias like doxophobia, where the object of your phobia triggers dread and fear.
A person dealing with doxophobia often also has low self-esteem issues. They don’t want to be on anyone’s radar, which in itself can be considered a form of social phobia. And although in a time when people seem to love exploiting their right to express their opinions, doxophobia may seem a bit unlikely. However, some people’s fear of opinions can be severe and may prevent them from having a healthy social life.
Cause of Doxophobia
The fear of expressing opinions and the fear of compliments may result from a number of factors. Sometimes you can point out the exact moment the phobia seed was planted, while other times, tracing your experiences and memories to find the possible root cause can be fruitless.
Doxophobia, like any other phobia, typically results from a chain of events that instills in one a fear of compliments and opinions. A childhood experience of being laughed at for a particular opinion you had or a cruel joke in your adolescent years, where compliments were only used to mock you, can cause one to doubt their own self-worth.
Individuals suffering from doxophobia may also have a genetic or hereditary predisposition to the illness.
Another reason for this fear is constantly having your opinion disregarded. A child whose opinion never mattered and was always shut down by people close to him may grow into an adult who does not express himself, which may later evolve into doxophobia.
A person with doxophobia may experience some or all of the following physical and physiological symptoms.
- Shortness of breath
- Need to get away
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid breathing
- Inability to articulate words or sentences
- Feeling disconnected
- Fear of fainting
- Difficulty concentrating
- Withdrawing from others
- A sense of shame and guilt
Treatment and Cure of Doxophobia
So, how does one overcome doxophobia? There is no one specific treatment for any phobia, including doxophobia. Often, a combination of treatments and therapies is used to help a person overcome the object of their fear.
Overcoming Doxophobia with Self-Help
Doxophobia, like any other social phobia, is an irrational perception of an otherwise harmless situation. Most people tend to realize this, but they do not have control over the symptoms they experience when faced with their fear.
However, a person can train themself to gradually overcome the negative thoughts and the consequent negative reactions. Self-help is one of the most effective treatment methods for any type of phobia.
The first step in dealing with any phobia is to get to the root cause that triggered the fear in the first place. Think back to the events or thoughts that cause you to fear opinions. You may also consider sharing your feelings with a close friend or family member whom you trust.
Therapies for Doxophobia
Various therapies are known to show great results for social phobias like doxophobia.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, follows the principle that what we think and perceive influences our behavior, and often anxiety or stress we experience is an inaccurate depiction of reality.
Through CBT, the therapist helps you recognize your negative and irrational thoughts and guides you to replace them with positive thoughts. It can help lead the person away from their perceived reality to true reality. CBT works for most phobias as phobias are generally incorrect or irrational perceptions.
During a talking therapy session, a highly trained and experienced therapist helps you process your thoughts and feelings. The therapy is conducted in a laid-back, relaxed, and safe environment to provide the patient with the comfort and security they need to open up.
As the sessions progress, the patient is able to talk more easily about their phobia. They start to recognize the unhealthy patterns in their thought process and take the necessary steps to change them.
Medications for Doxophobia
For any phobia, medications are only prescribed in severe cases. In cases where the patient is experiencing repeated panic attacks and it is not possible to wait for the other methods to show results, medications may be used.
However, their use must be discontinued as soon as the patient starts responding to other treatments.
Learning to Cope with Doxophobia
Imagine living a life where you cannot offer your opinion or accept compliments. It can lead to a very restrictive life and may even progress to a point where other people start making decisions for you.
It is important for those suffering from doxophobia to first acknowledge and face their fears. They can then take steps to address their phobia.
Try self-help and therapy methods to overcome your fear. Although it will take some time for you to see or feel any results, with consistent work, you can experience a full life without having to deal with crippling fear.
Doxophobia can seem like a debilitating condition that can affect many aspects of your life. However, while serious, it is still a very treatable condition.
With self-help and a little professional help, you, too, can notice a transformation in the way you perceive things. Who knows, one day, you may even find yourself expressing your opinions in that weekly team meeting!