What is Health Phobia And How Can You Deal With it?
Phobias come in all shapes and sizes, and many of us are fearful of all kinds of weird and wonderful things. From birds to clowns to bugs- they’re rarely things that present any kind of real danger, but feel very real to the person experiencing them. One fairly common phobia is health anxiety- this covers everything from thinking you are ill, to worrying that you could be. You might fear any kind of medical settings and avoid places like doctors, dentists and clinics. It’s a particularly difficult one to deal with, because many people with health anxiety are fearful of doctors and doctors settings- which is the place they need to go to get help with the condition. If you think you’re suffering with health anxiety, here are some things to think about.
Accept that you have a problem
Health anxiety is a real issue, it’s not something you should feel embarrassed or ashamed about. Sometimes it’s a standalone problem but often it’s linked to general anxiety, OCD and other mental health issues. This isn’t your fault, it’s not something you’ve caused or that you deserve and knowing and accepting this can be your first step.
Educate yourself on the real risks
Too much Googling and searching is never a good thing, however if you do feel the need to search then educate yourself of the real risks of your worries. If for example you have a phobia of contracting a specific disease, learning about how exactly it’s transmitted might put your mind at ease as misinformation you’ve heard may have made it appear more of a risk than it is. If you’re worried about things like going to hospital and falling unwell from infection, learning about medical office cleaning and hospital cleaning techniques may reassure you just how unlikely of a risk this is. Unfortunately, the media are scaremongers and love to sensationalise and worry people as a way to get people reading their papers and watching their videos. Always do your research on peer reviewed, trusted websites such as NHS.com to get your information.
Seeking help can be a huge step for those with health anxiety, as dealing with medical professionals may well be part of your phobia. Reach out and ask for family and friends assistance if you need it, this could be having them book the initial appointment for you and attend with you. For many people, speaking to their GP will be the first port of call but if you want to go private and contact a therapist directly then this is a route you could take as well. Psychotherapy. The most common treatment for health anxiety is psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can be very effective in treating health anxiety because it teaches you skills that can help you manage your disorder.
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