Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.
I believe that I can help.
You are suffering from a minor anxiety disorder, a phobia or fear of doctor's or medical treatment.
There is a mild form of this called "white coat syndrome" in which a person goes in for a medical examination and because they have anxiety or slight fear, their blood pressure goes up measurably. Sometimes they need to relax for a little while and their pressure goes down.
This affects perhaps 20% of the population.
Medical facilities are places where illness and injury happen, and many people tend to avoid them. Many also fear contracting some other illness that may be found in such a facility, such as a flu or hard to treat infection.
Many of us are afraid of a painful procedure, such as having to stretch and relocated a dislocated arm or shoulder, for example.
Others may be embarrassed of having to get an examination where they might have to disrobe.
The biggest fear is receiving a bad diagnosis, which can further complicate our lives.
That is why many don't follow-up or even go in the first place.
A striking example of this comes to abnormal mammograms. Of those women who receive them and require further investigation, four out of ten never go back, often to their detriment.
Many people, especially in larger towns and cities, are afraid of medical facilities because they often have no long-term personal contact with health care providers.
Ten percent of the population, it is said, has an intense fear of needles, and many others fear medical errors.
If you suffer from this kind of anxiety, you can do several things.
Find a less intimidating physician and/or facility.
Ask for a sedative for certain procedures.
Bring a reassuring friend or family member with you.
Have a few counseling or therapy sessions. Cognitive behavior therapy can often rid this phobia in as little as two or three sessions, and no drugs are involved.
Let me recommend an excellent self-help book that is widely offered as an adjunct to therapy by many mental health practitioners. It could be exactly what you need to end this fear or reluctance.
I wish you great success in overcoming this minor phobia. I believe that you will be able to do this fairly easily and quickly.
To that end I shall keep you in my prayers.
Elliott, MAE, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC