Understanding Anxiety Caused by Doctor Visits

November 16, 2020 | Brain and Spine Specialists

Understanding Anxiety Caused by Doctor Visits

Do you ever feel your chest go tight or your legs bounce up and down uncontrollably as you sit in your doctor’s office waiting room? If you do, then you might be suffering from anxiety caused by iatrophobia, or the fear of doctors. It’s estimated that 15 to 30 percent of people experience anxiety when visiting their doctor, so you’re not alone.

Dr. Khurram Nazir from Brain and Spine Specialists says, “Fear of the unknown or imagining the worst case scenario is often the root of anxiety caused by a visit to the doctor.” People of all ages can suffer from this, but with the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic, people who might not have previously experienced anxiety at the doctor’s office could be feeling it now more than ever. The extra precautionary steps being taken because of the Coronavirus are actually causing more stress for some even though it’s meant for your safety.

There are ways to manage your anxiety when you know you have a doctor’s visit; here’s a few:

  • Schedule it for a time of the day or week when your anxiety might not be as bad.
  • Bring a family member or friend with you. (COVID restrictions permitted)
  • Don’t Google your symptoms. Whether you’re just going for a checkup or because you’re worried about something particular, Google will only make your anxiety worse.
  • Find ways to distract yourself in the waiting room. Bring a book or scroll through social media on your phone; putting your focus on something other than being at the doctor can ease anxiety related symptoms. 
  • Remind yourself that the doctor is on your side. While it’s easier said than done, reminding yourself that the doctor is only there to help you can make your wait to see them more bearable. 

If you feel your anxiety when visiting a doctor is unmanageable, bring it up to your doctor the next time you see them. They can give you tips to help you live with your anxiety.