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How to not be afraid at the doctors office ?

Doctors give me extreme amount of anxiety. I have to go see a new doctor tomorrow because I have been having some health issues. It’s so bad that I usually just choke up and I’m not able to communicate effectively exactly what is going on with my body to them. Do you have any ideas of what I should do ?  Thank you I appreciate any advice you can give me.
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Avatar universal
I have the exact same problem. I've been traumatized by several doctors over the years, so that did not help my anxiety/negative association with them.

I have actual panic attacks in the office, which can get kinda embarrassing when I have to explain why my pulse is so high and I'm shaking.

I have not found any real way to remedy this, outside of a sedative, but people swear by deep breathing - easier said than done tbh.
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363281 tn?1590104173
COMMUNITY LEADER
Hello~I can certainly relate. I never use to be afraid to see the doctor, then one day, a major health issue was discovered, they scared me so badly with their protocol that to this day, I am petrified to see one even though I am not seeing them for the same issue. It is miserable.

What I do is make a list of my complaints, and other issues, I also write a small generalization on how I feel, what has been going on in the past, etc. I found this helps a lot, I just give the doc my sheets, he/she reads them, and that sort of breaks the ice. It would even be a good idea to say you are nervous in your little essay, that way, all bases are covered.

One thing, doctors do know that patients have this "white coat syndrome" as they call it, so most are very understanding.

As to deep breathing, well, for me, forget it, I am usually so nervous that I am short of breath anyway, so the breathing could cause me to hyperventilate.

I hope all goes well for you.
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2 Comments
Writing things down beforehand is a great idea!
I agree, it has always helped me. Before I started that, I would forget important things I wanted to say. :-)
Avatar universal
Good Morning, I can relate to you for sure. It can be overwhelming when you go to the doctor. What I do is I like to find someone that I am comfortable with (family member) to go with me. Before we go I write down my concerns, and questions I have and an overall general health. I also explain to the person who is going with me what is going on. I do this because I can write stuff down but when things seem overwhelming I forget to ask and still forget things. The person that goes with me, knows that is when i need them to step up and speak up.

This is what I do for my husband as well. He goes to his appointments, and I go with him. When the doctor is going to fast for him, or I can tell the stress of the conversation is taking a toll on him. I then speak up and let them know what concerns he has voiced to me. I am also there to ensure that there is a clear understanding of all the information given. For myself, when I have someone else around. If when I leave I am unsure or dont remember something I have them to help me out.

It is never wrong to ask for support.
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Avatar universal
As other posters have suggested above, you should write/type your health issues prior to your appointment. You should start off with your chief complaint (CC), followed by history of present illness (HPI), which should describe your problem in terms of location, quality, severity, duration, timing, context, modifying factors, and associated signs and symptoms. You can also make a list of questions that you have, but try to limit them to 3 or less.
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207091 tn?1337709493
I was also going to suggest making a list. Make a list of everything, and if you have a lot of stuff that you want to discuss, maybe prioritize it, so you can get the important stuff done the first visit, and if you have to, you can make another appt to go over the stuff that can wait.

I like what Chin_C said about explaining the location, duration, etc., and then you can have it all right there and won't forget anything.

If you take meds, write all those down, too, including the dosage and how many times a day and when you take them (morning, night, twice a day, three times a day, whatever). I'm great at forgetting what I take when I'm sitting in the office.

I hope I'm not too late with this, but good luck and let us know how it goes!
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Avatar universal
It is actually a good idea to keep a list of medications (and allergies) in your wallet and/or smartphone at all times. The list should include the name of the medication, the dose, and the number of times a day you have to take it.

Life is unpredictable. You might find yourself in an emergency room incapacitated or with altered mental status. A nurse asks your loved ones or caregiver what medications you are taking.  They may not know that you take heart medication or the appropriate dose to treat your high blood pressure. Missing a dose of a vital medication can adversely affect your health.
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Avatar universal
Hello,
I am sorry to hear about your fear of doctors. I guess its easy to give an advice in this case but not so easy to deal with the problem. I personally look at doctors as just another type of  human beings not so different from everyone else but with a very specific set of beliefs, habits, and education. They are really just like us! Some of them do think they are smarter then most, but its not really true for all of them. It actually takes only an average person to make it thru medical school. I worked with a lot of doctors and a lot of them are pretty average and even boring. As far as appointments, i think its helpful to bring notes with you. This way you don’t forget what you want to ask. You can also take short notes immediately after appointments no to forget what they said. I hope viewing doctors as regular people helps reduce your anxiety.
Good luck!
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