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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5762
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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i have an issue i have trouble dealing with. i am on medicatioin

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i have an issue i have trouble dealing with. i am on medicatioin for zoloft. i take 150 mg daily. i have always been anxious and especially anxious about my health. when it comes time for my annual appt. i am hesitant to go because i fear they will find something. i end up cancelling it and eventually i have to go because i run out of medicine. i have not had a mammogram yet and was suppose to last year (1st one) can't get myself to go. i also get anxious and my blood pressure goes up at the dr office. i really need to get a handle on this, i'm 41 and i thought as i got older i would quit being this way but i'm the same as when i was in my 20's...

Hi, I'd like to help you with your question.


What you are describing is a fear of doctors. It is called latrophobia. It is a very common fear that many people experience. Being afraid of the doctor does not mean you are afraid of the person you are seeing during your appointment. It describes being fearful of being at the doctors or at appointments.


What you can do first is acknowledge that you are afraid and that your fear is a common one. There is nothing wrong with having a fear of the doctor finding something wrong at your appointment. Most people fear hearing something is wrong. So you are very normal.


The second thing that can help is letting the doctor, or the practitioner you are seeing, know that you are fearful. That is nothing new to a doctor. Doctors are there to help but a person's health is a serious thing so doctors are used to being told their patients are afraid. Letting the doctor know will help them make you feel more comfortable. The doctor can also reassure you. And if the doctor knows you are feeling afraid, they can factor that in to your blood pressure being high. Doctors can have you take your blood pressure at home and call in the readings. That way, you are calmer and feel more in control.


The third thing to try is asking your doctor to explain things to you. It is comforting when the doctor can spell out what she is doing and explain how procedures work. That way, you don't feel that there is someone poking and prodding you and you are left in the dark as to why and what they are doing. And it gives you more control if you know the reasons behind the exams.


One of the best ways to deal with a fear or phobia is to confront it. Facing your fear is the best way to conquer it. Try working on this slowly. You can also take someone with you who can support you. Have them come in with you the first time. Then next time, have them wait in the waiting room, and on and on until you feel more comfortable.


You also may want to do some self help at home to learn more about your fears. Here are some resources to help:


Overcoming Medical Phobias: How to Conquer Fear of Blood, Needles, Doctors & Dentists by Martin M. Antony and Mark A. Watling


Healing without Fear: How to Overcome Your Fear of Doctors, Hospitals, and the Health Care System and Find Your Way to True Healing by Laurel Ann Reinhardt Ph.D., James Jealous D.O. and Laurel Ann Reinhardt


The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne


You can find these books on or your local library may have them for you.


You may also want to consider seeing a therapist if you feel you need more assistance with this problem. You can ask your doctor for a referral or you can search on line at


I hope this helps,


Customer: replied 5 years ago.

thank you.... i never knew there was a name for that? i always heard it called

"whitecoat syndrome." yes it's embarrassing, especially at my age. i even feel the

same thing when my son or parents go to the dr. i am anxious. and in that case i can't control it because they go to their appts with no fears and i'm sitting at home worrying until they get out and asking questions.... and they're not even concerned. i've been like this since a kid. i make my appts but have trouble following through. i end up going and dread it up til the day. i'm just tired of this. i'm 41 and shouldn't like this. my dr's don't even know.. why do i feel the worse case scenerio will happen is a mystery to me and why i m like this and what causes it.

It is normal for people to be anxious about the doctors. That is the first thing you need to realize. You are not out of the ordinary and to tell yourself that you should not be like this is only making you feel worse. Allow yourself to be human. Almost everyone is afraid of something and this just happens to be your thing.


The main reason you have this fear probably has something to do with your background. If you were abused or neglected in any way or one or both of your parents were fearful, it may have affected your ability to see your doctor without fear.


This fear is about control. Most people feel out of control at the doctor's office. The medical exam is not in your control and neither is the diagnosis. Most medical information is hard to understand and therefore seems mysterious and scary.


With the self help books and possibly therapy, it should be easy for you to address this and feel better.



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