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Public Speaking Anxiety

Performance Anxiety

Stage Fright and Public Speaking Anxiety

Performance Anxiety Treatment

Some mild to moderate anxiety is normal and motivating in performances; however, when that anxiety crosses beyond a certain threshold, it often causes performance to plunge.

Performance anxiety or "stage fright," is characterized by persisting, distressful apprehension about or actual impairment of performance skills. Stage fright is common in adults, regardless of their training, aptitude, or preparation. Others often downplay pre-performance “jitters” as something that everyone experiences, which can prevent those with more severe cases from seeking help for their anxiety.

Recognizing and understanding stage fright symptoms is the first step in working through your performance anxiety. If you are worried you might have performance anxiety, schedule an appointment to speak with one of our psychiatric specialists.

What Causes Stage Fright or Performance Anxiety?

While stage fright is often associated with public speaking, this type of anxiety is also common in athletes, performing artists, and other professionals.    When someone starts feeling anxious about a performance, a series of chemical reactions occur in the brain, triggering an adrenaline release.

What Are Common Stage Fright Symptoms?

The “fight or flight” response caused by an adrenaline release typically does not subside until the performance ends. These feelings can overwhelm people to the point that they “freeze” or lose the ability to think clearly. In some cases, the fear of stage fright can become so severe, it prevents people from doing something they enjoy.

People struggling with performance anxiety can experience both physical and emotional symptoms. These symptoms can vary from person to person but often include:

  • Becoming tremulous
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea decreased concentration
  • Embarrassment
  • Inability to recall
  • Lightheadedness
  • Shortness of breath


Managing and Treating Public Speaking Anxiety

Medication Options for Performance AnxietyLike other forms of anxiety, performance anxiety responds well to a form of therapy called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which focuses on desensitizing an individual to the stress of performing in public.  In some cases, other treatments like EMDR Therapy might be suggested to help you manage performance anxiety symptoms. Other lifestyle changes, such as yoga or mediation, can also be combined with psychiatric treatments as part of your state fright treatment plan.

Some people still need additional help to overcome their public speaking anxiety symptoms a

Schedule a Consultation at West End Consultation Groupnd help them perform optimally.  In these cases, your psychiatric specialist might recommend beta blockers, or other types of medication that help you feel more in control at the time of the performance. Our psychiatric professionals conduct a full assessment, including a review of current and past medications, to help you find the best option for your anxiety disorder. 

We take an empathetic and non-judgmental approach to performance anxiety treatment. Your initial appointment includes a comprehensive assessment for accurate diagnosis and precise treatment of your stage fright symptoms. Schedule an appointment at our St. Louis Park clinic today.

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