Having a fear of a medical procedure is an area very close to my heart. For as long as I can remember staying in hospital and having surgery has been an issue. So much so it resulted in me cancelling operations.
On the 26th of June I had to have surgery it was very important that I had the surgery, and I knew if I did not the consequences would be far worse. I suffer with bipolar disorder and I am agoraphobic so this was a very big challenge. I had to put steps in place to make it possible for me to go through with it. Even then I was not sure I would manage. First, I spoke to my psychiatrist he prescribed some anti-anxiety medication, we also talked stuff through. I also had the support of my church and they prayed for me. The hospital arranged for my dad to stay nearby. I am pleased to say that after twenty-three years of not staying away I was able to go though with my operation. These simple things made it all possible and for me my faith played a big part in it. Also, the support of the medical staff greatly helped.
1 in 10 people are affected by a phobia or fear of a medical procedure. Hospitals are among the most common. The cause is sometimes hard to establish. Sometimes an unpleasant experience may be the trigger some children experience distress when hospitalized at a young age.
Gradually exposing the person to the things, they fear takes a lot of courage and determination. Help from family and friends and self-help groups may help. Sometimes a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist maybe needed.
Desensitization in medical phobias depends on help from medical professionals. A personal training program should be worked out.
This involves gradually increasing the tolerance for blood, by exposing the sufferer to situations, involving a series of steps starting with working with what is just possible and working through until a normal level response is reached. According to research this may include becoming a blood donor.
However, because of the problems of fainting and lowered heart rate with some blood phobic’s the exposure work is best done under the guidance of a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. At the very least it should be monitored by a medical professional.
Fear of injections. This is a common phobia some people find being threatened by a sharp object increases their anxiety levels. Some people simply become upset or slightly anxious, whereas others find it impossible to enter any situation that might have an injection at the end of it. Some people do not consult a doctor when they need to as they are so scared of an injection.
The treatment for this again is normally exposure therapy or the help of a psychologist to establish the root cause.
Dental phobia is another common phobia about five percent of the population suffer with this, it is more common in women.
People with phobias have become conditioned to produce the fear reaction in situations.
Tips to overcome it
- As already mentioned having the support of family or friends is a great help.
- If you have a faith ask your church to pray for you, this really helped me.
- If the fear is really stopping you getting help with certain medical procedures in the first instance speak to you doctor.
- Consider seeking the support of a clinical psychologist this can be very helpful as you can explore the root cause.
- Medication can help in the short term but is not the answer, the best way is to seek therapy and work through what caused the fear in the first place.
- If you have a particular fear sometimes going to self help groups can help as you can meet other people in similar situations.
Whatever your situation do not give up as help is not far away x
Claudette is a passionate campaigner and activist for mental health stigma and domestic abuse. She believes that everyone should be treated equally regardless of their disability or gender. She has diagnoses of Bipolar Disorder, endometriosis, Chronic Fatigue and Fibromyalgia. Claudette has a certificate in Management studies. Her interests include beauty, makeup, animal’s politics, current affairs and social networking.