Nosocomephobia is the irrational and illogical, extreme fear and aversion to hospitals.
Nosocomephobia is derived from both Latin and Greek words. comes’ is Latin for consequences or companion while Greek ‘nosos’ stands for diseases. Nosokomein is also the Greek word for hospital.
Some phobias are closely related to Nosocomephobia and they include: Hemophobia (fear of blood), Iatrophobia (the fear of doctors), Mysophobia (the fear of germs) , Thanatophobia (fear of death), trypanophobia (fear of needles), carcinophobia (the fear of cancer).
Nosocomephobia is a fairly common phobia among many people worldwide ranging from children to people in late adulthood; many people (including US President Richard Nixon) are known to suffer from it. If I go to a hospital, I’m fairly sure I wont come out of it alive.
To a reasonable extent, most people all afraid of hospitals, especially the emergency rooms.
Not only do hospitals diagnose illness, pain, blood, disease or death; they even usually result in huge monetary expenses.
Visiting a hospital means having to deal with sickness: yours, or someone else’s (directly of indirectly).
All things being equal, we find a way of dealing with this anxiety and calming the fears that evolves prior to visiting a hospital. Most people understand that it is a medical necessity and that one does not have a choice but to go through the process for a better health.
Unlike in Nosocomephobics though, the patient simply refuses and plainly stops going to a hospital and this often results in some very negative and sometimes severe consequences including death especially in case of major life threatening conditions/events.
Victims of nosocomephobia experiences a full blown panic and anxiety attack at the suggestion, sight or even thought of visiting a hospital as a result of which he/she simply refuses to visit one. Although most nococomephobics realize that their fear is irrational, they are powerless to control it.
CAUSES OF NOSOCOMEPHOBIA:
* One of the most likely reason behind this phobia is a negative or traumatic event associated with hospitals. Death, accident victims, diagnosis of a fatal disease of self or loved one might have occurred in hospitals and may have been perceived wrongly by the phobics subconscious mind. His brain then conditions the same response over and over each time he has to directly or indirectly “visits” a hospital.
* Hospitals are also known to be full of germs and germ carriers: most people are coughing, sneezing, vomiting etc. Mysophobes- people who have the extreme fear of germs or acquiring contagious diseases- have the extreme fear of hospitals due to this reason.
* Hospitals are often vivid reminders of some “scary” facts which is that life is short and that every one dies at one point or another. This can be a scary and difficult-to-deal with prospect for some people.
* The fear of hospitals could also be related to more prosaic issues: they usually have a particular antiseptic smell; there are bedpans, white sterile rooms, sharp instruments for prodding, hospital gowns with open backs, and ill roommates and so on. During medical examinations, one may have felt a lack of control and totally at the mercy of doctors and nurses, this might have made him/her feel humiliated or undignified in a hospital.
* Media reports, News or TV/Movies concerning hospital accidents are also likely to lead to the phobia. Unfortunately, this concern is not totally without basis- today medical malpractice and errors have become fairly routine occurrences. Even advanced western countries are known to have mistakenly administered wrong procedures despite all their best efforts. For people with nervous mindsets or adrenal insufficiency or those already suffering from other phobias, such reports can induce a permanent fear of hospitals.
SYMPTOMS OF NOSOCOMEPHOBIA:
The symptoms of the fear of hospitals phobia vary depending upon the intensity of fear which range from mild to extremely intense. Some Nosocomephobics experience the following physical and emotional symptoms:
* Full blow panic attack- running away, shaking, shivering, trembling
* Feeling nauseated
* Experiencing shallow or rapid breathing and elevated heart rate
* Excessive sweating
* Avoidance behavior- refusing to go to the hospital- this can often lead to very serious consequences.
* Feeling uncontrollable anxiety -the phobic might feel detached from reality or feel like he is going completely crazy.
TREATING FEAR OF HOSPITALS:
There are various methods and approaches to treating the fear of hospitals.
The most effective of them all is the combination therapy of medication, meditation and psychoanalysis.
Tranquillisers and antidepressants are common prescribed medication for nosocomephobes which have been sensitized.
Other methods include group therapy and counselling, hypnotherapy is another emerging and noninvasive and safe therapy that has proved effective in the last decades.
Ericksonian Hypnosis is an advanced form of hypnotherapy that indirectly sends messages through stories or metaphors to the more analytical patients with an extreme fear of hospitals.
NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming therapy is another modern method of treating many kinds of phobias. This therapy helps reprogram the unconscious mind to alter the thought process so that one re-learns not to fear hospitals.
In order to treat nosocomephobia, the phobic has to be open and receptive to treatment.
Neuro Linguistic Programming is also another approach to treating nosocomephobia as it helps reconstruct the mind and alter thoughts so that the affected individuals can relearn not to fear hospitals and lead healthy, normal and stress-free lives.