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Last reviewed: 17.10.2021

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Modern psychologists are increasingly confronted with cases of social isolation and virtualization of communication - for many reasons, the problems caused by disrupted social adaptation come to the fore. Many young people do not have sufficient skills of independence and direct contact with each other. Therefore, such social fear as Gelotophobia often manifests itself at a young age: this condition is determined by medicine, as pathological fear of looking ridiculous and causing laughter in others.

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Gelotophobia is always associated with other mental problems. Until now, specialists can not accurately determine the nosological affiliation of the disease.

Since the clinical symptoms of Gelotophobia can be found in healthy people and in mentally ill patients, it is almost impossible to indicate the percentage of persons suffering from this type of fear.

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Causes of the gelotophobia

It is generally accepted that the following risk factors most often lead to the development of Gelotophobia:

  • constant ridicule and "injection" in childhood;
  • hypertrophied "ego" feature of the human psyche;
  • complete lack of sense of humor and / or self-criticism.


Risk factors

If we consider the problem more deeply, then the main traumatic factors can be considered:

  • hard childhood (lack of parents, early "growing up", lack of understanding from relatives);
  • mental trauma in adolescence;
  • ridicule by parents or friends of external data, or mental abilities;
  • early physical maturation against a background of later social maturity;
  • strong pressure from close people or the public about the "discrepancy" of the child with family or social parameters and ideals;
  • hyperopeak and imposition of a sense of shame, as one of the measures of upbringing;
  • increased supervision of teachers and punishment for the slightest fault or even without it;
  • perfectionism;
  • long-term depression, generating insecurity and self-abasement.



In addition to the hereditary factor, gelotophobia can provoke a safety deficiency in childhood, or a negative influence of the environment. Lack of positive emotions, lack of emotional rest, lack of stability provokes fear, distrust, anxiety. In other words, the primary sense of fear unfolds the child's orientation from the world to his own personality.

As a result, there is fear of other people, fear of opening up and showing self-giving. A person has a tendency to self-isolation, to isolation.

Specialists have found that the immediate onset and dynamic development of Gelotophobia sooner or later lead to a state where the patient absolutely loses the ability to not take seriously even the most innocuous remarks and jokes addressed to him.

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Symptoms of the gelotophobia

Gelotophobia can occur as a single disease, or as part of a syndrome. The essence of this state is that a person is afraid that he will be laughed at, even if there is no reason to be ridiculed. The patient is sure that he really looks ridiculous - his concern in this regard is very noticeable.

Patients with Gelotophobia are excluded from the society, they try not to take part in social events. Any laughter from the side, or even a smile, can cause them panic fear. The first signs of such fear are muscle tone, a sensation of a coma in the throat, trembling in the hands, tachycardia and even stammering. Gelotofoby at a meeting avoid a direct look, trying to end the conversation quickly and leave.

The sense of humor in patients is either absent or peculiar. To hear laughter from them is either a great rarity, or vice versa. The fact is that many patients laugh too often and with a big share of "theatricality", releasing jokes only in relation to close people, and taking someone else's playful cues "with bayonets."

The sufferer of Gelotophobia often has such additional characteristic features as narcissism and introversion, perfectionism and fear of speaking in public.

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Currently, psychologists identify 4 stages of Gelotophobia.

The disease begins with the appearance of fear of suffering from other people's ridicule. After a certain amount of time there are periods of panic attacks: in this situation a person begins to fear not only ridicule, but also his own shame before the society in general.

The third stage is a psychosis with elements of persecution mania. This stage is already a consequence of the extensive defeat of the psyche. Gelotofob tries to protect himself, by all means avoiding the source of fear - society. At this stage, you can detect aggression from the patient, directed at any laughing or smiling person.

There are known types of Gelotophobia, which are associated with other mental illnesses. The cause of the appearance of a disorder in this case is considered psychosis. In this case, helotophobia can develop as a side symptom of another pathology.

Complications and consequences

The consequences of gelotophobia are manifested mainly in the fact that patients begin to react negatively even in cases of good-natured and sincere attitude toward them. Such people lose the opportunity to rejoice, their self-esteem falls - while innate wit almost always remains.

A person suffering from helotophobia can become isolated in himself, avoid any particular society, or society as a whole. Confidence in own inferiority, absurdity, "dissimilarity" pushes man away from the social world, narrows his circle of communication, provokes frequent depressions and mental suffering.

In the future, a patient with Gelotophobia may face problems with misunderstanding and even rejection by others.

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Diagnostics of the gelotophobia

The main way to diagnose gelotophobia is to conduct a personal interview between the doctor and the patient - this will help to fully reconstruct the picture of the disease.

