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Medication Phobia

Being afraid of spiders or death is not uncommon, but for some, the fear dictates how they live their lives. People who are susceptible to medication phobia are afraid of taking medicine and will go to great lengths to avoid it, even risking their own life. A phobia is an overwhelming fear of a thing, place or situation that has physical side effects such as panic attack, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling, sweating, accelerated heart rate, chest pain and nausea.

There is no one cause for medication phobia; it can be triggered by an event or sometimes for no apparent reason. Some people can get by their phobias easily, like with a fear of snakes. But for those who fear taking medication, their phobia can be life threatening.

Symptoms of Medication Phobia

  • If fear takes over and one finds themselves avoiding taking a life-saving drug
  • Constantly afraid of chocking on pills
  • Ignoring a health problem in order to avoid medicines
  • Phobia has persisted over a significant length of time and is affecting one’s health.

Treatment of Medication Phobia

People who are afraid of taking medicine, whether it be over-the-counter aspirin or prescription penicillin, should not fret as there are ways to conquer medication phobia. When treating medication phobia, it is important to choose a doctor who is pro-medication. Treatments for phobia can be approached from several different angles such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, more commonly known as exposure therapy. Using the exposure therapy method slowly exposes the person with their phobia first through the mind in therapy sessions and then in real life situations. Over short to long periods of time, depending on the severity of the case, therapy can help people who suffer from medicine phobias cope with their fear and get their health back on track.

People with medication phobias should also learn self-help methods to deal with the worst of the symptoms. Getting informed about the phobia is the first step in overcoming the fear, as Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu said, “know thy self, know thy enemy.” Reading this article is certainly a step in the right direction. If choking while taking medicine is the fear, then the doctor can give options for liquid or crushed medicines. Learning to keep negative thoughts at bay is also helpful as a negative train of thought can invoke the medication phobia. Lastly, practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga and muscle relaxation can help you deal with the emotional and physical symptoms of a severe phobia.

Being afraid of taking medicine or of suffering adverse reactions is not uncommon; treatment professionals are out there. Getting informed is the first step, next it is important to find a professional who knows how to lead you down the path of recovery.

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