Gelotophobia is a specific phobia associated with the possibility of being laughed at, teased, or ridiculed. In a simple way, people with this syndrome will feel extremely afraid of being laughed at and they always tend to withdraw from society.
What is the fear of being laughed at – Gelotophobia?
Laughter is considered as one of the precious medicines that gives people good mental health, helping us to easily face and overcome negative emotions. However, there are people who are extremely scared when they hear laughter, they are always worried about being laughed at by others, also known as the fear of being laughed at – Gelotophobia (Greek language, Gelo means laugh, Phobos means fear).
Gelotophobia is a type of phobia related to the ability to be ridiculed or teased. In other words, people with this syndrome will always feel phobias and fear of ridicule and ridicule. For example, when standing in the middle of a group of friends laughing and having fun together, normal people will feel very happy when they laugh together. However, for people with Gelotophobia (fear of being laughed at) it is a nightmare for them. They felt that the laughter was mocking them.
People with the fear of being laughed at will always have anxiety, they may apply paranoid behaviors or have no trust in any objects around, constantly feel afraid. afraid, insecure because they think others are talking bad or laughing at them. According to the Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), Gelotophobia is classified as another type of phobia because it does not correspond to any specific phobia (animal phobia, natural or environmental situation phobia, situational phobia).
A human behavior expert at Madrid’s Autonomous University, Victor Rubio, along with 93 other researchers conducted a multinational study of laughter. He wanted to learn about the difference between shyness and fear of being laughed at. At the same time, he also wants to measure the level of fear of laughter in many different countries and cultures.
The researchers interviewed more than 220,000 people using questionnaires in different languages (42 languages). The results were also published in the scientific publication Humor and found that some people shared that they felt insecure in certain social situations, but they always tried to hide their feelings. there. Another group reported that they deliberately avoided social situations in which they had previously been laughed at.
Accordingly, people also talk about the disparity of each thread, which themselves are the target of ridicule. Experts say that the fear of being laughed at is a very normal feeling that most people have experienced. However, through the study they found that there are differences in the level of each country. For example, people in Tufkmenistan and Cambodia tended to hide their feelings of insecurity, but people in Egypt, Iraq or Jordan felt they were the first victims and they were always looking for ways to avoid those situations. similar situation.
Fear of being laughed at – What is the cause?
Experts say that the cause of the fear of being laughed at will be somewhat different in each case. However, they found that this fear is mostly related to one or more events and situations that have had a serious impact on values, honor, and psychology. This can lead them to think about situations of being teased, bullied, or harassed.
Besides, the root cause of Gelotophobia is also likely to stem from low self-esteem, anxiety, fear and insecurity before many social situations. Moreover, it is also likely to arise as a result of mental disorders, especially depression, anxiety disorders.
Signs to identify people with Gelotophobia – fear of being laughed at
According to experts, the symptoms of Gelotophobia will correspond to the telltale signs of a specific phobia that the object here is laughter. Specifically, a few common symptoms in people who have a fear of being laughed at are:
1. Always afraid of being teased
People with Gelotophobia always have an excessive and persistent fear of others making fun of them. Not only that, only when they hear the laughter of a certain person or group of people, they may immediately appear to have extreme thoughts, thinking that they are mocking and defaming themselves. They will always be in a state of fear of being teased by others, even if they don’t do anything or even don’t know the people who are laughing with each other.
2. Tends to avoid society
It is also because of the great fear of the laughter of people around that Gelotophobia will always tend to want to avoid social situations. They often isolate themselves, are afraid to communicate and participate in conversations, face-to-face conversations with people around them. Accordingly, people who have a fear of being laughed at will withdraw into their own world. They can go to books, play sports or do anything personal.
For them, working in an overcrowded environment is also a huge challenge and obstacle. They couldn’t seem to get over the laughter. They always feel self-conscious and inferior about themselves. Sometimes they will also try to make friends, looking for relationships but it is difficult to last or sometimes ends without starting.
3. Persistence of fear
Like other phobias, the Gelotophobia’s fear of being laughed at is extremely persistent. That is, it will appear continuously and maintain for a long time. Fear can arise even when the patient is not thinking about situations where they might be laughed at or hearing the laughter of a group of friends having a good chat. Experts say that the symptoms of Gelotophobia, if they persist for at least 6 months, can be diagnosed.
4. Change in working performance
People with Gelotophobia syndrome will be prone to changes in work performance, daily activities will be somewhat altered. They will face more obstacles, difficulties in daily activities, even the very simple things they normally do can become disturbed due to the overwhelming fear. These changes may be related to work, study, personal life, etc.
5. Inability to show humor
Due to the fear of laughter and anxiety about being laughed at by others, people with Gelotophobia often tend to evaluate humor in a paranoid way. It is almost impossible for the sick person to be amusing and humorous with anyone else, including himself. They have a very strict judgment of their bodies and their ability to communicate verbally or non-verbally is consistently rated below average.
