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Do You Experience Anxiety at the Doctor?

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Do you experience anxiety at the doctor? When it comes to our health, it is understandable as to why so many people do!

Very people go through life without encountering health issues. The vast majority of us wind up with some awful problem, requiring immediate medical attention. Ruptured appendix, broken arms, and fainting all inevitably lead to interaction with the medical system. 

Doctors and nurses are there to help get you on the path to recovery. Still, many people experience anxiety at the prospect. Even though intellectually, they know that the medical establishment is their friend, worry lurks under the surface. 

What’s going on here? Why are so many people wracked by fear whenever they consider getting medical help? 

The Fear Of The Unknown

Two female doctors holding up stethescopes

For many people, it is the fear of the unknown that is the problem. The doctor could come back with any kind of news. Mostly, it’ll be benign information. “You have a pulled muscle,” or “your back is slightly out of alignment.” Other times, it’ll be life-changing.

Unfortunately, most of us are pretty bad at playing the game of probability. We attach too much weight to the idea that there’s something wrong with us, and not enough to the fact that there probably isn’t. We then form associations in our minds between the doctor’s office and the prospect of bad news. The irrational parts of our brains make up crazy stories that every time anything goes wrong with our bodies, we’ve got cancer. 

Researchers have investigated the fear of going to the doctor in-depth. What they’ve discovered is very interesting. It turns out that around 3 percent of people get anxiety before speaking with a medical professional. The trigger isn’t entirely clear, but it appears to be the idea that they’ll find something seriously wrong. Susceptible individuals spend a lot of their worrying intensely that their bodies are falling apart. Doctors are the bearers of bad news, so avoiding them becomes essential. 

As these thoughts continue, the association between the doctor and anxiety becomes stronger. Eventually, things get so bad people will put off going to the doctor’s office permanently. Thus, they wind up not getting the treatment that they need to live a good life. 

How To Break The Cycle

So, what can you do about this? 

If your anxiety comes from a fear of the unknown, then you need to convince yourself that it actually makes more sense to book an appointment. Once a doctor checks you over, they can confirm that you don’t have anything seriously wrong with you, and you can carry on with your life in relative peace. 

Remember, only a trained physician can confirm the presence or absence of disease. No amount of Googling will provide you with a satisfactory answer. Almost certainly, it’ll make you feel worse. 

At the same time, you should prepare yourself for a less-than-rosy diagnosis. Not everything in medicine works out for the best. Sometimes, you really do have problems. But it is usually better to know about it than wonder why you’re feeling sick all the time. Once you identify the issue, you can begin to treat it. 

What’s worse? Feeling sick or feeling sick and terrified about the unknown?

If the clinic itself freaks you out, you can talk to the doctor online. Many medical practices now offer remote patient services in light of the coronavirus pandemic. You can connect with a doctor over the internet, and it usually costs much less than an in-person visit. 

Sometimes, they can warn you about your current state of health and let you know if you need to make lifestyle modifications right now. For instance, high blood pressure is virtually symptom-free, but it can lead to serious cardiovascular problems if left unchecked. 

Hand holding onto a heartbeat line showing a normal rhythm unlike when you experience anxiety at the doctor

How To Make The Visit To The Doctor’s Office Easier

Okay, so let’s say you need to visit the doctor. How can you make it easier on yourself? 

  • Ignore Google. Dr. Google is getting better with each passing year. Information is more reliable and accurate. But even so, it doesn’t mean you should self-diagnose. Google can only provide information; it can’t carry out tests to determine the cause of your sickness. Going on the internet to uncover the source of your ills can lead to increased anxiety. Serious diseases tend to have a lot of symptoms associated with them. So when you hop online to check out a symptom you have, you invariably discover that it is also found in cancer patients. 
  • Be anxious, then let it go. It’s okay to be worried about your health. Practically everyone is. Psychologists recommend you accept your anxiety and then focus on something less worrisome. Diverting your thoughts onto something more pleasant can help you enormously. 
  • Tell yourself the doctor is on your side. Doctors aren’t trying to work against you. Their job is merely to diagnose the problem and then offer treatment. Ultimately, their goal is to see you before a condition spirals out of control. Typically, they guide you through the process, helping to reassure you if you feel panicky. 
  • Find something to distract you in the waiting room. Just waiting for an appointment can be something that causes you to build up a sweat. Instead of waiting for the assistant to call your name, do something proactive. Check your emails, read a book, or browse a magazine. It can all help. Some people, for instance, find that music really helps them to relax while waiting for their consultation. 
  • Relax before your trip. Finally, you might want to try doing something relaxing before you make your trip. Staying up all night working before visiting the doctor’s office is a recipe for anxiety. Worrying thoughts enter your head. A lot of patients try things like guided meditation. It helps them to clear their minds of the negative thoughts and help you see the world more rationally. 

If the thought of going to the doctor sends a shiver down your spine, you’re not alone. But it isn’t something that should frighten you – the opposite, in fact. Going to the doctor allows you to get to the bottom of your health problems and rule out more serious diseases, both of which are good for combating anxiety. 

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