How do doctors deal with fear of blood

Column - The consultation hour - Afraid of the doctor? Just go there!

Robert K. was terrified of doctors. He avoided going to the doctor all his life for fear of pain. Once, when he had to undergo a minor operation, he panicked so much that he suffered a heart attack. The most amazing thing was that he was actually used to causing pain to other people - he was a dentist.

The fear of doctors

Many people are very afraid of doctors. Just the smell of a hospital triggers panic in them. You therefore avoid necessary visits to the doctor, so that you procrastinate illnesses and your small health problem becomes a big one. The fear of doctors, also called iatrophobia (from the Greek iatros - doctor), is mostly due to a blood and injury phobia. Some people feel drowsy when the doctor draws blood. Blood phobia is the only phobia that can actually faint, while other anxiety states tend to cause blood pressure to rise.

A blood phobia is based on evolution

This is due to evolution: for an animal that bleeds from many wounds after a fight, it is better if it collapses unconscious. When lying down, blood pressure is stabilized and coagulation is promoted. This increases the chance of survival. If people lose consciousness after a small spade, it is an exaggerated form of an ancient survival mechanism that warns us to avoid anything that could result in bleeding wounds. The brain knows that a visit to the doctor is only associated with minor pain in most cases. In some people, however, the primal fear system prevails.

The fear of dentists is particularly pronounced

Five percent of all people avoid visiting the dentist. Incidentally, the phobia does not arise from a drastic experience in childhood - it often occurs in people who have never seen a dentist. The best way to counter the fear of doctors and dentists is to simply go there and find out afterwards that it wasn't that bad after all. In difficult cases, you can help with behavior therapy or medication.

By Professor Borwin Bandelow / RND