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Health Anxiety Answers from the Professionals

I am a 27 year old female and have a fear of hospitals and doctors.

Any time I go to the hospital I get sick. When I even just think of going to see a doctor, I break out in skin hives. When people talk about injuries, or even just giving blood, my pulse starts to race and my skin begins to get clammy. I have tried conquering my fears by reading medical books, looking at pictures and watching surgery shows on TV. I even tried to give blood a few times but I passed out each time. I would one day like to have children but just the thought of going to the doctor for checkups, let alone actually giving birth, makes me think I won’t be able to handle it.

Answer: 

We run a program for the treatment of Health Anxiety, which deals with these problems. It seems that you have the right idea: exposing yourself to the frightening situation, but you may be underestimating the time it takes to desensitize yourself.  We usually have a patient sit in the hospital blood center for hours at a time over the course of many days. Hives are often a symptom of emotional excitement.

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