Meta: Fears and phobias are common. But they should not keep you from getting proper medical help. Read on to find how you can win over your fears.
Do you fear visiting the doctor? Does the sight of blood or injuries overwhelm you? You are not alone. In fact, many people do not love paying visits to the doctor’s office. These fears and phobias may not cause an immediate harm to your health. Nevertheless, in the long run, avoiding doctor visits can be hazardous. Learn more about the measures to overcome the fear and participate actively in your treatment plan.
Doctor Anxiety: Fears and Phobias That Are Not Rational
No doubt, it is frightening to imagine a doctor piercing your vein with a sharp needle. In this case, the perceived feelings of harm may be natural. But the big question is, would you not take the medicine just to avoid the fear? This is where the fears and phobias differ from a type of anxiety problem called doctor anxiety.
In fact, a small percentage of patients may be too much afraid of the doctor and medical procedures that they may run away from a medical consultation.
From the psychological viewpoint, fear arises when the mind takes some people, conditions or events as a threat to one’s health, security, or even identity. The same applies in the case of doctor anxiety as well.
There are at least two possible ways the mind can connect with the hospitals and doctors. First, it can think them as a savior and provider of relief. Next, as a source of pain, blood injuries, and sickness. Both the perceptions are partially right. But the real problem stems from the fact that in many people, the negative perceptions trump the positive ones.
You should understand that these fears and phobias do not have much relevance when it comes to getting emergency help. However, in the case of preventive approaches, they may increase the risk of many diseases. For example, routine doctor visits and blood glucose tests are essential if you are a diabetic. Such healthy practice helps to keep the blood glucose in check while reducing the risk of complications. But what would you do if the fear of the injections overrides the fear of complications?
What Are Common Fears And Phobias?
Depending on a person’s psychology, past experience, and emotional support system in the family, common fears may include those of:
- Does the memory of sharp needles raise your heartbeat every time you see a doctor? In fact, the fear seems reasonable, as you do not want to harm yourself. In some cases, it can be so overwhelming that the patients end up losing their consciousness. The needles may also be used to draw blood for a test. For this reason, the fear of injections presents a serious public health issue.
- Getting a life-threatening diagnosis. Are you afraid what you will do if the test gives a positive HIV result? In this case, you may run away from the test because you cannot accept what the test brings.
- Blood injuries. The sight of blood injuries or fresh blood can initiate a number of physical as well as psychological symptoms in some patients. For example, excessive sweating, shakiness, and even fainting.
- Exposure to an uncomfortable situation. For example, mammography could cause problems for some women. Similarly, tests that involve private parts such as colonoscopy and prostate biopsy are more than just uncomfortable. Essentially, it also depends on the socio-cultural background of the patients.
How to Beat the Fears and Phobias
Unfortunately, you cannot expect to overcome your fears with just a single attempt. But when you practice the following measures on a regular basis, they can provide relief.
- Identify the triggers. “Know what overwhelms you”. At times, people do not exactly know what is making them anxious. Therefore, the first step is to gain insight of the triggers, their frequency, and pattern. If you have a traumatic childhood experience that might be causing problems currently, seek help from a psychologist. Then, you can move to the next step.
- Do not anticipate. Face the fears rationally. Keep in mind that your fear will only grow if you run away. For example, if you are going for a cancer test, plan what you will do if the test is positive. Remember what would have happened if the cancer was growing insidiously. When you think rationally, everything starts to make sense.
- Seek help. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it the most. Ask someone you love to join you in the visit. Moreover, you may seek professional help. Talk to your doctor about the fears and phobias. Then, ask if there is any coping strategy that can help. Sedatives that calm down the nerves may provide relief if you fear injections.
- CBT may help. CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you different coping techniques to change your thinking about a potential trigger. As a result, you become stronger to face the problems.
- Consider trying exposure therapy. This treatment approach may be used if the fears are not very intense. In this therapy, you will be exposed to the triggers in a controlled and supportive environment. With every new exposure session, the fears will step down the hierarchy and finally become insignificant.
- Think of changing the doctor. This is one of the few last things you can do to overcome the fears and phobias. But this may not always successful considering the fear may originate from factors other than the doctor.
Want To Know More?
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