Performance Anxiety and Its Treatment

At one point or another all people have experienced fear or anxiety. Fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears in America. However, for people suffering from true performance anxiety, public speaking is only one of the fears they may encounter. Many people who experience this disorder are convinced that they must seek perfection in all situations. As a result, performance anxiety can occur at any time they are expecting to be judged. The truth of the matter is performance anxiety is a multi-dimensional dynamic that has the potential to affect many aspects of life, including:

  • Academics
  • Career
  • Money making
  • Public speaking
  • Relationship building
  • Sex
  • Sports
  • Performing arts and more

It becomes multi-dimensional because it affects thinking, attitude, and emotion, as well as physiology and behavior. Symptoms can include:

  • Shaking body
  • Sweaty palms
  • Trembling voice
  • Increased heartbeat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Dizziness
  • Mind blanks, blocks, or freezes
  • Confusion
  • Feelings of worthlessness or inadequacy
  • Memory lapses

It is important to understand, however, that the simple presence of these symptoms is not an indication of performance anxiety. As stated before, many of us fear specific social or performance-based situations. In fact, a little anxiety here and there is perfectly normal. It’s when a person’s performance anxiety becomes a constant and abnormal concern that the person should seek performance anxiety treatment. People who experience true performance anxiety may adjust important aspects of their life in order to avoid the situations they fear. They may avoid certain places entirely or sever ties with family, friends, or co-workers.

Performance anxiety treatment may include medication, therapy, or a combination of both. The most typically used therapy is cognitive behavior therapy, which teaches that our thoughts control our emotions and ultimately our performance. Therapists will help the person engage in positive self-talk and teach them to identify when their negative thoughts are affecting the situation they fear.

For more information about performance anxiety treatment in the Delray Beach, Florida area, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen at 561-496-1094 or email him today

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