When something doesn’t feel right with your body, do you immediately set an appointment with the doctor? Or like most people, do you search Google for your symptoms? There, you’ll find a variety of diseases that could be causing your symptoms. Did you feel better? Probably not. A simple headache can lead to cancer when you research it on Google. But why don’t you want to see the doctor in the first place?
Going to a healthcare franchise, waiting in line, entering the examination room, and waiting for the results can be a real pain. No, not the waiting time (although that’s annoying), but the fear of seeing a medical professional reading your lab results. Iatrophobia is the medical condition that refers to the fear of doctors. It affects just around 3% of the population, but experts believe that around 30% of Americans have heightened blood pressure when they see a medical professional.
Why do we fear doctors?
It’s not really the doctors whom people fear (although the 3% refers to them), but the fear of the unknown. You’re basically handing over the reins of your medical health to a stranger. You’re letting doctors see your lab tests, and you’re telling them about the pain you’ve been feeling lately. You fear what they are about to say. And thanks to Google, your imagination is running wild.
If they dismiss your pain and say that it’s caused by stress, you may not even believe them. No, you’ll say. You read somewhere on Google that this particular pain might be the root cause of something more serious. It’s not just stress. Whether the doctors tell you the condition is serious, you’re going to feel anxious that they may be misdiagnosing you.
Other people fear doctors because of a traumatic experience in the past. They may have been misdiagnosed in the past, or doctors may have dismissed their medical conditions. Some people from certain ethnicities also feel that doctors will discriminate against them because of the color of their skin.
What can we do about this anxiety?
Fortunately, there’s a way to fight against this anxiety. You can visit a doctor’s office and not feel like you want to bolt at the sight of it. Try out these different techniques:
Schedule a good time
When do you feel most anxious? In the morning? Try not to schedule an appointment when you will most likely feel anxious about it. You can set the appointment in the afternoon instead.
Take a friend or family
Having someone with you during the appointment will ease your worries. They are a comforting presence. They will also offer another pair of eyes or ears to catch what you or the doctor might have missed.
When you feel anxious, you will breathe shorter and shallower. That only exacerbates your feelings of anxiety. Relax your muscles and breathe better. You can try out the 4-7-8 technique wherein you inhale in the count of four, hold the breath in the count of seven, and release in the count of eight.
Be honest with the doctor
Telling the doctors about your anxiety may help them manage you better. When they are aware of your mental health, they will be more conscious about the way they talk to you about your diagnosis. Also, your anxiety may be a part of your medical condition, so your doctors need to know about it.
Remember that you are brave enough to go through with the appointment. You are doing this for yourself and your loved ones. Knowing what ails as early as possible will allow you to address and treat it accordingly.