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How To Overcome Your Fear Of Doctors

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Published on May 9th, 2019

If you have a fear of doctors who roam the earth in white coats, you’re not alone. Sometimes the thought of a visit to a clinic is more traumatic than the pain.

Nowadays there’s a name for all types of phobias. Whether it’s agoraphobia, arachnophobia, or iatrophobia, they all classified as legitimate medical concerns.

Iatrophobia is classified as a fear of the doctor. This fear is based on experiencing irrational anxiety surrounding a visit to your local GP.

What brings on this fear of doctors? A myriad of reasons that could be triggered for the simplest reasons. Learn more about iatrophobia and how to manage this fear in this blog…

 

Understanding Iatrophobia: A Fear Of Doctors

Misdiagnosis

Fear of the doctor could originate from a negative past experience. It could also stem from a fear of hearing bad news, a fear of needles, the sight of blood or even harsh lighting and the iconic white doctor’s coat.

It could also stem from claustrophobia – waiting in a small, cramped waiting room or, the thought of being in pain, visiting the dentist and more.

Now, this may sound silly to many people, but a phobia is a legitimate mental health concern and one that requires professional therapy in order to manage.

But how do you know if you have a legitimate fear of the doctor or just a bit of anxiety?

 

Is It Fear Or Anxiety?

While it’s generally not uncommon to experience a touch of anxiety before visiting the doctor or dentist, full-blown, irrational fear is a different story.

 

Here Are A Few Common Ways To Tell The Difference…

  • You’re prone to canceling doctor’s appointments and rescheduling them to avoid dealing with your phobia
  • You have a bad habit of avoiding preventative care measures, necessary vaccinations and important check-ups, just to avoid the doctor
  • You choose to self-treat your illness in order to avoid seeing the doctor, even when you know you should
  • Prior to a doctor’s appointment, you struggle to concentrate, lose sleep, lose your appetite or cry at the thought
  • If you have a fear of the dentist, hospitals, or types of illnesses this could also extend to fear surrounding doctor’s visits

This being said, all is not lost. There are plenty of practical ways to manage iatrophobia.

 

How To Manage A Fear Of Doctors

Consult the doctor

If you have a legitimate fear surrounding doctor’s visits, it may be time to ask yourself where this fear is stemming from.

Are you fearful of a particular procedure? It is the sight of blood or other body fluids that’s causing this phobia? Perhaps it’s the size of the doctor’s rooms or the doctor themselves?

First thing’s first, you’ll need to face your fear and be upfront and honest about it. This removes the likelihood of additional anxiety building up during your doctor’s visit.

Call your doctor’s office and let the receptionist and doctor know you are dealing with this phobia so that they are fully prepared before your visit.

Secondly, find support. Take a loved one or friend along with you to your appointment as a source of rationality and calmness.

If preparation helps you to manage your fear, ask the doctor what to expect during the appointment so you can mentally prepare yourself. So be shy to ask about what tests and procedures they’ll be conducting.

If your doctor doesn’t seem to take your phobia seriously, then it may be to find a new doctor. Look for a professional with compassion, someone whose personality and outlook you can identify with. This will help you feel all-the-more comfortable during each appointment.

Finally, if you’re not exactly sure where your phobia stems from, find yourself a therapist. They can offer objective insight and help you to understand your fear better so that it can be managed better.

 

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