Going to the doctor is not something that most people will actively enjoy – after all, you’re usually going because you’re not feeling well or you’re concerned something might be wrong. However, there are some people who get so anxious about seeing a doctor or any kind of medical professional that they cancel appointments or don’t make them at all, no matter how unwell they might be.
Clearly, this won’t help their health, but for many, it’s not something they can easily control. They have a fear of doctors, and this might stem from anything. It could be a traumatic
experience when they were children, it could be a story told to them by a friend of something that went wrong during a procedure, or it could even be something they read or saw in a movie that has negatively affected them.
The issue is that doctors are there to help, not harm, and therefore it’s crucial that we see our healthcare professionals to ensure we get over sicknesses and get the treatment we need. Having regular check-ups is even better, as this can prevent those problems from occurring in the first place or at least make the issue easier to treat when it is spotted early. With this in mind, it’s obvious that overcoming your fear of doctors must be made a priority if this affects you. For some tips on how to do it, read on.
1. Schedule Carefully
Making an appointment to see a healthcare professional when you’re anxious about doing so is a big step, so you should be proud of yourself for doing this. However, the next obstacle is not canceling that appointment – if you want to get well (and get over your anxiety), going to the appointment is crucial.
One way to ensure this happens is to schedule that appointment carefully. Think about when you feel most anxious during the day, and this will be a good start. Perhaps mornings are stressful because you have a lot to do before the day even begins. In that case, seeing your doctor in the morning won’t be a good idea; you don’t want to add to that stress. Maybe afternoons won’t work because of family commitments and trying to find childcare would be stressful. In that case, make a morning appointment.
2. Take Someone With You
If you know that you’re going to be extremely nervous and perhaps even suffer an anxiety attack or be close to having one, then it’s wise to take someone with you to your appointment. This could be a friend or a family member. It could be someone you work with. It doesn’t necessarily matter who it is but having moral support and someone to ensure you actually make it to the appointment can help a lot.
Having this person with you is useful for a number of reasons. As we’ve said, they can be a good support to help you when you’re scared or anxious. They can also be a good distraction – if you’re talking to them about other things, you won’t be solely focused on the fact that you’re in a healthcare setting, and that can keep you much calmer.
On top of this, they can advocate for you. When you’re nervous, you’ll want to get your appointment done and out of the way as soon as possible, and that could mean that you don’t ask the questions you need to ask or give the information the doctor needs to know to help diagnose you. When you have someone with you, they can be your voice, ensuring that the doctor knows everything and that you come away with all the knowledge you need to help you make good choices and feel more comfortable with whatever is happening.
3. Control Your Breath
Have you ever tried special breathing exercises? Many people who get anxious about a variety of things, not just doctors, find that following a regime of calming breathing exercises is the perfect way to control their anxiety and to make them feel better about any situation they might be in.
When we are stressed, we might not notice it, but our breathing will become more labored. It becomes shallower and shorter, and this, unfortunately, will make us feel even more anxious. As time goes on, unless you are able to control your breathing, you may find that you have a panic attack and can’t breathe at all. It would make sense that if this is how visiting a doctor makes you feel, you’ll avoid it as much as possible, even when you really need medical help.
By learning how to spot the signs of anxiety and then controlling your breathing, you can reduce the stressful sensation and, even if you’re still nervous, bring your body back down to a level you can deal with.
4. Mentally Prepare In Advance
Although it’s a good idea to know how to deal with your anxiety when you’re in the doctor’s office, don’t leave it to the last minute to get prepared. It’s far better to work ahead of time and ensure you are ready for your appointment. This will make your anxiety easier to deal with, even if your instinct is to ignore the problem until you really can’t anymore.
One way to prepare in advance is to try positive affirmations. Say these over and over, like a mantra, and it may help to calm you and get you in the right frame of mind to be calmer when you meet your doctor. You could also call ahead and ask for more information about what your appointment might entail – of course, this will only work if the doctor already knows what to expect, but it could be a useful idea to try. If you are going to NYMetroVein for vein treatment, for example, you might ask to see vein treatment pictures to help you understand more about what will happen.earr
5. Be Honest
Unless your doctor knows that you suffer from anxiety, they won’t be able to help you get past it. They might even inadvertently make things worse. This is why it’s important to be upfront and honest about how you’re feeling when you meet your doctor. Let them know you’re nervous, scared, or have anxiety about the situation.
When your doctor knows this, they will be able to treat you in the right way and may even be able to help you with your anxiety as well as whatever else you need from them.