Phobias are very common. Experts believe that about on in ten people are affected by a phobia in their lifetime. “Medical Phobias” – fear of hospitals, dentists, injections and blood are amongst the most common.
What is a Phobia
A phobia is a fear and fear is a normal part of life. In fact many people feel a degree of anxiety or apprehension when faced with a medical or dental procedure. However for some the level of fear escalates out of proportion to the situation they are in. A fight or flight reaction happens in the body. When the fear is as strong as this even a harmless check up feels like a life or death situation.
Not just anxiety
Phobias do not just involve anxiety, they also cause avoidance of the situation. People who have a phobia begin to avoid the situation or thing that frightens them. As soon as they detect the fear they beat a hasty retreat. As this avoidance causes a reduction in tension, the behaviour can become a habit. Avoiding a situation that frightens us makes us more sensitive to it and conditions us to fear it more. In the case of medical phobia, avoiding treatment may put our health at risk. Unfortunately it is inevitable that we will need to go to the doctors or dentist at some point and this phobia can be very debilitating.
Symptoms of a phobia
Heart palpitations, chest pains, dizziness, feeling “unreal”, feeling faint, feeling sick, difficulty breathing, butterflies, difficulty swallowing, trembling legs, dry throat and fuzzy vision. In sever cases people may feel as though they are going to die, lose control, injury someone or do something embarrassing. Most people feel and overwhelming urge to escape the situation they are in.
How can Hypnotherapy help
I recently worked with a 70 year old lady who had suffered with medical phobia since the age of 5. She felt faint in almost any situation to do with doctors or hospitals. She even found it hard to visit her husband in hospital when he had a heart bypass.
Unfortunately she was due to have a cataract operation and was very anxious that she would not be able to cope. I saw her for two sessions of hypnotherapy in Leeds in which I taught her several techniques to help remain calm during the procedure and we rehearsed the whole operation. She was able to have her operation the following week without any fear or anxiety.
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