Posted April 14, 2014
Many people have phobias (or fears) of things, such as spiders, heights or enclosed spaces. Recently Everyday Health identified 10 health-related phobias that make people freak out and, unfortunately, may keep them from getting the medical and dental care they need to stay healthy.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that approximately 10 percent of Americans have phobias and experience a range of symptoms, from dizziness, nausea and breathlessness to full-fledged panic. More women than men tend to have phobias. At least 75 percent of people with phobias are fearful of more than one thing.
10 common health-related phobias
- Fear of surgery and invasive surgical procedures (tomophobia) – People may develop this fear after a negative experience with surgery, or they may have anxiety about anesthesia or being harmed during an invasive procedure
- Fear of doctors (iatrophobia) – Many people fear going to the doctor because they are concerned about receiving bad news
- Fear of dentists and dental procedures (dentophobia) – About 2 to 4 percent of Americans struggle with fears associated with visiting the dentist and dental procedures, including office sounds and smells and pain associated with needles and dental work
- Fear of needles (belonephobia) – A traumatic experience with needles may cause some people to develop this fear; just the thought of needles may lead to faintness or cause an irregular heartbeat or blood pressure
- Fear of injury (traumatophobia) – People who have a fear of falling or injuring themselves may take drastic steps to prevent these experiences, such as curtailing their social life, which could increase feelings of isolation and depression
- Fear of hospitals (nosocomephobia) – Although hospitals provide care to help people recover from health problems, sometimes patients fear hospital stays because they know many people die while hospitalized; some people avoid visiting friends or family in the hospital due to concerns of getting germs that could lead to serious illness
- Fear of diseases (nosophobia) – People with this phobia avoid seeking medical care because they are concerned about being diagnosed with a disease
- Fear of childbirth or pregnancy (tocophobia) – Women may develop this phobia while pregnant, after delivering a baby or hearing stories about childbirth
- Fear of blood (hemophobia) – Some people become queasy when seeing blood, while others panic or faint; the fear may be associated with phobias of needles, disease, injury or medical treatment
- Fear of pain (algophobia) – Just the thought of a painful experience can trigger this fear; people with algophobia tend to avoid situations and activities that could lead to pain or discomfort