5 Medical Phobias You Probably Didn’t Know About

Fear is what makes us human

You wake up in the morning and get ready for a doctor’s appointment. You confidently drive to make it in time for your appointment. However, as you walk closer to the doctor’s office, your heart starts to beat faster. The closer you get, the more intense your urge is to flee. If you get to relate closely to the above described situation, you’re probably experiencing iatrophobia. Don’t fret! Experiencing fears are some of the things that make us human. Humans come from various walks of life and we all have a unique feature that sets us apart from the rest. A similar logic can be applied to the types of fear many of us experience and sometimes struggle with. Different people experience different fears.

Oftentimes we hear about the more commonly spoken about phobias such as acrophobia (fear of heights), thalassophobia (fear of the deep sea), arachnophobia (fear of spiders) and glossophobia (fear of public speaking). However, it should also be brought to light that there are many phobias related to the medical area and many of us experience this when we’re in the medical setting. However, we just can’t seem to put a finger on what exactly causes that queasiness whenever we’re in places like at the hospital. Well, here’s where we come in! To provide further clarity on this, we’ve compiled a list of phobias related to the medical setting. You’ll be surprised to find out that there might be more than one cause behind that feeling of queasiness or fear. Curious to know more? Do read on!

#1 Iatrophobia

Serious Caucasian male doctor in white medical uniform talk discuss results or symptoms with female patient, man GP or physician consult woman client give recommendation at meeting in hospital

People who experience iatrophobia struggle with feelings of fear towards doctors or medical tests. Sometimes, this fear can be so strong to the point where it invokes ‘white coat syndrome’. This is when one’s normal blood pressure soars when they’re in the presence of a medical professional, in this case, it’s doctors. Experts estimate that 15 to 30 percent of people whose blood pressure shows a spike in a medical setting may experience the ‘white coat syndrome’. The possible cause that could contribute to this fear is medical trauma from the past. For example, negative interaction with doctors or misdiagnosis could lead to the stemming of this fear.

#2 Nosophobia

Elderly senior woman massaging her temples to reduce her headache. Older lady feeling scared, anxious, and thinking of sickness or mental health while suffering from a severe migraine or memory loss.

Nosophobia is seen as an irrational fear of developing a disease. It’s also sometimes known as disease phobia. Someone with nosophobia will experience severe fear or anxiety around a disease that they believe is developing. These diseases usually are commonly spoken about, and more often than not, the anxiety surrounds life-threatening diseases such as cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or heart disease. People with nosophobia may get the urge to see the doctor frequently for further check-ups. This worry has a tendency to linger and persist after a visit to the doctors. Even after receiving the doctor’s reassurance that everything is okay, it’s not enough to qualm the insecurities triggered by nosophobia. Nosophobia is often confused with hypochondria. However, the differentiating factor is the scope of the worry. While nosophobia revolves around the development of a specific disease, hypochondria involves general fears about illnesses, without any specifics.

#3 Tomophobia

Asian fat woman patient feeling sad and depressed lying at hospital bed

If you have an extreme fear towards surgery or medical intervention, you’re most probably struggling with tomophobia. Whilst it’s normal to feel anxious about an upcoming surgery or medical intervention, those with tomophobia have an added layer of worry as compared to the ‘normal’ worry weight. The exact cause of tomophobia is still unclear. However, that didn’t stop experts from putting together plausible theories that may contribute to tomophobia. Some experts believe that you can develop tomophobia after a traumatic event. What makes tomophobia unique is that this phobia can also stem from witnessing other people’s reaction towards medical intervention.

#4 Hemophobia

Extracted blood in syringe with hypodermic needle, blood drops in laboratory.

Does the sight of blood make you feel dizzy or nauseous? Have you fainted before at the sight of blood? You’re probably struggling with hemophobia. Hemophobia refers to the irrational or extreme fear of blood. Symptoms of hemophobia can be triggered when someone sees blood in real life events or on television. Some people can even experience these symptoms at the mere thought of blood! Children also struggle with hemophobia and they might exhibit symptoms such as tantrums, clinginess and refusal to leave their parents or guardian’s side when they are in the presence of blood.

#5 Dentophobia

Frightened man at dentist office covered mouth with hands.

People with dentophobia tend to avoid dentists altogether. This also includes feelings of anxiety at the mere thought of dentists or dental visits. Some may even experience panic attacks and nightmares. Fear towards dentists may stem from prior negative experiences or associations with dentists. If you’ve had any negative experiences with dentists as a child, this trauma may likely follow you into adulthood. Aside from extreme fears related to previous experiences, one may also struggle with dental phobia if they’re experiencing issues pertaining to their teeth or mouth and they’re afraid of receiving bad news from the dentist. This fear is amplified further if you haven’t gone to the dentist in a long time.

Information provided in this article is for educational purposes and it’s not meant to substitute advice provided by a medical professional. Please do not use the information provided in this article to self-diagnose or treat existing or future health issues. Always consult a healthcare provider for expert opinions.
Source: Healthline, WebMD, Mayo Clinic