Call: 0203 326 9160

Call: 0203 761 7026

Call: 0203 761 7027

0203 326 9160

0203 761 7026

0203 761 7027

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin

Feeling apprehensive before a performance, be it sporting, acting or public speaking is perfectly normal and something most, if not all of us, can relate to.

Performance anxiety, to a degree, is a very useful set of emotions in fact; triggering a ‘fight or flight’ response that prepares the body for the danger it perceives, making us more alert and ready to respond.

The anxiety becomes a problem when your career rests on those performances or when it begins to seriously impact on your quality of life.

Performance anxiety is common

Amazingly, 84% of American actors confessed to suffering from performance anxiety1 and when you look at the pressures many performers are under it is no wonder.

Professional performers dedicate their lives to their passion, spending long days rehearsing and honing their skills. They may feel under extreme pressure to excel by the public, their sponsors or themselves.

Clinical Partners have a team of experienced clinicians who can successfully assess and treat Performance Anxiety. To speak to someone about how we can help please call 0203 326 9160.

What causes performance anxiety?

A part of the brain called the amygdala is responsible for our fear function. It triggers a set of chemical reactions that results in adrenaline being released. It is this adrenaline that sets our heart rate soaring and gives us the dry mouth so common with performance anxiety and stage fright.

What is interesting is that performers can suffer with no symptoms and then seemingly, for no reason, begin to feel extremely nervous before a performance, which can have a serious impact on their ability to perform. Often performance anxiety is started by one, relatively small, bad experience which the brain then ‘learns’ to be fearful of. A pattern of negative associations is formed which is incredibly hard to conquer.

The common performance anxiety symptoms are:

  • Dreading the performance, worrying endlessly about it
  • Becoming numbed, distant and withdrawn
  • Trembling hands and voice
  • Sweating
  • Feeling sick or having stomach cramps
  • A racing pulse and pounding heart
  • Tightness in the throat which can hinder talking
  • A dry mouth

Perhaps because it is so normal to feel anxious before a performance, people with performance anxiety often do not seek help. They may feel embarrassed and that they should be able to cope. If their career is based around performing they may not want to make others aware of their condition for fear of public scrutiny or appearing ‘weak’ in front of others.

What can be done to help performance anxiety?

Talking therapies:

For some people techniques such as pre-performance rituals, deep breathing and imagining their performance in a positive light can all be really helpful in overcoming nerves. For other people with severe performance anxiety, talking therapies and medication might be needed.

CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), psychotherapy and counselling can all be really useful in understanding the root causes for the anxiety and fear. This can help give long term relief from the performance anxiety symptoms. Talking therapies can also help teach coping mechanisms as a way of handling the emotions when they arise. Click here to read more about talking therapies for anxiety.


Some people benefit from medications that help inhibit the impact of the adrenaline that is triggered, although others report that the medications affect the quality of their performance, turning them into ‘zombies’. For some professionals taking medications is considered cheating and therefore not an option they are willing to take. As medication only really controls the physical symptoms of performance anxiety, the sufferer is still left with the emotions of fear and dread.

It is really important to get a full and thorough assessment from a qualified clinician before taking any medications as there can be severe health implications for certain medications used. Click here to read more about medications used for anxiety.

Clinical Partners are able to find you the best clinician to work with to help overcome your performance anxiety.

Clinical Partners offers completely confidential performance anxiety therapy, help and advice.

We have a nationwide team of over 160 clinicians, many of whom have years of experience helping people overcome anxiety disorders. Appointments can often be made within a few days and you do not need a GP referral.

If you would like to talk, free of charge, about booking a private assessment for Performance Anxiety please call 0203 326 9160.

1 Solovitch, S Anatomy of stage fright Prospect Magazine June 2015

Contact us now to see how we can help

You don't need a GP referral to see one of our experts.

Call our clinical team for advice
0203 326 9160 0203 761 7026 0203 761 7027

  • Many thanks for this and all your work in helping us get here far more swiftly than we have managed with the NHS. It is much appreciated, and you and Dr Chowdhury have helped greatly in relieving the stress we have been feeling by getting us to a place where we know what is going on, and what we need to do for our son.

  • I would recommend Clinical Partners to anyone who has been struggling with getting a diagnosis, it can totally transform your lives as it has ours.

  • I was fed up with life when I contacted Katie at Clinical Partners, her response to my call and the support thereafter kept me alive.

  • Dr Alison was very caring and approachable. Your approach and response to my call will be remembered for a very long time.

  • Just saw J. He wanted me to tell you how much he appreciated the way you spoke to him on the phone Caroline. He said you made him feel human again when he felt quite suicidal. He was really pleased he was seen so quickly.

  • We met with the doctor today, he was great, we felt at ease with him, he was very professional in his approach and obviously knew what he was doing! Thank you for your help in arranging such a quick appointment.

  • SO grateful to Clinical Partners - well Simon - for the confirmation of NOT having Cyclothymia. Am attempting now to stabilise and get well - something I was told would not happen when diagnosed with Cyclothymia (for life!).

  • I would like to thank the Clinical Partners staff for asking about us. I like to let you know that M's physical and psychological health is great. With my best regards and respect.

  • You have been fantastic at helping T see the help he can get and I am so grateful. Again thank you so much, I really do appreciate the efforts you have put in.

  • Thank you for setting us (and me in particular) off down the road. I will always be grateful to you, and I do feel that you spent a lot of time on my case without much reward.

Call us for help today
Call us for help today