Fear of doctors, or “iatrophobia”, is a common phobia. Even if you do not have a full-blown case of clinical iatrophobia, many of us suffer from anxiety about going to the doctor. This anxiety is not surprising if you consider the reasons.
There are many reasons that people feel anxiety when they need to go to the doctor, such as being afraid of receiving bad news about their health, the bill that they will get, or even a bad experience with another doctor in the past.
Whatever the reason that you are afraid of, you are not alone, and hopefully, exploring ideas in this article will help alleviate your anxiety about your next doctor’s visit.
Negative Effects of Iatrophobia
Unfortunately, fear of going to the doctor can result in adverse outcomes. Stress, in general, is harmful to physical and mental health. Also, fear of going to the doctor can lead people to put off, or even avoid making appointments which may be essential for helping treat their illnesses. Many diseases, including cancer and heart disease, worsen over time to the point where they become untreatable and terminal. Identifying and treating these conditions early is vital and putting off a doctor’s appointment can be fatal.
Coping with Anxiety
Anxiety can be a crippling condition at the best of times; if you suffer from anxiety then picking up the phone to make an appointment, and leaving the house to get to the appointment can be a great source of distress for many people.
Your anxiety can be eased with mindfulness techniques. A popular mindfulness exercise is to sit or lie down somewhere comfortable, close your eyes, and breathe slowly in and out while keeping your attention focuses on your breath. Focusing this attention on the breath can remind you of the present, rather than letting your mind get lost in future predictions. Mindfulness also has a range of other health benefits.
If you find yourself continually touching things, then consider getting a beaded bracelet or spinner ring as something you can focus your desire to fidget without it being obvious.
It can be particularly helpful to do these exercises while in the waiting room of the doctors’ surgery, as waiting rooms are common locations to experience anxiety.
Avoid Googling Symptoms
Although the internet is a fantastically useful resource and can be used to find information about various medical conditions, this is a double-edged sword. Deciding to use the internet instead of a doctor to search for the diagnosis of your potential condition can actually increase anxiety!
This is primarily because many common symptoms of minor maladies are also symptoms of much more dangerous and life-threatening diseases. Using Google to search for the potential causes of a mild pain may lead you to convince yourself you are suffering from something much worse than you are actually suffering from, which is not good for the stress levels!
Don’t Go Alone
Having a friend, family member, or other loved one with us can calm us down in most situations and going to the doctor is no different. Do not feel embarrassed about asking someone that you trust to accompany you to the doctor – if they care about you, they will most likely be happy to help!
It is important to remember that your doctor is there to help you! Avoiding going to the doctor will not reduce anxieties about your health and going to the doctor and being honest with them will build trust for the future. Each time that you go to the doctor, it usually gets more manageable, and anxiety will be lessened because you trust your doctor! Even if you do not have specific symptoms, you are worried about, planning an annual wellness visit to the doctor can be beneficial.
Once you are speaking to the doctor, you should always be honest about any symptoms you may have, and your anxieties. Doctors are trained to help you rather than judge you, and they see so many health conditions that yours is unlikely to shock them!
However, in the unlikely event that your doctor is unhelpful, or you do not feel like you trust them in any way, you should change to a new doctor. This will most likely solve any issues you may have with any specific practitioner.
Whatever you do, it is highly essential to go to the doctor any time you are concerned about your health. Using these tips to help you get over the short-term fear will significantly benefit your health and reduce your anxiety in the long run!