We all do our best to avoid ending up in hospital. While they are very positive establishments, carrying out great work, there are many negative stigmas attached to them. Normally a trip to hospital means there is something wrong.
Pain, sadness and stress can all be linked to hospitals, resulting large numbers of people suffering some kind of anxiety when they think about hospitals. In the case of Nosocomephobia however, this fear goes far deeper, frequently resulting in absolute avoidance of hospitals, even in an emergency.
Derived from the Greek word Nosokomeion, meaning hospital, Nosocomephobia affects a broad spectrum of people across the world. One of the most famous Nosocomephobes, former President Nixon, is well known for his fear, having once stated that; ‘If I go to a hospital, I’m fairly sure I won’t come out of it alive’.
CAUSES OF NOSOCOMEPHOBIA
Nosocomephobia is often caused by a traumatic experience, normally – but not exclusively – during childhood. An accident leading to extreme pain and a hospital visit, a lengthy sickness, visiting sick relatives, or witnessing extremely unnerving sights in the emergency room, are just some of the possible scenarios.
In other cases, it’s a lack of control over their life that they cannot tolerate. As soon as you enter hospital, your freedom of choice is taken away, and you’re at the mercy of the doctors. At least, this is how it seems in the mind of a Nosocomephobe.
Nosocomephobia is often related to other phobias, such as the fear of doctors, germs, illness, pain, death, and needles, etc. In particular, the fear of germs can lead to an avoidance of hospitals, as they are full of sick people, coughing and sneezing everywhere.
The fear can also be learned, from other people close to you, or even the media. As round the clock, localized and global news, becomes ever more available, we are subjected to increasing numbers of hospital related stories. From medical disasters and surgery gone wrong, to poor levels of hygiene, such stories can fuel a fear and avoidance of hospitals.
SYMPTOMS OF NOSOCOMEPHOBIA
Extreme feelings of unease and anxiety at the mere thought of hospitals is one major symptom of Nosocomephobia. Indeed, just envisioning a hospital can lead to an anxiety attack – increased heartbeat, dizziness, nausea, hot or cold flushes, the desire to run, sweaty palms, dry throat, etc.
While most people might resent a hospital appointment, the Nosocomephobe will be unable to think of anything else in the days prior to the visit. The fear of what’s coming can take over their life, impacting both social and working life. As a result, insomnia, stress and depression can arise.
In extreme cases however, the sufferer is likely to avoid hospital appointments altogether. Regardless of other medical symptoms or pain, they will refuse to go to hospital. Their fear may prevent them seeking help, even in life threatening situations.
Fortunately, treating Nosocomephobia can be a relatively quick process, with lifelong results. One of the most popular techniques is a blend of neuro-linguistic programming and hypnotherapy. By speaking directly to your unconscious mind, and subliminally planting positive suggestions and associations, your phobia can be cured in as little as one session.
For those who don’t like the idea of someone ‘messing with their mind’, there are other alternatives. Behavioural talk therapy can help you slowly come to terms with your fear, while learning relaxation techniques to help pass through the stages of anxiety. Exposure therapy works in this way, and gradually exposes the patient to different aspects of hospitals, until they can confidently walk into one.
In today’s digital world, there are even apps or audio therapy sessions such as subliminals you can download to help rid you of your phobia.
BENEFITS OF OVERCOMING FEAR OF HOSPITALS
Most of us agree that hospitals aren’t always the most pleasant places to be. They are however the best place for you to go if you’re sick or in need of emergency medical assistance. By overcoming your fear of hospitals, you will be able to take back control of your health.
After attending check-ups, you can be sure that you’re in the best shape you can be, and if there is anything wrong, it can normally be caught early, before it becomes a bigger problem. You may also find yourself taking more chances, and living a more exciting life. Without the fear that you may hurt yourself and require a trip to the hospital, thousands of possibilities present themselves. Maybe it’s finally time to get that motorcycle…
Most importantly perhaps, you can show your support for loved ones who may be in hospital. Visiting friends or family in hospital is important for both yourself, and for them. From welcoming a newborn to the world, to saying goodbye to a loved one, these are all moments you may well regret not attending, had your phobia prevented you.