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HomeHealthHow To Reduce Anxiety At The Doctor's Office

How To Reduce Anxiety At The Doctor’s Office

Staying Calm During The Doctors Visit

Nervous/Anxiety: Don’t do this at doctor’s office (BLOOD PRESSURE)
  • 1Bring a comfort item with you to the visit. To help you feel less afraid during your doctors visit, carry a comfort item. Look for an item that makes you feel secure and calm. Carrying it with you can help you feel less afraid.
  • This could be a stress ball that you squeeze in your pocket or a small stuffed animal that you hold during the visit. Stuffed animals, such as teddy bears, can be a good comfort item for children who are afraid of the doctor.
  • 2Make an official agreement with the doctor. To help you feel more comfortable, you can ask the doctor to agree to pause if you start to feel frightened. You may ask them before the appointment begins to listen to you if you say “pause” and to give you time to get comfortable before they resume the check up.
  • For example, you may say to the doctor, “Would you mind pausing if I say pause at all during the appointment?” or “Can you agree to pause for a moment if I say pause?”
  • 3Do deep breathing and meditation to stay calm. Some people find it helpful to do stress-releasing tactics like deep breathing and meditation. You may do this in the waiting room before your appointment or before you get in your car to drive to the appointment. Deep breathing and meditation can help to calm you down and feel less fearful of your doctors visit.
  • Deep breathing can be done by taking deep inhales and exhales from your diaphragm. Hold the inhales for four counts and then exhale for four counts. Repeat this several times until you feel calm.
  • The Anxious Patient: How To Calm A Patient Down To Improve Care

    Shaking, sweating, blood pressure through the roof: It’s no surprise the anxious patient may avoid going to the doctor. When they do go, they may forget the questions they wanted to ask as well as the details of the appointment, leaving them more confused, humiliated and frustrated than before. Even a routine physical can induce panic, since there’s potential to hear bad news. Anxious “what ifs” flood in, and any Google search of symptoms will quickly confirm the likelihood of disastrous health outcomes.

    As a physician, this may mean extra appointments, phone calls and time spent reviewing information and addressing concerns. But knowing how to calm a patient down who’s experiencing this anxiety can make the appointment more productive and pleasant for everyone involved. Fortunately, you have a wealth of helpful strategies available to you.

    A Trip To The Doctor’s Office

    Let’s be real – going to your doctor’s appointment isn’t always on the list of fun things to do. We go to see our doctor when we are sick, injured, need medication, or have a chronic illness that we’re managing. Many of us procrastinate scheduling those appointments, because we have busy lives and it’s just one more thing to do. Or maybe we procrastinate because we are afraid of getting a scary diagnosis. Even a bad experience in the past can cause doctor’s office dread.

    While many of us dread going to see the doctor, for some people, it can cause extreme anxiety and even panic attacks. The fear of doctors, known as iatrophobia, is often strong enough to provoke white coat syndrome, in which normally healthy blood pressure soars in the presence of a medical professional.

    It’s important not to let your dread prevent you from getting the care you need. Staying healthy and receiving medical care when you’re sick should be a number one priority for all of us. There are ways you can help relieve some of the anxiety, stress, and hesitation when it comes to medical appointments.

  • Schedule your appointment at a good time for you, and a good day of the week. If you know you tend to be more anxious early in the morning, schedule an appointment for the afternoon. If Mondays are your most hectic days, schedule an appointment for later in the week when you won’t feel as rushed.
  • Read Also: What Is The Best Magnesium For Anxiety And Depression

    Using Alternative Therapies For Your Fear

  • 1See a trained therapist about your phobia. If your fear of doctors is severe and preventing you from going to see your doctor, it may be time to reach out to a trained therapist. Look for a therapist who specializes in phobias and who has experience working with patients who have phobias. The therapist can help you talk about your phobia in a safe space and address it.XTrustworthy SourceHelpGuideNonprofit organization dedicated to providing free, evidence-based mental health and wellness resources.Go to source
  • The therapist may suggest talking through the phobia to help you find the root cause. Then, they may suggest different tactics you can try to address the phobia.
  • 2Try exposure therapy. Exposure therapy involves confronting your fears in a safe, supportive environment. You may first be shown images of stethoscopes or syringes to expose you to your fear. Then, the therapy will move on to showing you videos of medical procedures. From there, you may stand outside the hospital or your doctors office with your therapist. Through this exposure, you will gradually become less fearful of doctors.XTrustworthy SourceAmerican Psychological AssociationLeading scientific and professional organization of licensed psychologistsGo to source
  • Exposure therapy has been shown to be effective for people with a phobia. You will need to find a trained therapist who is skilled in exposure therapy to try this treatment.
  • Address Concerns Head On

