Doctor’s Office Anxiety – Do You Have a Fear of Doctors?

Doctor’s Office Anxiety – Do You Have a Fear of Doctors?

Have you ever delayed seeing your doctor out of fear or anxiety? Do you get anxious just thinking about the doctor’s office? If so, you’re not alone. It’s pretty common to experience anxiety over visiting the doctor. There’s even an official medical term for it – iatrophobia – the fear of doctors or medical tests.

What is Iatrophobia?

Although many people feel some sort of anxiety or fear before going to the doctor, it’s estimated that only three percent of the population actually suffers from iatrophobia. One survey found that one in three Americans avoid visiting their doctor, even when they think they need medical care.

Iatrophobia is an extreme and overwhelming fear that can affect anyone, regardless of background, age, or gender. A medical doctor, licensed psychiatrist, or clinical counselor must provide the diagnosis, which may be why statistics don’t match up.

Symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Extreme feelings of dread or terror
  • Nausea
  • Profuse sweating (hyperhidrosis)
  • Rapid breathing and heart rate or heart palpitations (racing heart that may skip beats)
  • Shaking or trembling

What Causes Iatrophobia?

There can be several reasons for the onset of iatrophobia. Individuals who suffer from anxiety disorder are at risk of iatrophobia. Those with chronic conditions or life-threatening illnesses may be more apt to experience fear of doctors or medical treatment.

People with iatrophobia typically have fears that include:

  • Abnormal lab result or unwelcome diagnosis
  • Procedures that involve needles or pain
  • Difficulty communicating with a doctor due to a language barrier
  • The doctor brushing off your concerns
  • Criticism of your weight or other habits
  • A repeat bad experience

How to Overcome and Manage Iatrophobia

Overcoming the fear of doctors can be challenging. You must first acknowledge your feelings and not ignore your emotions or fears. It’s okay to feel the way you do. But if you are canceling or delaying visiting the doctor out of fear, you must take steps to overcome your fear so you can receive the care you need for Better Health. For severe iatrophobia, a therapist can work with you to overcome your fear. Cognitive behavioral therapy and anti-anxiety medications are popular methods in treating phobias like fear of doctors.

Senior woman listening to music to relax.

Other strategies you can try on your own include:

Schedule Your Visit on Your Time

Instead of letting the doctor’s office select your appointment time, you pick a day and a time that works best for you. Pick a time during the day when you are the least rushed and stressed. If you tend to get worked up as the day goes on, book an early morning appointment to get it out of the way.

Bring a Family Member or Friend

Having someone with you as you sit and wait to get called back can be a great distraction. They can help keep you calm and be another set of ears if you’re prone to missing or forgetting things the doctor tells you.

Be Prepared

If you know exactly what will happen during your visit, you can mentally prepare for it. Ask the clinic what you should expect at your visit. Write down any notes or questions you have prior to your appointment. This way, you won’t stress about forgetting something.

Making Going to the Doctor a Habit

The more times you visit your doctor, the easier it will get. You will begin to develop a relationship with your doctor and care team, who will work with you to make you feel comfortable.

Try to Relax

Easier said than done, we know. But try doing something that calms you leading up to your appointment and as you wait in the waiting room. Listen to music or practice breathing techniques.

Beat Your Fear and Schedule Your Appointment Today

It’s important to visit your doctor regularly. This helps to prevent and detect any conditions that should arise. Routine care can also possibly help lower your healthcare costs, which is another reason people avoid the doctor.

Don’t let your fear of doctors stand in your way of Better Health. Schedule an appointment with a VIPcare provider today! Your VIPcare provider will help to ease your fears and concerns, helping to make you comfortable and healthy.

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