The Anxiety & Phobia Treatment Center
Offering the keys to recovery since 1971

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Fear of Going to the Doctor

I have a fear of doctors and a phobia of them touching me-I don’t even want my husband to go to a doctor for the same reason. We are getting to the age where going to the doctor and possibly the hospital is inevitable. I feel so humiliated admitting this, but I have panic attacks when thinking about undressing and being touched by a doctor.

Throughout history, human beings have gone to doctors or other healers to be examined. It is an impersonal process for the practitioner-perhaps like working on a crossword puzzle. You have an association in your mind between touching and a sexual connotation which does not exist in real life when in a doctors office. As in any phobia, these irrational fears disappear with exposure. Start by having your husband go to the doctor. Certainly he should not be denied medical care because of your fears. Then, if necessary, seek a trained anxiety specialist who can teach you to change your erroneous thought patterns and do exposure therapy with you. First step would be to practice by going to the doctors office, sitting in the waiting room, then maybe have the nurse take you back to the examining room and when you are comfortable with that, have the doctor come in to talk to you and possibly check your ears or nose or do something that is not too difficult for you. Then progress from there to a fuller exam when you are ready. Take small steps to get the check up that you need, as an annual exam can prevent numerous doctors appointments in the future!

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