The patient must be truthful before the doctor: it is very important to tell what feelings appear when meeting with other people, describe their physical and emotional state. To successfully get rid of the obsessional state it is desirable to establish the cause of the pathology. Therefore, the doctor should be aware of all the traumatic moments in the life of the patient, which could serve as an impetus to the development of Gelotophobia.

Specific methods of recognizing helotophobia are:

  • audio reproduction of laughter with an assessment of the patient's reaction;
  • a demonstration of photographs of laughing faces, as well as photointerpretation of mocking situations.

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Differential diagnosis

Differential diagnosis can be carried out with gelotophilia, delusional ideas, paranoid syndrome, paraphrenic syndrome, dysmorphophobia, dysmorphomania.

Who to contact?

Treatment of the gelotophobia

It is practically impossible to cure Gelotophobia independently. In most cases, the disease occurs with all kinds of anxiety, in combination with physical discomfort.

For a stable and reliable relief from gelotophobia, you should consult a qualified psychiatrist, as the main way to treat the disease is psychotherapy. Psychotherapeutic sessions will help to eliminate the anxiety and anxiety associated with improper interpretation of the laughter of others.

The doctor will be able to convince the patient that his fear has no basis. During treatment, the patient's wrong thoughts are corrected, and they are redirected to the right direction.

In certain especially neglected situations, the doctor may resort to medical treatment.

Medications are prescribed not as a primary treatment, but as a means of reducing the severity of the signs of the disease. Usually, a stable effect of medications is observed only if they are taken for a long time. You can not stop taking medication yourself, or make adjustments to their dosage and frequency of use - this can lead to the return of fear, and even to an increase in its intensity.

To treat gelotophobia, a doctor can prescribe such drugs:

  • beta-blockers;
  • antidepressants;
  • tranquilizers;
  • antipsychotics.

Dosing and Administration

Side effects

Special instructions


Take 50-100 mg once a day, for several months.

During treatment, there may be vomiting, loss of appetite, sleep disorders, tachycardia, pain in the muscles and joints.

Fluvoxamine is prescribed to children from the age of 8 years.


Take inside 0.2-0.4 g to 3 times a day.

Treatment may be accompanied by a digestive disorder, drowsiness.

There is a possibility of developing addiction to the drug.


The drug is taken orally, according to the individual scheme. Duration of admission is 3-9 months or more.

During treatment, there may be a headache, dizziness, extrapyramidal reactions, dyspepsia, lowering blood pressure.

Treatment with triftazinom must be strictly individual, depending on the course of the pathology.


A non-ticket is prescribed to improve the patient's well-being during phobic seizures, 1 tablet once a day.

Prolonged use of the drug may cause depression, impaired vision, heart failure, impotence.

A non-ticket is not used in children's practice.


Medicamentous treatment of gelotophobia may be incomplete if vitamins are not included in the therapeutic scheme. Often, their deficiency directly affects the psychoemotional state and stability of the nervous system.

  • B-group vitamins help a person cope with emotional overload, weaken nervous tension, lead to normal metabolic processes. It is especially important to take this vitamin group to those who smoke or regularly drink alcohol.
    • Vitamin B¹ calms the nervous system, relaxes muscles, has anticonvulsant activity. This substance in large quantities is present in pork, offal, buckwheat and oatmeal.
    • Vitamin B² prevents the occurrence of nervous headaches, insomnia, mood swings. It is quite a lot in dairy products, beans, greens and apricots.
    • Pyridoxine (B 6 ) serves to prevent the development of depression and stress. It can be obtained by regularly eating eggs, beans, nuts, fish, bananas, seeds.
    • Vitamin B¹² regulates daily adaptation of a person, prevents destructive processes in the nervous system. Deficiency of this substance can be compensated by eating chicken, by-products, egg yolk, seafood.
  • Vitamin E smooths the effects of stress on the nervous system, and also acts soothingly. It can be found in nuts, beans, eggs, sprouts of wheat.
  • Vitamin A eliminates unnecessary tension and improves sleep quality. You can get a vitamin from asparagus, nuts, plant foods, unrefined vegetable oils.
  • Ascorbic acid is involved in the production of hormones against stress. Vitamin C is abundant in kiwi, citrus, chili, berries.

Physiotherapeutic treatment

Physiotherapy can be used as a stabilizer of the psychoemotional status of patients, and an integrated approach will help to increase the effectiveness of other treatments and reduce the dosage of medications.

