When it comes to the fear of sick people it’s first important we’re not confusing it with a number of closely related specific fears and phobias. Namely:
- Emetophobia: This is is the fear of vomiting or seeing others being sick. It’s a relatively common phobia which we have introduced in our article Fear of Vomiting.
- Nosophobia (or nosemaphobia): This is an overwhelming and all-pervading fear of developing a disease. Read about Nosophobia in our article Fear Of Disease.
- Hypchhondriasis: Is the fear that existing symptoms are the result of a yet to be diagnosed disease.
A fear of sick people is a little different to the above. It’s about feeling overwhelmingly uncomfortable around sick people, not knowing what to say or how to act, becoming paranoid about catching the illness (even if it’s not contagious at all) and hence avoiding these situations completely.
Yes … it can be associated with either or both Emetophobia or Nosophobia but it’s a very different fear in its own right.
Fear Of Sick People – Causes
Being around sick people on some occasions in our lives is completely unavoidable. A loved one, a friend or family member may be ill and you are required to help or support. Paying a visit to someone close to you in hospital may be expected. When you think about it there’s lots of other scenarios too.
To most people this doesn’t represent a problem. They visit to show sympathy, to help and to support. To them it’s natural to want to help with the recovery process and to bring a little happiness when it’s needed – often in the form of flowers and gifts. In other words, they know what to do, what to say and how to act.
To others though this situation doesn’t bare thinking about. They feel intensely uncomfortable, they feel awkward, they don’t know what to do, say or how to act and they selfishly fear for their own health.
Obviously, they know it’s irrational and want to be understanding and supportive and often hate themselves for feeling this way. The fact of the matter is that they can’t change and so avoidance is the best policy and this has a knock on effect of a deterioration in relationships.
As to the cause of the fear of sick people – every case is different and cause wide ranging.
As mentioned earlier, it could be as a result of another specific fear such as vomiting, illness or even a fear of hospitals. There could be a historical negative association with doctors, hospitals or medical centres behind the fear. It could be the fear of getting sick yourself. Or it could be an uncomfortable feeling or one of disgust in respect of bodily processes going wrong.
Numerous other triggers, specific in each case, can also be behind the phobia.
Fear Of Sick People – Symptoms
Symptoms very much vary depending on the severity of each case. As the fear of sick people is a form of anxiety traditional anxiety symptoms can manifest themselves. This includes:
- Feelings of anxiousness, fear and panic.
- Panic attacks
- Sweating and perspiration
- Hyperventilation, rapid breathing or shortness of breath
- Palputations and irregular heartbeat
- Shaking and trembling
- Feeling sick
The list goes on …
Perhaps the most important symptom is the intense desire to avoid the situation at all costs. This means that loved ones who need a visit, who expect you to be there to support and who want to see you can’t understand why the reluctance or why you don’t appear as though you want to be there.
This is one phobia that does need to be overcome. You’ll never avoid the fact that, at regular times throughout your life, you’re going to HAVE to face these fears.
That doesn’t mean you’ll have to put yourself in danger of becoming ill yourself if that’s what’s holding you back. If the sickness is contageous then guidelines should be followed and precauttaken against the spread of illness. But, if the fear is intense but irrational then you need to do something about it.
There are a number of options. Perhaps the best one is some form of therapy. Cognitive Bevavioural Therapy is probably the most widely used. This is a form of discussion therapy which is designed to change the brains nautural reactions to situations. It is widely recognised as a cure for most fears, phobias and forms of anxieties.
As we’re talking about an irrational fear we know it stems from the mind. This is why hypnotherapy can also work incredibly well. Hypnotherapy targets the sub-conscious mind – the part of the brain that produces the reaction to all stimuli. The fight, flight or freeze reactions if you like. Through hypnotherapy the brain can be re-programmed to automatically respond to specific fears in a rational manner and hence provide a cure for a fear of sick people and any other phobia.
Hypnosis To Treat Fear Of Sick People
There’s actually a self-hypnosis program that’s specifically designed to cure this phobia. It’s aptly called Overcome Fear Of Sick People. The program is a self-hypnosis audio download that you can listen to over and over again – in your own time and in a place to suit you. Not only is it highly effective at less that $15 it’s a fraction of the cost of face to face therapy.
Of course, nothing works for everyone but we feel this on’e really worth a try.
You can find out more and access the program by following the links below: