Thousands of people around the world chose to skip their yearly visit to the doctor. Most often, missing out on these crucial appointments stems from people having an innate fear of stepping into a doctors office. This has caused some individuals to avoid visiting a doctor for decades, and that is an unhealthy habit. For many, the anxiety comes in the form of not wanting to learn that they are sick. The medical terminology for a fear of doctors is iatrophobia and anxiety specialists have been studying it for quite some time now. Here are some tips from the experts on how to overcome your fear.
Worst Case Scenarios
Most of the fear for patients comes from not knowing if they have an illness or not. There are hundreds of cases, where someone refuses to seek medical help for x amount of years and end up being diagnosed with an illness too late. Many people with iatrophobia believe that not knowing their medical condition is better than being diagnosed. When a patient can get eliminate the anxiety that they are ridden with some other illness, they can begin to appreciate the importance of regular doctor visits.
If you suffer from iatrophobia, in a controlled way (not needing therapeutic support) one of the best ways to face your fears is by finding distractions. Most medical facilities are experienced when it comes to patients fearing them. If you are able to call in advance of your appointment, many offices accommodate by immediately taking you to a room. This cuts out waiting room time, when the anxiety and fear is most heightened. For those unable to make such arrangements, find a distraction that will keep you occupied while you wait. Phones and tablets can stream your favorite movies and tv shows, while you wait for your name to be called.
For extreme situations, therapy sessions become beneficial to overcoming iatophobia. In such sessions, the patients are exposed to medical images, items, and scenarios. A common fear for many is needles. This is a situation where exposure to certain medical devices would play into a therapy session. Acception your fear early on is also crucial in getting the support needed to visit the doctor with ease. In some situations, it takes a major medical event (i.e. heart attack, stroke, appendicitis) for people to even enter a medical facility. If overcoming your fear through therapy can happen before one of these serious incidents, you save additional anxiety and an overall more pleasant experience for all.
Iatophobia is very real and effects about 3% of our population. With different levels of fear and anxiety about there are various way to handle each situation. Whether it comes down to personally overcoming the fear or seeking professional help, visiting your physician yearly is very important. Taking the necessary steps to overcome such fears can inevitably help you be a more health conscious individual.