Stabilizing and soothing properties have such methods of physiotherapy:

  • therapeutic electrophoresis with bromides, seduxen;
  • electrosleep;
  • interference therapy (treatment with interference currents);
  • manual therapy, massage;
  • medical baths.

To exert a positive influence on the psyche of patients will be able to other procedures:

  • psycho-relaxation with audiovisualization;
  • drug electrophoresis with the use of psychostimulants;
  • impulse electric stimulation.

Toning effect can be obtained, thanks to such procedures as thalassotherapy, massage shower, coniferous aromatherapy, aerotherapy, pearl baths.

Alternative treatment

Of course, the most effective cure for Gelotophobia can be with the help of psychotherapy. However, a complex effect on pathology can accelerate and improve the positive result. Alternative methods will also help.

  • To get rid of the fear of ridicule, it is important that the body receives a sufficient amount of vitamins. Therefore, experts recommend eating up to 200 grams of carrots per day. You can replace it with 200 ml of fresh carrot juice.
  • A good effect is given by the tincture of rhizomes of zamaniha (1:10). Tincture is taken on 35 drops 3 times daily before meals.
  • Dried rhizome or a sheet of ginseng pour alcohol (1:10) and insist 2 weeks. Take 18-20 drops three times a day.
  • Insist for three hours in a cool place 1/3 cup of beet juice, then mix it with the same amount of honey and consume this volume throughout the day in three meals, half an hour before meals.
  • To eliminate nervousness and temper, drink fresh juice motherwort to 40 drops to 4 times a day, half an hour before meals.

Herbal Treatment

A significant soothing property is the usual mint - the same effect is provided by ethereal mint oils.

Valerian rhizome, hawthorn fruit reduce nervous excitability, but they are better perceived by the body in the form of alcoholic tinctures. Take such tinctures of 25 drops 4 times a day, until a sustainable therapeutic effect.

Leaves of lemon balm and thyme are used in dry form: they are brewed with a water bath and drink instead of tea. Usually take 1 tsp. Dry leaves in 200 ml of water.

Relax and improve sleep can, taking tincture of dill for 20-40 drops three times a day. In addition, dill works well when added to a bath or as an inhalation.

If there is no time to brew or insist the herbs, you can buy ready-mixed herbal preparations at the pharmacy. These include Afobazol, Persen, Novo-Passit, Tenoten, Donormil. These funds are convenient to take, and when you purchase it does not need a medical prescription.


Treatment of Gelotophobia with the help of homeopathy is not always accepted by traditional medicine. However, there are numerous cases of efficacy of these drugs. In order not to harm and maximally help the patient, medicines, including homeopathic action, should be prescribed by a doctor.

  • Nervocheel is a complex homeopathic remedy with calming, antidepressant and anticonvulsant properties. The drug stimulates the internal defense of the body and normalizes its functions. Standard take 1 tablet under the tongue, 1 hour after eating, three times a day. Duration of treatment - 1,5-2,5 months.
  • Valerianakeel is a complex drug that exerts a sedative and a slight spasmolytic effect. In phobias take 15 drops of the drug three times a day, previously dissolved in 100 ml of water. Duration of taking drops - at least 1 month.
  • Cerebrum compositum is a homeopathic remedy that reduces mental tension, eliminates irritability, neurotic reactions, anxiety. The drug is administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously, 1-3 times a week for 2.2 ml (1 ampoule), for 3-6 weeks.
  • Knott is a drug that eliminates anxiety, fear, which stabilizes the work of the nervous system. Nott take 10 drops, diluted in 1 tbsp. L. Water, three times a day, 1 hour after eating. The course of therapy - from 1 to 4 months.


Gelotophobia and the prerequisites for the disease develop in early childhood. Therefore, prevention must be dealt with, first of all, by parents whose task is to treat their own children more attentively.

You can not mock the failures or external data of children: this behavior leaves an irreparable trace in their soul. The child seeks support first of all in his parents - that's why it's very important not to push the baby away, but constantly to prove to him that he is loved and will never be betrayed.

If a child shares his thoughts or fears with his parents, he should be listened to, but not ridiculed: do not let his fears win.

If possible, you need to protect the whole family and children from negative emotions, aggressive computer games, watching thrillers and criminal programs.

It is important that the child eat a quality and varied. Regular active recreation with the whole family is encouraged.



The prognosis regarding the life of patients is relatively favorable. Complete recovery of a person from gelotophobia is not observed so often. However, timely seeking medical help, correctly diagnosed and prescribing adequate therapy can significantly improve the condition of patients, weaken or eliminate painful symptoms.

Gelotophobia without proper treatment acquires a chronic, resistant to therapy, current.


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