Addressing Iatrophobia: How You Can Manage A Fear Of Doctors

by - January 25, 2019

When it comes to managing your health, the ability to visit a doctor for advice and guidance is vital. If you’re not feeling your best, you need to be able to trust that your chosen doctor will listen to your symptoms and help you find the best route forward. Similarly, if you’re looking to make a healthy change - such as losing weight, or improving your fitness - then you need to be able to discuss this with a doctor in order to benefit from their expert advice. Simply put, doctors have their role to play in all health aspects of health and well-being - but what if you find that the idea of visiting a doctor completely terrifying?

You’re not alone: introducing iatrophobia

A fear of doctors is known as “iatrophobia”, it’s incredibly common, and it manifests for a number of different reasons:

  • Some people fear doctors due to unfortunate prior experiences, such as feeling that a doctor didn’t provide good advice, or take the right course of action
  • Others fear doctors due to the fact they associate all doctors with health ailments; while doctors can and do supply help and support for positive reasons such as weight loss or pregnancy, most of us only see a doctor when there’s a problem, which leads to a negative associative link
  • Alternatively, you may develop a fear of doctors as you find that visiting a doctor feels somehow intrusive; after all, visiting a doctor means sharing extremely personal details with a stranger, which can be difficult to deal with if you are generally rather shy and introverted
  • However, sometimes, iatrophobia displays for no particular reason at all: you may have always found doctors useful, and acknowledge that consulting a doctor can be hugely beneficial - yet you cannot help but feeling fearful, particularly in regards to what will happen during the appointment

It’s important to note that whatever the cause of iatrophobia, experiencing a fear of doctors is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of at all. As described by, phobias are irrational in nature - which can make some people feel they should just “get over” the issue - but it’s important to remember that the fear phobias cause is very, very real.

Doctors do, however, have a crucial role to play in overall health management. This means that those who fear the doctor will greatly benefit from finding a way to manage their fear; and below, we’ve put together a few simple steps that might help you to do just that.

#1 - Prepare your discussion points in advance

There are numerous reasons to write down the points you wish to discuss with a doctor prior to your appointment. Writing the list itself will help to focus your mind and reinforce that consulting a doctor is the right choice. When the appointment arrives, you can then refer to the list to ensure you cover all the topics you wanted to cover, which should help to ground your thoughts and allow you to feel calmer.

#2 - Consider telehealth

The process of visiting a doctor for a standard appointment is generally uninviting; you often to have to wait for long periods of time and the setting is rather clinical and austere, which can amplify feelings of anxiety. Thankfully, telehealth options have allowed people to access medical advice and treatment from the comfort of their own homes, be that by accessing GP telehealth options for general maladies or by utilizing the likes of for weight loss and wellness assistance. These services are designed to be convenient, stress-free, and accessible, so they are well worth considering if you find the idea of a conventional appointment concerning.

#3 - Tell your doctor about your fears

At the start of the appointment, quickly outline your fears and how difficult you have found the process of attending the appointment. Providing this information is a relatively simple step, but one that can help to put you at ease, and can also help ensure your doctor can take your nerves into account.

Final thoughts

It would be wonderful if we could suggest methods you could use to instantly “cure” a fear of doctors but, for most people, this is rarely possible - especially in cases where the fear is due to a prior bad experience.

You can, however, manage iatrophobia, reducing the fear levels to a point where you do feel able to seek the medical advice and assistance you need - and hopefully, the tips as outlined above will help you to do just that.

As always don't forget to share and subscribe! Until next time thanks for reading!

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