Most of us worry about visiting the doctor. That’s only natural of course, but for anyone suffering from Iatrophobia, the stress caused by a visit to the doctor can quickly escalate.
Derived from the Greek word for healer – Iatros – it falls under the category of social phobias. The fear of doctors is fairly widespread, with ever increasing numbers in recent years. Sufferers may fear various medical staff, from nurses to surgeons, and the phobia frequently goes hand in hand with the fear of dentists.
It can be difficult to determine whether you have a full phobia of doctors, or just a relatively normal wariness. It’s also difficult for sufferers to seek help, as most treatments involve seeing a doctor in the first place. The road to recovery starts with understanding.
CAUSES OF IATROPHOBIA
A fear of doctors can be brought about in many different ways, although it is believed most cases stem from a traumatic childhood experience. Someone who has suffered intense pain and stress at the hands of a doctor, may quickly associate the two.
A witnessed event may also lead to developing Iatrophobia. As an example, a child who witnesses a doctor seeing an elderly relative, who died shortly after the visit, may quickly associate death with doctors. Similarly, if a friend or relative experienced a botched operation, a fear that the same might happen to you can soon arise.
Other causes may stem from authority issues. Doctors represent an authority figure that some people are fearful of. As a result, to avoid confrontation or intimidation, they may avoid doctors altogether. Even without authority issues, doctors can be intimidating. Often, they are difficult to relate to, and don’t express emotion like ‘normal’ people.
A lot of people are also fearful of facing up to negative results, or confronting a potential sickness. Doctors are frequently the bearers of bad news, and a fear of illness and disease can often be associated with Iatrophobia. In some cases, a fear of catching germs or illnesses can be a cause of Iatrophobia.
In general, Iatrophobes associate pain and bad news with doctors, and will strive to avoid these at all costs.
SYMPTOMS OF IATROPHOBIA
As so many people fear visiting the doctor, it can be easy to assume that you suffer from Iatrophobia. Common symptoms include;
- Anticipation anxiety; the days before visiting a doctor may be filled with stress and panic at the thought. Unlike most people, this fear consumes you, and you’re unable to focus on anything else.
- Avoidance; you’ll do anything to avoid visiting the doctor, even if you’re suffering from pain or sickness.
- Panic attacks; if you do manage to see the doctor, you experience a rapid heartbeat, feelings of nausea, dizziness and the shakes. You may feel powerless or that you’ve got to run away.
- Obsession with illness; you may find yourself obsessing over the smallest ailments, fearing that it will develop into something worse, requiring a visit to the doctor. Hypochondriasis is frequently linked with Iatrophobia.
Treating Iatrophobia is very difficult, as patients are typically expected to visit a doctor. Various methods of therapy are generally recommended. Fortunately, many psychologist’s practices don’t feel like a medical establishment at all, with some working from home or rented offices.
It’s worth seeking these out, as the association to a typical visit to the doctor will be lessened. Often, if you don’t feel as if you can face meeting a doctor in person, you can speak over the phone or internet initially.
Hypnotherapy is widely recommended, with trained specialists speaking directly to your unconsciousness in order to determine the cause of your fear. Positive suggestions are then used to help you change the way you think about doctors. It normally works effectively and quickly, with a full cure possible in just a few sessions.
Neuro-Linguistic Programing (NLP) works to change how you create your own reality. The words we all use all reflect deeper, inner perceptions of our problems. A therapist will help you understand the root of your phobia, and guide you as you remodel your perspective. NLP exercises can also be carried out at home.
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 DOCTORS
If you avoid doctors and medical care, a relatively simple illness could soon escalate into something far worse. With your fear overcome, you can ensure that your health and wellbeing are top priority.
You’ll regain control of your life, and spend a lot less time stressing out about how a small ailment may lead to something worse, and a dreaded visit to the doctors!
While seeking treatment may be emotionally difficult initially, it will be worth it. You can rid yourself of Iatrophobia in a short period of time, and move on with your life.