Many people suffer from latrophobia or odontophobia, or fear of the doctor or dentist. If the sound of a whizzing drill sends you into a panic or you wake up sweating after having nightmares about monsters in white coats, read on to learn five ways to calm your fears so you get the medical and dental care you need.
Find the Right Doctor or Dentist
Before you make an appointment, talk to your dentist or doctor about your fears. He or she should take steps to quell your anxieties at the first appointment by explaining all procedures completely; showing you around the office and leaving the door open to reduce feelings of claustrophobia. The right doctor or dentist will take these steps to make you feel more at ease during your appointment.
Many patients also feel more comfortable if the doctor or dentist uses humor to break down psychological barriers. A professional with a good bedside manner can do wonders for your anxiety, and some pros even cater to people with anxieties, like a sedation dentist St. Augustine.
Make a playlist of soothing songs to help you through a procedure, then plug in your headphones and zone out. The sounds of dental and medical equipment can stir up anxiety in some patients, but the pleasing melodies can drown them out.
Repeat a Mantra
During your appointment, mentally repeat a mantra that reinforces your strength. For example, focus on repeating “I am strong. I am safe. I am ok.” The mantra will give you something to concentrate on other than your fear, and you may end up believing the words by the time your appointment is over.
Remember Why You Are There
Reminding yourself that the dentist or doctor is there to help you, not harm you, can calm your anxieties. Keep telling yourself that the discomfort of being in the office is little compared to the discomfort of having a more serious health concern.
Bring a Friend
Ask a trusted friend or family member to accompany you to your appointment. Even if he or she just sits in the waiting room, knowing a familiar face is out there may reduce your fears during the appointment. If you are comfortable having a friend in the examination room, ask him or her to hold your hand, talk to you or take notes during the appointment. Anxiety and fear can cause difficulties concentrating and remembering information, so a friend can be a valuable tool for retaining your medical information.