Overcome Fear of Doctors and Hospitals

by Dr. R.E. Freedman

One of the most common fears is the anxiety one experiences over the prospect of seeing a doctor or going to a hospital. It is generally known as “White Coat Syndrome” and the symptoms of this anxiety always diminish and disappear after the visit is over.

Symptoms of “White Coat Syndrome” may be any one or multiples of the following:

– Racing Heart
– Spike in Blood Pressure readings
– Sweating
– Anxiety
– Panic
– Trembling
– Dry Mouth
– Advance worries thinking about it
– Stomach Upset
– Dizziness
– Loss of Appetite
– Sleep Difficulties

It’s important to remember that any fear induced experience is always triggered by your thoughts concerning the event. It is dependent solely on what you are telling yourself. Maybe as a child you experienced a difficult time at the doctor’s office or inside a hospital background. This alone might have created a strong impression or imprint on your mind. Whenever you thought of going to a doctor or hospital, the memory was enough to trigger a fear reaction. Therefore, this became your behavior, your reaction to a thought surrounding the possibilities of the event. This makes perfect sense but just because your mind claimed this early behavior, does not mean it is too late to change and eliminate it. One always has the opportunity to change learned behaviors and replace them with more positive ones.

Breaking Habits, Changing Behaviors

This is how one goes about making that change and deliberately creating a positive experience to overwrite the negative one:

– Always eat a protein based meal before going to your appointment. This will create balanced blood sugar levels to create a less reactive mind and body.

– BREATHE: This is one of the most important steps to overcoming fear in any stressful situation. Most people either hold their breath or overbreathe when upset. Take one slow breath in through your nose, hold it a few moments and take a long slow exhalation through your mouth. When you do so, envision all the burdens of fear you’ve been carrying on your shoulders lift with the exhalation. You’ll immediately feel as if a heavy weight has been lifted off your mind, as you become much lighter and relaxed.

– Watch your inner dialogue: Make sure you are viewing this situation from the correct perspective. You are going to a medical facility to improve the way you feel. Never allow this goal out of your focus. It’s about moving towards good health, not creating a negative experience.

– Know that most medical procedures are painless nowadays, including dentistry, so you will most likely avoid any pain or physical hardship.

– Remind yourself of the fact that if it was such an awful experience no one would ever go in the first place.

– Remember that doctors are people. You can talk to them, tell them your fears and even engage in normal conversation to lighten the experience. Engaging with your doctor as another person always easing the tension.

– If you feel the tension building into a panic episode, let it go by welcoming the feelings rather than pushing them away. Anxiety is a paradox. By running from it, you increase its power. By accepting it, even welcoming it, you drain its strength which is fueled by adrenaline and released in response to your fearful thoughts.

– Know that most every visit to a physician’s office or hospital are quite different than what you may have experienced years ago. They are virtually painless and pleasant since the widespread use of the newest instruments and procedures. Even recuperation is more rapid and with much less discomfort due to the high tech and modern approach to most procedures.

Also, understand that the more you do something, the easier the experience becomes. If you have not visited a doctor’s office or hospital recently, the experience might seem daunting to you. Going on a day when you have a simple or non-emergency reason to be there will often help you relax and build up your emotional muscles about the experience.

Many have found that volunteering at hospitals helps them a great deal. They become familiar with the surroundings and the experience settles into more of an every day, casual event. They share friendships with others who work there (professionals and staff), enjoy a stronger connection with their surroundings and prove to themselves that there is nothing out of the ordinary to warrant undue fear about the experience.

Bottom line, you are not alone. This is a difficulty that many go through and have to deal with at some time in their lives. With the proper approach these fears can be overcome and easily remedied. So much depends upon your perspective and thoughts concerning the experience. Learning to make a few simple changes in the way you approach these situations can actually turn a fearful memory of your past appointments into a pleasant experience of your present ones.

For further information concerning anxiety, fears and symptoms feel free to contact us at:

Anxiety Busters, Inc.
http://www.anxietybusters.com
info@anxietybusters.com
Office Phone: 215-635-4700
Office Hours: 10:00 AM – 10:00 PM (EST)

Previous post:

Next post: