Fight Medical Anxiety

What’s the most common reason people put off a visit to the doctor? They’re scared — and they shouldn’t be. Though fear is rarely rational, it’s important to learn how to conquer this fear. Putting off going to the doctor only makes something worse, and by the time someone with medical-related anxiety goes to a doctor, their anxiety may very well sky-rocket. Here’s five tips.

1. Cultivate trust: Nobody can walk into a doctor’s office and pretend that they’re a doctor. Everyone you encounter in the office has learned a lot, both through school and job shadowing. They will always ask before they do something, and they will always ask if you’re okay.

2. Small comforts: Doctors often provide magazines to help people ground themselves in something familiar. If a magazine isn’t your style, bring a favorite book with you, or listen to music. If the office is okay with you pulling out your phone, playing a game (with the sound off) or texting with a friend is a great way to keep your spirits up.

3. Talk to friends: It can be embarrassing to confide medical issues and medical anxiety to friends, but friends can be more understanding than we expect them to be. Plus, if you’re overwhelmed by the thought of going alone, they may be able to take you and ask the doctors questions for you.

4. Practice positivity: It may sound like a stretch, but keeping up a positive mantra will have an effect on your mood. It will help ease anxiety and keep you feeling lighter rather than dreading an appointment.

5. Counseling: If you feel like your anxiety is controlling you, find someone to talk to. They can help you work through what may be causing it and find ways to handle it.

Medical anxiety is a real thing, and it’s not fun. Doctors swear an oath to do no harm; they want to help you get better, not keep you ill. It’s important that any kind of severe illness or injury is looked at right away.