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Stage Fright: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Another name for Stage Fright is Performance Anxiety.

How is the treatment done?

Performance Anxiety or Stage fright is a condition that plagues many, even those who are formidable, professionally. It can affect any person from any profession, (teachers, pilots, surgeons, entrepreneurs) or even those, whose jobs entail performance, like actors and musicians. Amygdala is a mass of grey matter which remains present in each cerebral hemisphere of the brain. In some, the amygdala triggers an overt production of adrenaline when faced by an audience, resulting in increased blood pressure, pounding of the heart, dry mouth and often gastrointestinal disorders. The sufferer finds himself in a fight or flight situation, and most of the time either the latter option is chosen or the person makes a blunder, which aggravates the situation as the person feels more crippled, emotionally.

There are no medicines to treat stage fright as such. Even if there are, a person should focus on self-counseling rather than the intake of medicines. Performance Anxiety is very much intertwined with a person’s ego. It is an outcome of one’s fear of failing to prove himself/herself in front of a crowd. Once we accept the fact that we are fallible creatures and wrap our heads around the saying, to err is human, we would be less fearful of making mistakes. In other words we have to be confident and face our fears.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

One might say that it is easier said than done, and in fact it is, especially for a person who suffers from acute stage fright. But there are solutions for every problem. One can start with taking parts in small-scale debates and discussions or recitals, depending on his/her profession. This gives the subject enough room to prepare himself/herself even if it is among close friends and family members. For a student, who is otherwise bright, but always shying away from classroom interaction, talking in front of the mirror shall ease up the nerves before a performance.

Practice is of utmost importance and any performance preceded by dedicated practice is likely to bring better results. On the day of the performance a low-fat and carbohydrate-rich diet is advisable. The performer should also stay away from caffeine, alcohol and excessive sugar. Meditation, yoga or breathing exercises before a performance will calm the nerves and will help the performer to focus better on his/her presentation. Some people with debilitating stage fright are compelled to take beta-blockers; however, if the problem is not so severe one can always follow these guidelines to get a better grip on the situation.

Accept the fact that you are not perfect, and thereby, prone to making mistakes. Consider your audience as close friends, smile at them and make an eye-contact to gain their confidence. Be natural and be comfortable in your skin. Do not let any thought deter you from achieving your best and think only of the positive effect that your performance is going to have on the audience.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Anybody who suffers from performance anxiety is free to go ahead with the treatment. One’s inability to face a crowd is just a state of mind and with some grooming and self-motivational regimes one can overcome the fear.

Are there any side effects?

A person who is confident enough to face a crowd without any anxiety or nervousness hitting him/her does not need any counseling. However, he/she can definitely take an initiative to motivate others who have stage fright.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

Self-counseling and meditative methods can prove to be very effective when it comes to fighting off performance anxiety. There are no side effects of such measures. However, one who depends on anxiety-repelling medicines too much can face long-term side effects like drowsiness, imbalance, poor concentration and slurred speech.

How long does it take to recover?

A person suffering from performance anxiety should continue following the golden rules of self-motivation till he/she gains enough confidence, so much so that there comes one point when nothing stops him/her from facing the crowd. Stage fright is such a condition where pushing the self is the most feasible treatment available.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

With time and enough perseverance one is likely get over his/her fears. It is not a phobia that is unconquerable. Recovery time can differ from person to person. For one it might take 5 sitting to leverage enough confidence, for another it might take 10.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Performance Anxiety treatment is basically based on self-help programs and could be performed out of one’s own volition, cost-free. However, anti-anxiety medicines can cost anywhere between Rs 500-Rs 3000. For those who need psychological assistance, the cost of one session is at least Rs 600, which is again subject to change depending on the psychologist’s remuneration.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

A person with performance anxiety will enjoy permanent results with enough perseverance and self-boosting therapy.

Popular Questions & Answers

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The most effective solution for dealing with anxiety for me personally was waking up early. I am not a morning person but once I tried this, I was surprised how good this made me feel. It helped me find peace and calm myself down. Having so much t...

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Your medication seems to be fine but by going off of the medication on your own you may have disrupted the progress or its stabilizing effect. If you give yourself time, it may return to normal effectiveness. Even so I suggest that you do some cou...
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I have a very bad mood with anxiety and fatigue since 10 years. My doctor prescribed separately zoloft 100 mg, venlafaxine 300 mg, paroxetine 20 mg, fluoxetine 40 mg, escitalopram 20 mg, brintelix 20 mg, valdoxan. Always with some axillary such as depakine 500 mg, amisulpride 50 mg, sifrol 0.18 mg, tofranil 25 mg, anafranil 10 mg. I also tried modafinil 200 mg. There was not any improvement. Blood test is perfect. Vitamin d is ok. Could you give me some advices or a some drugs to try? Thanks a lot.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Master of Science in Applied Psychology, Master of NLP, Doctor of Medicine (MD) in Alternative Medicine, Post Graduate Diploma in Early Intervention
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Taking long list of traditional medicines for anxiety and fatigue at this age is not recommended. You have already tried much of it. If you really reverse back then kindly look after for natural remedies. Consult a good psychologist or psychothera...

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