With the media constantly bombarding audiences with cancer, sanitizers and all manner of strange diseases, it is no wonder people experience nosophobia. Nosophobia is an uncontrollable fear of a specific disease, versus other phobias that are fears of all diseases. A phobia is an overwhelming fear of a thing, place or situation that has physical side effects. Continuing to live with a phobia will most likely disrupt a person’s social life and mental health, eventually requiring intervention from a medical professional in order to fully heal. If the problem is ignored, more serious issues like depression may arise and result in a whole new series of complications. Treating a phobia takes time but there are several methods that have proven successful in treating those struggling with nosophobia.
Symptoms of Nosophobia
- Panic attack
- Shortness of breath
- Accelerated heart rate
- Chest pain
- Irrational fear of contracting a disease
Causes of Nosophobia
The fear of a disease is a common trend among medical students who report symptoms of the very disease they are studying. Constant exposure to sickness can be a cause of nosophobia as well as traumatic experiences in one’s life. If fear of disease takes over one’s life and finds that there are physical symptoms of distress, they should seek professional help. Some people can overcome their phobia easily, but for those who are incessantly afraid of being sick, there are several treatment options available.
Treatment of Nosophobia
Methods to conquer the invisible disease are out there. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, more commonly known as exposure therapy, helps people come to terms with the irrationality of their fears; perhaps meeting someone with the real disease in the case of nosophobia. 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. Medications can be also be used to treat the worst of the phobia symptoms such as panic attack and migraines. Over short to long periods of time, depending on the severity of the case, therapy can help people who suffer from nosophobia and its symptoms cope with their fear.
Other ways to help people cope with nosophobia are also available. Self-help in the case of phobia is very important, starting with getting informed about the phobia in the first place. Learning to keep negative thoughts at bay is also helpful, as a negative train of thought can cause one to experience symptoms of their phobia. Practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing, yoga and muscle relaxation can also help people with the emotional and physical symptoms of nosophobia.
It is possible to find professionals who can help one surpass nosophobia. Getting informed was the first step, next it is important to find a professional who knows how to lead you down the path of recovery. Let the fear of disease leave your mind and body and finally live life to the fullest!
- Phobics-Awareness.org – General information on phobias and treatments
- Helpguide.org – Physical symptoms of phobia attacks
- i.m-w.com – Information on nosophobia as it relates to medical students
- About.com – The definition of nosophobia