    Episode 9: 4 Ways to Overcome Physician Anxiety

    If you notice someone is anxious, it’s OK to ask about it. Anxious people often worry about catastrophic outcomes. If you’re aware of what they fear, you can address it. Don’t attempt to reassure them by falsely denying that adverse outcomes exist, but instead emphasize the rare nature of certain events and reassure them that you’ll work together to manage their health.

    Recommended Reading: How To Deal With Anxiety Attacks Naturally

    Fear Of Doctors: How To Cope

    Here are some tips experts suggest to cope with fear of doctors or medical procedures:

    1. Identify what worries you. Or as Consedine puts it, deconstruct your anxiety. “Anxiety tends to be diffuse people are not sure what they’re really anxious about. But if you identify what it is, that makes it much easier to manage because you can evaluate your coping potential.”

    2. Confront anxieties and deal with them rationally. This could be a useful way to overcome fear of screening tests, Consedine says. For example, the digital rectal exam can be important for detecting prostate cancer, and the colorectal exam is important for early detection of colorectal cancers. Studies show that many men avoid these tests because of a perceived threat to their sexuality, Consedine says.

    Other screenings such as the mammogram may be uncomfortable, but they are brief and can be life-saving. Surveys show that people anticipate screenings to be more painful than they actually are, Consedine says. And rationally, those brief moments of discomfort are far outweighed by the chance of having your life saved by early detection of a disease.

    3. Ask for sedatives or anesthetics. These can be helpful for people with needle phobia.

    5. Seek a new doctor. If you’re afraid of your doctor, you might want to seek out a new one who evokes a more calming reaction, Lack advises.

    Really Its Ok To Resume Your Checkups

    Doctors did a really good job telling us to stay away from doctors offices and clinics, but Savoy said, the medical community did a lousy job letting people know it was safe to come back. We have entirely different protocols now, Savoy said. We space people out in our offices. And at this point most of the medical staff has been vaccinated, she said. Another fact: Doctors offices are regularly disinfected and patient visits are spaced out so the waiting rooms arent overly filled with fidgeting people.

    When you make that doctors appointment, you are taking back your power.

    Margot Savoy, Temple University’s Lewis Katz School of Medicine

    But just because the likelihood of contracting COVID-19 from your general practitioners office is low doesnt mean youre mentally ready to go back. I know I wasnt. Not only was I worried about coronavirus exposure in the waiting room, but what would the doctor think about the extra pounds I gained?

    Let it go, said Maya Bass, a family physician at Drexel University College of Medicine and Tower Medicine. Your doctor is not here to judge you. Youve come in and youve gained weight since your last checkup? Welcome to the party, Bass said. Im not here to pass judgment on your life. My job is to help you get healthier. Im here to help you move forward.

    The bottom line is fear of the unknown is actually worse than what you do know, Savoy said.

    When you make that doctors appointment, you are taking back your power, Savoy said.

    Recommended Reading: How To Help A Person With An Anxiety Attack

    Is White Coat Hypertension A Concern

    You might be thinking, So what if my blood pressure is a little high for a few minutes while Im at the doctors office? Its fine the rest of the time so it cant be that big of a deal

    While White Coat Hypertension is largely nothing to worry about, it can be an early-indicator of potential future problems. In other words, if a doctors office visit can stress you out to the point of physical symptoms, its not a far leap to assume that you experience those same symptoms with other day-to-day stressors like work or family .

    Manage Your Own Anxiety

    Keep Organized and Reduce Stress with TDO Software

    If your child isnt feeling well, he may not be the only one feeling anxious. When kids are sick, its natural to be nervous, but its important to manage your anxiety in an appropriate way.

