Fear of disease or Nosophobia is an overwhelming and all-consuming fear of catching, having or developing illness or disease. This phobia relates to any illness or disease – contagious or otherwise.
No one wants to become ill and so it’s completely natural that we all get a little concerned about catching contagious diseases and take precautions (the Covid-19 pandemic proves this!). However, Nosophobia is more, much more than this normal, expected fear. To a sufferer of Nosophobia the anxiety of catching or developing any disease (contagious or otherwise), is intense, persistent, all-consuming and completely irrational. The fear doesn’t go away – even following medical examination resulting in the confirmation of a clean bill of health it’s still there!
As with most specific fears, if an individual continues to live with Nosophobia, in all likelihood it will eventually affect the mental and physical health of the person not to mention the quality of life.
No one need battle with nosophobia, the fear disease, as there are some amazing treatment programs that really do work.
It’s important we don’t confuse this phobia with hypochondriasis which is the fear that the physical symptoms currently present are manifestations of an undiagnosed disease. It also goes by the names of nosemaphobia and pathophobia. In recent years it also become recognised as cyberchondria too. This is because of increasing role that Doctor Google plays in the diagnosis of illness!
The fear of disease is seen to be particularly common among students of medicine who believe that they have the symptoms of diseases they are studying about. It’s actually also known as Medical Students Disease!
Frequent exposure to sickness is also a common cause of nosophobia, as are traumatic experiences in one’s life that are related to specific sicknesses. This tendency is also likely to have been passed over by a member of the family who was more than obsessed about his/her health and the phobia is felt more among those individuals who are anxious about long-term health-related issues. Nosophobia may also be a result of other pre-existing phobias that are already present in the individual.
Symptoms of nosophobia can be emotional, mental and physical. Physical symptoms of nosophobia include panic attacks, dizziness, shortness of breath, sweating, chest pain, and nausea. This is not a definitive list, there can be other symptoms too. A nosophobia victim will avoid going to the doctor for the fear of being diagnosed with a disease.
A sufferer of the phobia feels uncontrollable anxiety when he/she thinks about a sickness or is exposed to any illness of any kind. The patients have the feeling that they have to do everything possible to avoid illness and situation related to illness. This could be something like visiting a sick friend or relative. They are so overwhelmed with the thought of avoiding disease that they cannot function normally most of the time.
The patient may even know that the fear is completely unreasonable but often feels powerless to control them. Feeling of losing control, feelings of detachment from oneself, conjuring images of sicknesses in the mind most of the time are common symptoms that the patients of the phobia have. Most patients of nosophobia exhibit elevated levels of anger, sadness, guilt, hurt or any other related emotion.
You weren’t born with particular fears or anxiety – instead you have developed them along your life journey so far. In very simple terms Hypnotherapy works by re-setting the mind to produce the rational response to a specific situation or environment that you had before the phobia was initially triggered off. Find Out More >
Neuro-linguistic programming or NLP combines neurology and linguistics and creates a sort of programming that helps people change their thinking habits, help them deal with anxiety, stress, depression and overcome particular fears. In short, this means taking a specific fear or phobia and disassociating and reframing the experience to prevent the irrational response. Find Out More >
In simple terms Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT as it’s more commonly referrred to, is a talking therapy which takes your specific issue, fear or specific phobia and focusses on your thoughts, beliefs and attitudes and how they affect your behaviour and emotions in respect of this issue. It takes on the notion that your thoughts (cognition) creates emotions which, in turn, controls our reactions (behaviour). Find Out More >
If the mere thought of catching some form of disease fills you with fear and terror then take a look at one of our recommended, self-help treatment programs that are all guaranteed, proven and effective.