DOES THE THOUGHT OF NEEDLES GIVE YOU GOOSEBUMPS? Why is it that so many Americans fear going to the doctor? Did you know that many insured Americans feel threatened and/or are scared to visit their doctor despite severity of symptoms present? This fear has left many Americans unable to participate in treatment. How can we confront this uncomfortable reality many face in a world of ever-changing healthcare?
Four Reasons why People fear a Visit to the Doctor
There are countless reasons why one may not take a trip to the doctor’s office. We’ve taken some of the most common and broken them down.
1. People fear the criticism by hospital staff and loved ones of their current condition or unhealthy behaviors.
2. Many patients are frightened by the thought of being naked or touched by a nurse or doctor.
3. Some people are afraid of needing to undergo a painful procedure.
4. Lastly (and possibly the most common), many patients are fearful of a possibly serious diagnosis.
These fears are valid and not to be taken lightly. What can be done about them?
Four Ways to Face the Fear Head On
1. Identify the source of your fear. Did any of the above points resonate with you? With knowledge of what actually scares you, you can lessen the anxiety and remove the feeling of the unknown associated with your fear. This can allow you to more easily confront the issue.
2. Talk with your doctor about your options. Doctors understand the fear, as they see it all the time. Many will offer options to improve your coping, such as counseling, medications or other therapies. If a procedure needs to be done, discuss with your physician all the scary things, like pain, recovery time, and any possible side effects. Information will counter the fear of the unknown.
3. Take a friend or family member along with you during the visit to help you confront the things that cause you anxiety and provide emotional support.
4. If you feel fear, frustration or anger towards your current doctor, don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion. Trust in your healthcare provider will help address many fears and ease many anxieties.
There are ways to help cope with common healthcare fears, but it’s important to understand that you are not alone. Many others experience the same distress. Ask yourself what you are afraid of, and then assess the problem by utilizing our tips above.
Fear of doctors is known as latrophobia. Do you feel anxious prior to going to the doctor?