    Parents anxiety can easily rub off on kids, says Dr. Wiedermann. Of course, this doesnt mean you shouldnt express your concerns to the doctor, just that its important to find the right time and place to do so.

    If youre feeling anxious, or have questions that might not be appropriate to ask in front of your child, ask to speak to the doctor while your child is getting checked-in, says Dr. Wiedermann It will help your child stay calm and give you a chance to give the doctor a heads up about your concerns before the appointment begins.

    Read Also: Can You Be Hospitalized For Severe Anxiety

    How Can I Use Cbd Oil For Anxiety

    Early research is promising regarding the ability of CBD oil to help relieve anxiety. Although more research is needed, specifically on humans and generalized anxiety disorder to confirm if CBD can reduce the symptoms of anxiety, you may be interested in talking to your doctor to figure out a starting dosage that is right for you. While CBD is generally considered safe, some people who take CBD may experience some side effects such as diarrhea, fatigue, and changes in appetite. CBD may also interfere with certain medications or dietary supplements. One case study on a child under 18 offered evidence that CBD is effective as a safe alternative treatment to traditional psychiatric medications for reducing anxiety and insomnia.

    Why Do Some People Fear Doctors

    In an effort to understand more about this pervasive issue, I took to social media to ask others about their experiences.

    Like me, many pointed to negative incidents in the past as the reason for their anxiety around doctors, from not being heard to receiving the wrong treatment.

    I worry that doctors will brush off my concerns, reports Jessica Brown, who experienced narcolepsy for six years before a doctor took her symptoms seriously.

    Says Cherise Benton, Two separate doctors in two separate facilities read aloud off my chart that Im allergic to sulfa and went ahead and prescribed it to me. Benton landed in the ER after dangerous allergic reactions to her prescriptions.

    Sadly, some folks also face fears based on statistics about the level of care people in their demographic receive.

    As a black woman in America, I often worry that I wont have my medical concerns listened to fully, or that I may be given a substandard level of care because of implicit bias, says Adélé Abiola.

    Another common thread among respondents was a feeling of powerlessness.

    Those in the white coats hold our medical fate in their hands while we, the non-professionals, await their expertise.

    They know this secret about you that could change your life, says Jennifer Graves, referring to the acute unease of waiting on test results.

    And when it comes to our health, the stakes are often extremely high.

    Read Also: Can A Uti Cause Anxiety

    Write Out The Treatment Plan

    This way, they can refer back to it later. An anxious patient may also benefit from bringing a close friend or family member to the appointment to help take notes.

    Using these strategies to establish rapport with an anxious patient can diminish some of their dread about coming to the doctor. They may never love coming in for an appointment, but if the overall stress can be reduced, the quality of care and outcomes of the appointment will improve.

    Everyone Has Anxiety About Going To The Doctor

    4 Ways to Reduce Patient Stress in and out of the Office

    June 30, 2020 by Stacey Shapiro

    Medical phobia or just anxiety? How do I know?

    Weve all been there. A symptom arises and we have to go to the doctor to find out what is wrong. The anxiety kicks in. Some people will make the appointment right away and others will keep rescheduling it until they cant avoid it any longer. Anxiety is characterized by worrying or apprehension. Everyone has anxiety about going to the doctor. We worry about what the doctor is going to say. What are they going to find? If they find something, what are they going to do about it? No one really wants to go through all the testing, or worse, medical procedures doctors may put us through to diagnose the symptoms. I wanted to address this now because of covid-19. Ignoring symptoms doesnt seem like a good plan.

    If one of my clients is avoiding treatment, I remind the client that often when the medical doctors find diseases early the prognosis is better. So, it is better to go to the doctor and find out than not find out until its too late. It is easier to treat anxiety the earlier the treatment is given also.

    If someone is still apprehensive you can try these strategies.

    You can travel to the doctors office several times without an appointment to desensitize to the idea of going to the doctor.

    You want your family members to interact more peacefully?

    Your children are acting out constantly?

    You are an overstressed parent?

    Also Check: What Are The Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorder

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