All Posts in Category: Social Anxiety

Fear of the Doctor and of Medical Tests – Get Help in South Florida

We all know someone who may be sicker than a dog and yet still refuses to go to the doctor. Maybe this person hasn’t crossed the threshold of a physician’s office for years, even decades. Other people may have troubling symptoms but they put off doctor visits or medical tests that could help them. While it could be that the person is just being stubborn, often those who refuse to seek medical help are experiencing iatrophobia or fear of the doctor or of medical tests.

Iatrophobic people often ignore symptoms until it is too late: maybe their cold progresses into pneumonia or their troubling symptoms are signs of a serious disease such as diabetes or cancer.

When people who suffer from a fear of medical tests or a fear of the doctor consider seeking medical help, they often experience symptoms such as:

  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of loss of control
  • Nausea and dry mouth
  • Heart palpitations and breathlessness
  • Excessive sweating and shaking
  • Obsessive worry about visiting the doctor or hospital

What are the reasons someone may have a fear of the doctor? Iatrophobia can be the result of many things, among them:

  • Fear of hearing bad news or getting negative results from a medical test or exam
  • Anxiety about catching an illness or disease from someone else in the office or hospital
  • A traumatic event that occurred at the doctor’s office as a child
  • Sights and smells in a hospital or doctor’s office
  • Fear of blood or of claustrophobia (during an MRI, for example)
  • Fear of pain from undergoing a test or examination or from shots and needles
  • Impersonal doctors or staff, making people feel like they are just a “number”

If you suffer from fear of the doctor, have been avoiding medical tests, or haven’t been to a doctor in years, there are several things you can do to help:

  • For a mild case of iatrophobia, try to schedule your appointments early in the morning or late in the day to avoid waiting too long in the reception area. Take a book or something distracting with you to help you relax while waiting. If you have claustrophobia, ask if your MRI can be done using an “open MRI” machine or if the facility uses distractions, such as music, when you are undergoing the procedure. Additionally, it can be helpful to bring a close friend or family member along with you for support.
  • For a more moderate or severe form of iatrophobia, cognitive behavior therapy can help you gain a better understanding of your condition and assist you in finding ways to cope with your fears. This therapy helps you replace negative, inaccurate thoughts with ones that are positive and more realistic.
  • In some cases, in vivo exposure therapy can be used to reduce the triggers that drive a fear of the doctor. This type of therapy helps to redirect the negative signals into positive ones through gradual exposure coupled with relaxation exercises when anxiety levels become too great.
  • If your doctor–based anxiety also includes a fear of the mental health professional who may treat you, know that some therapists offer their services via email, Skype or Facetime, or over the phone. This can be a great way to begin treatment while still remaining in a safe and comfortable environment and recent studies have shown you can achieve the same therapy benefits from online treatment as you can from being physically present in an office setting.
  • In severe cases, medication may be combined with cognitive behavior therapy or other supportive therapies.

Don’t put off examinations and medical tests due to a fear of the doctor any longer! Supportive therapies can make all the difference in your health and wellbeing. For more information, call Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

Read More

Online Agoraphobia Therapy

People with agoraphobia (an irrational fear of being out in public) can have such anxiety about leaving the safety of their home that it may be extremely difficult for them to take part in therapy sessions. And yet, it is very beneficial for them participate in psychotherapy, both alone or with others who suffer from the same condition, so they can become more confident and less fearful. An excellent way to meet the needs of an agoraphobic patient is for them begin online agoraphobia therapy through online chatting, by video on Skype or Facetime, or by receiving counseling through email.

Why Choose Online Agoraphobia Therapy?

  • Online agoraphobia therapy allows the person to get help in the comfort of their own home
  • This type of therapy lets the patient write down their thoughts and feelings without having to formulate them under the pressure of interacting with a therapist who is physically present in the room with them
  • Online agoraphobia treatment eliminates the need to commute for those who are physically disabled or for those who may not have the means to travel to a therapist’s office
  • With agoraphobia online therapy, patients don’t need to mingle with staff or other patients in the therapist’s waiting room
  • If the person is depressed, they may not be motivated to leave the house for treatment. Online agoraphobia therapy makes it much more convenient for these patients to get help
  • Online agoraphobia treatment allows the patient to feel more in control of the therapy session and the healing process
  • Online or email counseling can be very useful for those who do not have privacy and lets them get help if they have limited time
  • Recent studies have shown that patients can achieve the same therapy benefits from online treatment as they can from being physically present in an office setting

Online agoraphobia therapy can be a great way to begin treatment while still remaining in a safe and comfortable environment. It’s also an excellent supplemental therapy service for those who are coming in for office visits. The computer-provided “barrier” helps patients feel secure and protected until they gain self-confidence and are ready to experience therapy in a more traditional setting.

For more information about online agoraphobia therapy, contact Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Delray Beach, Florida at 561-496-1094 or email Dr. Rosen and The Center today.

 

Read More

Dating and Social Anxiety Disorder

Approximately 19.2 million Americans have Social Anxiety Disorder, a condition in which a person experiences intense fear of social situations. Typically, these people are afraid to interact with others, get nervous easily, are often self-conscious, and worry about what others might think of them. Social Anxiety Disorder is not the same thing as “just” being shy. People who are afflicted want to have friends and live the same type of life as other people, but they worry about being rejected or embarrassed in certain social situations.

Social Anxiety Disorder can have a debilitating effect on a person’s life. As a result, people who suffer from the disorder are far less likely to date or get married than the average person. The combination of dating and social anxiety disorder presents many complications for people who have this condition:

  • Men often have a harder time in a dating situation. Society normally dictates that men are responsible for initiating dating scenarios. As a result, a man with Social Anxiety Disorder will generally feel more pressure than a woman.
  • In a social situation, a man with this condition typically worries about what they’re going to say to their date. They are afraid of looking silly or unintelligent. This fear can be so intense that they may not even be able to introduce themselves or may seem "stuck up" or snobby beacuse they don’t say much in social situations.
  • Women tend to worry more about what people will think of them. Their appearance, especially, is cause for concern. They often feel that everything, from their nails to their shoes, is an opportunity for someone to judge them.
  • Eating out – one of the most common dating activities – is especially stressful for someone with Social Anxiety Disorder. Both men and women become concerned that they will display improper eating manners that will make their date or others develop a negative opinion. If a person who has this disorder does choose to eat at a restaurant, they are often under extreme stress while doing so.
  • Many people are able to interact comfortably, even with a stranger, in a one-on-one situation. It is the possibility of facing a group or of being surrounded by people that really enhances the stress they feel.

For those who are anxious about dating with Social Anxiety Disorder, don’t overlook places where you already may feel more comfortable:

  • a church you may already belong to
  • a group you may volunteer with
  • a neighborhood association you may belong to
  • friends or family who can arange a blind date and then can double-date with you to help you feel more comfortable
  • a sports team you may belong to

The point is that having a common ground can help you feel more at ease with someone new and can take some of the fear out of dating with Social Anxiety Disorder.

 If you or someone you know suffers from Social Anxiety Disorder, it is important to seek help. Your doctor will generally suggest a combination of therapies, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Exposure Therapy. Additionally, your doctor can suggest coping methods that can help to make dating easier over time. In some cases, medication may also be prescribed. Dr. Andrew Rosen and The Center for Treatment of Anxiety Disorders specialize in helping those who are fearful of dating with Social Anxiety Disorder. Take the first step toward getting help by calling them at 561-496-1094 or by emailing them today.

Read More
Call Us (561) 496-1094