Easing Anxiety About Visiting the Doctor

Reviewed Mar 28, 2018

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Summary

  • Tell the doctor about your anxiety.
  • Bring a loved one with you for support.
  • Seek help from a therapist if needed.

Fear of the unknown and worry are some reasons people put off a visit to the doctor. But this could be deadly if a person puts off getting care for a major health issue.

Sources of anxiety

Peter Roy-Byrne, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, thinks the fear may be a sign of an already-occurring issue such as:

  • Uneasiness about the sight of blood or injury, social phobia, or fear of pain
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Anxiety can come from other sources, too, such as:

  • Fear of being prescribed drugs (and fear of side effects)
  • Fears about medical record privacy
  • A bad past experience at a doctor visit, or hearing of a loved one’s bad experience
  • Fear of not being able to remember what the doctor said during the visit
  • Fear of not being able to talk in front of the doctor
  • Fear of medical procedures (MRI, shots, having blood drawn, etc.)

Ways to ease anxiety

  • Learn as much as you can about an issue, procedure, or the doctor. Then, make a list of questions to ask the doctor at your visit.
  • Tell the receptionist when you check in for your appointment that you are nervous so the doctor knows this ahead of time.
  • Have a family member or friend go with you to the visit. Since it is often hard to remember things when you are nervous, you might ask that person to take notes for you.

If you aren’t satisfied with a diagnosis or your care, get a second medical opinion or change doctors.

Resources

The Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders
www.rosscenter.com
 
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America
www.adaa.org
 
National Institute of Mental Health
www.nimh.nih.gov

By Amy Daugherty
Source: The Anxiety and Depression Association of America; National Institute of Mental Health; "Fear of Antidepressants Keep Many from Disclosing Depression" by Maureen Salamon, Healthday News, www.everydayhealth.com/depression/0913/fear-of-antidepressants-keep-many-from-disclosing-depression.aspx; Peter Roy-Byrne, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine
Reviewed by Charles Weber, DO, VP Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Tell the doctor about your anxiety.
  • Bring a loved one with you for support.
  • Seek help from a therapist if needed.

Fear of the unknown and worry are some reasons people put off a visit to the doctor. But this could be deadly if a person puts off getting care for a major health issue.

Sources of anxiety

Peter Roy-Byrne, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, thinks the fear may be a sign of an already-occurring issue such as:

  • Uneasiness about the sight of blood or injury, social phobia, or fear of pain
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Anxiety can come from other sources, too, such as:

  • Fear of being prescribed drugs (and fear of side effects)
  • Fears about medical record privacy
  • A bad past experience at a doctor visit, or hearing of a loved one’s bad experience
  • Fear of not being able to remember what the doctor said during the visit
  • Fear of not being able to talk in front of the doctor
  • Fear of medical procedures (MRI, shots, having blood drawn, etc.)

Ways to ease anxiety

  • Learn as much as you can about an issue, procedure, or the doctor. Then, make a list of questions to ask the doctor at your visit.
  • Tell the receptionist when you check in for your appointment that you are nervous so the doctor knows this ahead of time.
  • Have a family member or friend go with you to the visit. Since it is often hard to remember things when you are nervous, you might ask that person to take notes for you.

If you aren’t satisfied with a diagnosis or your care, get a second medical opinion or change doctors.

Resources

The Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders
www.rosscenter.com
 
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America
www.adaa.org
 
National Institute of Mental Health
www.nimh.nih.gov

By Amy Daugherty
Source: The Anxiety and Depression Association of America; National Institute of Mental Health; "Fear of Antidepressants Keep Many from Disclosing Depression" by Maureen Salamon, Healthday News, www.everydayhealth.com/depression/0913/fear-of-antidepressants-keep-many-from-disclosing-depression.aspx; Peter Roy-Byrne, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine
Reviewed by Charles Weber, DO, VP Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

Summary

  • Tell the doctor about your anxiety.
  • Bring a loved one with you for support.
  • Seek help from a therapist if needed.

Fear of the unknown and worry are some reasons people put off a visit to the doctor. But this could be deadly if a person puts off getting care for a major health issue.

Sources of anxiety

Peter Roy-Byrne, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine, thinks the fear may be a sign of an already-occurring issue such as:

  • Uneasiness about the sight of blood or injury, social phobia, or fear of pain
  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Anxiety can come from other sources, too, such as:

  • Fear of being prescribed drugs (and fear of side effects)
  • Fears about medical record privacy
  • A bad past experience at a doctor visit, or hearing of a loved one’s bad experience
  • Fear of not being able to remember what the doctor said during the visit
  • Fear of not being able to talk in front of the doctor
  • Fear of medical procedures (MRI, shots, having blood drawn, etc.)

Ways to ease anxiety

  • Learn as much as you can about an issue, procedure, or the doctor. Then, make a list of questions to ask the doctor at your visit.
  • Tell the receptionist when you check in for your appointment that you are nervous so the doctor knows this ahead of time.
  • Have a family member or friend go with you to the visit. Since it is often hard to remember things when you are nervous, you might ask that person to take notes for you.

If you aren’t satisfied with a diagnosis or your care, get a second medical opinion or change doctors.

Resources

The Ross Center for Anxiety & Related Disorders
www.rosscenter.com
 
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America
www.adaa.org
 
National Institute of Mental Health
www.nimh.nih.gov

By Amy Daugherty
Source: The Anxiety and Depression Association of America; National Institute of Mental Health; "Fear of Antidepressants Keep Many from Disclosing Depression" by Maureen Salamon, Healthday News, www.everydayhealth.com/depression/0913/fear-of-antidepressants-keep-many-from-disclosing-depression.aspx; Peter Roy-Byrne, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine
Reviewed by Charles Weber, DO, VP Medical Director, Beacon Health Options

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, assessments, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological, or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2018 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

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