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How To Cope With Fear Of A Treatment


It Is just as natural to have fear of a treatment as it is to feel fear any time we venture into the unknown.

Experience indicates that fear of a treatment can be substantially reduced by:

  • Having enough information to give "informed consent." Informed consent is when you have information about: your health condition, the nature and purpose of the treatment, and the pros and cons including risks, and the alternatives. If the treatment will be given in a facility, a tour of the facility and meeting the people who will be involved in the procedure can help.
  • Discussing your fear(s) with your surgeon, your primary care physician, and/or your support system (friends, family, clergy and possibly a support group). If the fear becomes overwhelming, consult a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker.
  • All the techniques that are useful to reduce anxiety and stress are also useful tools to help reduce fear of a treatment. Those techniques are discussed in the articles in "To Learn More."

If fear relates to a particular effect of a treatment, speak with your doctor to see what can be done about it, or whether there are alternatives. If you are a do-it-yourself person, you can also do your own medical research to look for an alternative you want to consider. (To learn the correct way to do medical research, click here.)

  • If you (or a friend, family member or other member of your team) aren't good at research, you can hire a researcher. To learn about medical research services, click here. 
  • When you do medical research, keep in mind that you are likely to find depressing information that has nothing to do with you. Information on the internet often relates to worst cases and to historic rather than current results.
  • If you find an alternative that seems to work for you, speak with your doctor about it for his or her opinion.

Use fear as motivation to do everything you can to heal. For instance, exercise to the extent you can. (Even walking helps). Eat well. Get rest. Learn how to deal with stress.

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