Is being scared of the doctor normal?

A fear of the doctor’s office is normal, but it shouldn’t stop you from getting your yearly physical.

The question

I get freaked out at the mere thought of going to the doctor for an annual checkup. Is this normal?

Yes, fear of the doctor is quite normal — and also something you can overcome. You’re afraid to see the very people who know your body best and spend years learning about diseases and treatment. Logically, it makes sense to you to see the doctor. Emotionally, though, your thinking is much different and ultimately beats out the logical part.

A visit to the doctor brings uncertainty, as you don’t know what the exam will yield. As a result, your mind fills in the blanks in negative and catastrophic ways: “What if I get a diagnosis of a dreadful disease?” or “What if he orders invasive tests?” Rather than thinking about the potential positive gains made from a routine checkup, you’re thinking of all the worst scenarios.

Overcome it

Here are some things to think about to beat the fear:
   
Do you see your doctor as Dr. Evil or an ambassador of good health? Find a doctor you’re comfortable with. Ask friends for recommendations.
   
Consider your doctor an ally in your effort for good health and not as someone who judges you. Frequently, people who get anxious about going to the doctor feel that he or she will be mad or upset if they’re not taking care of themselves. See the doctor as someone with whom you collaborate and discover ways to be healthy.  
   
Think ahead. An annual physical will provide you confidence, information and knowledge about your health; each subsequent regular visit will be easier and more beneficial.

– Jonathan Alpert is a licensed psychotherapist. E-mail him your questions at jonathan@jonathanalpert.com.

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Canadian charged in 'Heartbleed' attack on tax agency

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian police have arrested a 19-year-old man and charged him in connection with exploiting the "Heartbleed" bug to steal taxpayer data from…

National

Every dog has his day in court, in…

(Reuters) - Call him juror K-9.A computer glitch is likely to blame for a summons that called a German Shepherd to report for jury duty,…

Local

Local politicians pressure DOJ to investigate Ramarley Graham…

On what would have been his 21st birthday, Ramarley Graham's mother joined elected leaders to ask the U.S. Department of Justice investigate his death.

Local

Muslim leaders welcome NYPD surveillance changes with degree…

Leaders and advocates praise the NYPD's move to shut down a unit tied to its Muslim surveillance program but say there's more left to do.

Television

Jim Rash talks 'The Writer's Room' and amazing…

For Jim Rash, as the fifth season of "Community" comes to a close, the second season of "The Writer's Room" begins.

Going Out

Tasty chicken and waffles in NYC

Try some soul food goodness around the city.

Television

'Dexter' star Jennifer Carpenter moves into producing role

The actress who played the title character's sister in "Dexter" is teaming up with producer George Stelzner to adapt Erika Hayasaki's book "The Death Class:…

The Word

Wahlburgers announce North America domination

Tuesday was a huge day for Donnie Wahlberg.

NFL

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Updated, new April version

NHL

Flyers, Rangers meet in playoffs for 11th time

The Flyers and Rangers will start a new chapter in a historic rivalry.

MLB

Masahiro Tanaka dominates Cubs over eight shutout innings

Masahiro Tanaka certainly had no-hit caliber stuff Wednesday as he allowed just two bunt singles.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers…

MLB Power Rankings: A's are baseball's best, Brewers and Braves right behind

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: chocolate may prevent obesity…

Can chocolate prevent obesity and diabetes? Location of study: U.S. Study subjects: Mice Results: The positive health benefits of chocolate have been studied increasingly more…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health News: breastfed infants trying…

Are breastfed infants trying to prevent mom from having another baby? Theory: The act of breastfeeding not only brings mom and baby closer together –…

Wellbeing

Unexplained infertility may be caused by lack of…

Researchers have identified a protein on the egg's surface that interacts with another protein on the surface of sperm, allowing the two cells to join.

Tech

5 surprising facts about Google Glass

Your sex life could get more interesting.