Hospital anxiety can affect both children and adults. Although it’s often normal to be a little nervous when coming in for a check-up or getting admitted for care, anxiety that is overwhelming and constant can indicate something more.
If this is the case for you every time you have to go to the doctor’s office or hospital, you may be suffering from hospital anxiety. Aside from causing you unnecessary levels of stress, hospital anxiety can also hinder you from receiving the care you need. Sometimes, you may even forgo going to the hospital completely because of the fear and apprehension that arises when you visit.
Nevertheless, there are a lot of ways you can ease your hospital anxiety.
Find the root cause/s of your fear and anxiety
People who are afraid of hospitals can have varying reasons for their fear. Some may have had traumatic experiences in a hospital before and relive those dreadful moments every time they visit. Some may be afraid of medical procedures that can involve pain or discomfort. Whatever the case may be, the key to resolving your hospital anxiety is to determine what’s causing it in the first place.
Address your phobias
If you have certain phobias that relate to hospitals, such as needles or surgery, addressing them can help ease your overall aversion to hospitals and medical care in general. A great way to do this is by finding workarounds for the things that trigger your phobias. For instance, if you are afraid of needles, you can ask the nurse for alternatives to venous cannulation. Also remember that in some procedures, nurses will use indirect syringes, such as injector syringes for CT procedures, that won’t require another insertion.
Sometimes, you may need professional help to overcome your phobias and prevent them from interfering with your health. If you find it too difficult to ease your fears yourself, consider seeking the help of a psychotherapist who specializes in addressing phobias, especially the ones that you have about hospitals.
Go with a companion
Having someone that you trust go with you to your appointments can help ease your hospital anxiety, whether it’s a parent, a partner, or a significant other. Let them know the true depths of your anxiety and fears so that they can be better prepared to help you when the need arises. Furthermore, don’t forget that you have someone to rely on during your visit. Keep in mind that you’re allowed to seek their comfort when you need it, and don’t feel bad about needing help when you are being overwhelmed by your emotions.
Talk to the medical staff
Medical staff know firsthand how to deal with people who suffer from hospital anxieties and phobias. Thus, they have the adequate experience and skills to provide you with a sense of comfort during your visit. If you ever feel a little too nervous or fearful at the hospital, approach one of the medical staff and ask them about what procedures you need to go through. Sometimes, knowing what to expect is just what you need to become a bit calmer.
Furthermore, if you feel too overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to ask the medical personnel for a break. For instance, if you are about to receive a shot and need more time to prepare, let the attending nurse know. Remain polite and explain the situation. They will understand, especially because they have encountered so many people like you before already.
Mentally prepare, but don’t take too long
Preparing yourself mentally can help make your actual visit significantly less stressful than when you ignore the dreaded date until it’s time to go to the hospital. Meditation, deep-breathing exercises, visualization techniques, and research about your condition or medical procedure can help.
Be sure to focus on the positive sides of your visit. Although you also need to prepare for the negatives, focusing on the bright side can help prevent negative thoughts from overtaking your mind and making you even more anxious for your visit. If necessary, you can also consult with your therapist or your doctor for help. In any case, focus on the fact that receiving necessary medical care can help improve your health and overall quality of life.
If going to the hospital always comes with overwhelmingly negative thoughts, you may be suffering from hospital anxiety or an all-out phobia of the hospital. Either way, these tips can help you ease your fears and help you get the medical care that you need for a healthier life.