It’s perfectly normal to be a bit anxious when you head to a doctor for a physical or the dentist to have a cavity filled. However, there are some people who get so anxious that they actually experience panic at the thought of going and might not make it to their doctor or dentist without summoning up a lot of self-control. If you struggle with this problem, you should know that there are many other people dealing with it too.
1. Remember That You’re Not the Only One
When patients are afraid to visit the doctor or dentist, it can make it very challenging for them to get the medical care that they need. It’s a common concern: Millions of men, women and children suffer from this condition, and many of them seek help to overcome it. According to Aesthetic Smile Reconstruction, “studies show that up to 75% of Americans experience some level of dental-related fear, and 20% avoid dental care because of it.” Don’t let your fear of the doctor or dentist keep you from getting the care that you need. There are various ways of reducing the anxiety you feel.
2. Address Your Triggers
You can talk openly to your current doctor or dentist about your fears. Medical professionals are trained to deal with fearful patients better than you might realize. Talk to him or her about treatment options that might be available to you that can reduce your anxiety. As an example, some doctors arrange for their patients to receive a part of their medical services over the phone or internet. This is known as telemedicine. You will have to see your physician in person eventually, but this can gradually help you control your fear enough to meet with them directly. According to Advent Health, “being afraid of the doctor and needles can be dangerous. Fear of needles is widespread and growing – and leading to a dangerous trend of skipping shots that are necessary for keeping the population safer. To overcome this, you could reframe your thinking like this. Phobias are, by definition, extreme irrational fears. Remind yourself that any pain associated with shots or blood draws are over almost instantaneously. You could also look at pictures of medical environments or needles to reduce your anxiety.”
3. Make an Appointment with a Licensed Therapist
There is no shame in opting for therapy sessions so that you can discuss your fears and come to terms with them. You can ask your healthcare provider about cognitive-behavioral therapy or group seminars. If you feel like this is too much of a step to take, try taking someone who you trust with you the next time you see your doctor or dentist. This might make you more comfortable about eventually seeking treatment for your phobias.
Never let your fear of the doctor or dentist get in the way of your health. If you put off a procedure or treatment, it might lead to more complications in the future and more time around doctors and nurses anyway. Getting the help that you need to overcome your anxiety now will help ensure your future good health.
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