Not many people enjoy going to the hospital, the doctor, or to see their optician. They would rarely be in attendance for good news, after all! Medical procedures, being ill, and generally having to receive bad news in a doctor’s office are all enough to put anyone off the most basic procedures. The problem is that we need to be able to attend these appointments. Without them, there could be a genuine threat to life, and yet, so many people feel far more than just a little discomfort with going to their general health practitioner. They feel genuine fear that renders them incapable of doing the most straightforward thing: booking an appointment.
Far be it for us to suggest that it doesn’t matter that you’re afraid – medical fear is genuine, terrifying, and can prevent you from receiving life-changing treatment. Small anxieties, when left alone, can become full-blown fears, and this is not what you want to experience just before you go for an appointment. For example, nosocomephobia is the name for fear of hospitals, whereas homophobia is reserved for those who have a genuine fear of medical surgery. There are even those who have odontophobia, which is the fear of the dentist. People aren’t just afraid of hospitals, either. They’re scared even to book the appointment that could lead them to hospital appointments. So, before they’ve even been involved with a doctor, they’re afraid at the very idea of it. The bit to remember, though, is that these fears can be overcome with some hard work and a lot of courage!
Why Is Health Anxiety So Common?
Before we can go into health anxiety, it’s important to know why it’s so common among the population. Let’s take a look:
Lack Of Control
The most important reason is the lack of control. You could have the nicest and most professional dentist in the world, but once you’re in the chair, you are no longer in control anymore. It’s a scary prospect for some people, as you’re giving up your power to look after yourself and putting it in the hands of someone else.
For some people, seeing the doctor or undergoing surgery shows them that they’re not invincible, after all. It shows them that this appointment could change the course of their lives, and they’d mostly rather not deal with that, thank you very much!
Lastly, people put off significant procedures because they don’t know what could go wrong. It’s the fear of the unknown. Even at the dentist’s office, you can’t be sure that the procedure for new teeth will work. The question of “what if it doesn’t go well?” is something people worry about the most.
Overcoming Health Anxiety
There are plenty of ways to overcome debilitating health anxiety. You should be able to book your appointments with the dentist and optician to look after your health without feeling fear about it. Let’s look at how you can do that:
- Trust Your Doctors
The most important way that you can start to move past any anxiety that comes with your next dental or medical appointment is to meet the doctors. It sounds like a big step, but trust is vital for success, and you can learn to feel okay with the procedures when you have a standard conversation with professionals in charge. They can talk through any worries you’re having, and they can take you to step by step through the stages of an appointment before you move into the medical bay. Sometimes, understanding what happens next can make all the difference.
- Trust You!
Sometimes, the anxiety that you feel comes from a lack of self-trust. You know what your body needs, so if you have a toothache, trust yourself that the best decision for you is to see the dentist and get the appointment over and done with.
- Take Action
The best way to help yourself is to get proactive about it. You know that you need to see a medical professional, so the best thing that you can do is rationalize it. Know that you are going to this appointment for a good reason. So, stay active and upbeat that you are doing something for yourself, and follow the next step to help yourself truly.
- Get Educated
It can sometimes be everything to learn about the issue troubling you. So, if you have pain in the back teeth, read as much as you can about what causes pain and what it could be. Once you know and understand the basics, you can read about the help that your dentist could give you. Education is critical, and understanding can help you to alleviate the feelings of anxiety.
Now that you know what can help your health anxiety, you’ll hopefully understand that this doesn’t have to be permanent! Anxiety can be a temporary thing and it is for most patients. You know that you won’t feel that anxiety anymore once you’ve got the appointment over with, which is why you need to learn to get to that point of saying yes. You know that if you have surgery, it’s going to make you live longer. You also know that the risks of any medical procedure are slim in a lot of cases.
Health anxiety isn’t a joke, nor is it easy to overcome if you’ve spent a long time feeling afraid. The thing is, health anxiety cannot be what stands in your way between feeling sick and feeling healthy. You need to be able to take control of your health, and while a part of health anxiety comes from the feeling of no control, you can fix this by making the choice to take charge of your health for once! You need to be able to go to the dentist or the doctor with your head held high and your courage intact. Doing this just once will make a big difference to your future.
Today is the day to book the most important appointment you can book!