6. Other symptoms
Due to always trying to avoid social situations, it seems that people with Gelotophobia will gradually degenerate in social skills. At the same time, they will also have more traumatic symptoms such as constantly feeling headache, nervousness, dizziness, dizziness, speech disorders, etc. When faced with laughter they often become anxious. fear, stress, loss of control, or even aggressive behavior or excessive agitation. In some cases, the patient can become frozen when he hears someone laughing.
The incalculable influence of Gelotophobia
Gelotophobia syndrome – fear of being laughed at causes a lot of trouble to people’s daily life. As shared, because they are always worried for fear of others laughing and teasing, patients always tend to avoid social situations, withdraw and create their own safe world. This makes them lonely and extremely sad. It can be seen that people with Gelotophobia do not seem to have many relationships or even any friends because they cannot enjoy the happiness of laughter.
People with Gelotophobia will always be obsessed with laughter, situations where they are likely to become the target of laughter. This mentality can lead to social phobias and social exclusion. In fact, many people have chosen to withdraw from society, they no longer participate in community activities. As a result, their quality of life will also be severely reduced
The existence of fear of laughter makes them gradually become disgusted with life, always feeling wary and insecure. This condition, if not detected and corrected well, can cause many psychological problems, high complaints will increase the risk of developing a depressive disorder. In the most severe and worst cases, Gelotophobia can also cause negative thoughts, suicidal thoughts.
How to diagnose a fear of being laughed at?
Currently, a diagnosis of Gelotophobia will be based on the characteristics listed in ICD-10, including socially avoidant behaviors and a lack of humorous interaction. , fun. Usually, this syndrome will be assessed through specific questions. Patients will be given corresponding questions and answers based on figurative tools such as funny cartoons containing laughter.
Subjects will use these images to make estimates for what preceded the situation and what an observer might perceive. The diagnosis of Gelotophobia also means identifying the specific cause of the fear. To clarify the reason for the fear, the patient can have a face-to-face conversation with a doctor or psychologist.
Treatment of Gelotophobia – fear of being laughed at
Similar to other phobias, the fear of being laughed at – Gelotophobia will be prioritized for treatment through 2 main methods: psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. As follows:
In order to control the fear of being laughed at, psychotherapy plays a very important role in the treatment process. Psychologists will conduct a live chat with the patient so that they can delve more deeply into their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Thanks to his specialized techniques, the therapist can gradually delve deeper into the patient’s subconscious and clarify the cause of the irrational fear of laughter.
At the same time, the patient will also ask questions about situations that cause anxiety or fear. The therapist will educate the patient on a new ability to assess behavior and emotions so that they can more easily cope with difficult, hindering situations. However, in order for this method to achieve the expected success, it requires the patient to have high trust in the therapist to be willing to share and respond well to the applied therapies.
Although the conditions that suffer from the fear of being laughed at – Gelotophobia do not require the use of drugs to treat. However, there are also a few serious cases, the fear that affects health and quality of life needs to be controlled by some types of antidepressants, anxiolytics, beta blockers. While these drugs cannot eliminate the cause of the fear, they can reduce anxiety, negative emotions, and limit dangerous, aggressive behaviors.
In addition, these drugs have a high risk of causing unwanted side effects, so their use needs to be monitored by a specialist or doctor. Patients are usually only used drugs for a short time with low doses to avoid addiction. If you have any unusual symptoms during use, you should immediately notify a specialist for instructions on how to handle them promptly.
3. Positive lifestyle changes
In addition to good application of specialized treatment measures, people suffering from Gelotophobia – fear of being laughed at also need to pay attention to improve and change their lifestyle to gradually integrate better with society. In addition, you should also “pocket” a few relaxation tips, control emotions to be able to cope well with your fears. Some helpful suggestions for you:
- Learn relaxation techniques to be able to cope well with feelings of anxiety, insecurity, and fear in the face of laughter. You can learn to breathe deeply, walk, exercise, listen to music, read a book to distract yourself, or the best way is to leave the place where laughter is making you uncomfortable. , frustrated.
- Regular exercise is not only a way to help you improve your physical health, but also a great support for your spirit and effective emotional control. If you constantly feel anxious, afraid, then maintain a habit of exercise, walking, jogging, yoga, meditation, swimming to get a good spirit, easily overcome your fears. scared.
- A healthy diet also contributes greatly to improving health and combating fears. When you have a good and stable health, you can face difficulties and obstacles in life.
- Paying attention to improving the quality of your sleep is also one of the essentials for improving overall health. Having a good sleep means having a healthy body, a refreshed mind, and full of positive energy.
- Find yourself new hobbies to make life fun, while improving your quality of life and limiting the effects of Gelotophobia.
Gelotophobia, fear of being laughed at, can be treated well if done early and with the right improvement measures. Hopefully through the information of this article, readers will understand more about the fear of laughter of many people and know how to better support and help them.