What is Lab Test Anxiety?
Lab test anxiety, known as medical test anxiety, occurs when you have physical and emotional symptoms before and during lab testing. Lab test anxiety can be associated with the fear of doctors or medical personnel.
Lab test anxiety is an actual medical condition. Symptoms of lab test anxiety can range from mild uncomfortableness to severe phobia (diagnosed fear) called Iatrophobia.
Medical test anxiety can be severe, causing people to avoid the doctor for simple preventative care. This avoidance can lead to avoidable acute and chronic medical conditions.
It is essential to understand why individuals might have test anxiety so that a coping mechanism can be learned to complete necessary medical testing.
What Factors Contribute to Lab Test Anxiety?
The following factors can contribute to causing lab test anxiety:
- Health anxiety and fear in medical settings
- Pandemic fears
- Fear of needles
- Social Anxiety
- Price fears
- Overwhelmed by limited timeframes
Underlying anxiety disorders are factors that can contribute to lab test anxiety. People diagnosed with general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder are more at risk of developing medical lab test anxiety. People with anxiety disorders have overactive parts of the brain that create higher perceived risks; even though, in reality, there is none or a very minimal threat. Generalized anxiety disorders can manifest as health anxiety and fear related to lab testing.
The pandemic increased anxiety worldwide. People not diagnosed with anxiety suddenly felt fearful about everyday tasks and leaving the house to get medical care. Pandemic fears contribute to lab test anxiety and make those with social anxiety more afraid about going outside their homes.
The fear of catching COVID, giving it to others, or being exposed, are valid concerns among people with lab test anxiety. When you get lab testing done in a healthcare environment, the medical professionals will keep the area clean and follow all healthcare protocols.
Fear of Needles
The fear of needles is a common cause of lab test anxiety and is called trypanophobia. This phobia is characterized as an excessive fear of needles, which may be so severe that it stops people from seeking medical care and treatments.
The fear of being judged by a doctor may also influence lab test anxiety. Some people may not get lab testing for fear that the results will be considered. All doctors are trained on ethical standards, not being judgemental, and providing equal care to all patients.
Finding affordable, convenient healthcare is a common lab test anxiety factor. People may be fearful of the cost of laboratory testing. Many lab tests are covered by insurance plans, which helps to reduce costs. Being proactive about your health is less expensive since you avoid turning minor problems into more significant, costly issues that may need to be treated immediately.
Lab test anxiety is exacerbated when a person cannot find convenient locations for medical treatments. Telehealth appointments can make getting lab testing easy and convenient. Your AccoladeCare doctor can provide a lab testing order to a testing site near your home. If you cannot find a lab testing site near you, our Care Team can help you find a convenient location. Our Care Teams consist of a care coordinator, nurse, and physician.
You can schedule appointments at many lab testing places using the AccoladeCare app. Overcoming lab test anxiety can be easy with the right tools, coping skills, and resources.
How to Overcome Lab Test Anxiety
- Find the root cause of your lab test anxiety.
- Rethink “bad” results.
- Take control of appointment times and choose a location where you are comfortable.
Finding ways to cope with lab test anxiety can be accomplished by getting familiar with your inner self and figuring out the root cause of the stress. Introspection involves taking a moment to listen to your body and mind to discover where the anxiety is coming from, how it feels inside your body, and ways to minimize the discomfort. Once you identify a source, you can work on ways to reduce your anxiety.
Knowledge is power when it comes to overcoming lab test anxiety. Understanding each lab test, why it is essential, and what will be done with the results are ways to reduce stress as you have more control over what is occurring. Being equipped with knowledge will reduce anxiety as you become more aware of the circumstances. Most fear is fear of the “unknown.” So if you “know” all of the “unknowns,” your anxiety will naturally reduce.
There is no such thing as a “bad” test result, only abnormal. Abnormal test results are used to guide your treatment so that you can get the best outcomes.
Typical test results give you the confidence and self-reassurance that everything is fine! If the results are of concern, then knowing the specific issue can empower you to take the right action.
To reduce pandemic fears, you can choose lab testing sites run by healthcare workers who know the importance of a clean environment and healthcare protocols to keep patients safe.
How Do I Deal with Anxiety Over a Medical Test?
How can I stop worrying about my blood test results?
- Practice focusing on the present moment and not the past or future. You cannot control the past or future, only how you react.
- Practice meditation or deep breathing techniques before your medical test.
- Practice distraction during the medical test by talking to a friend or family member.
- Count to 10 slowly and silently.
- Close your eyes and imagine a peaceful, relaxing place.
Talk to a Doctor or Therapist About Lab Test Anxiety
Lab test anxiety can affect your livelihood, especially if it prohibits you from getting preventive care. Lab tests help doctors plan your treatments and provide high-quality care. Avoiding medical tests can harm your health and, over time, could lead to the development of chronic illnesses and the costs associated with treatment.
The simple solution is to get lab testing with your primary care doctor. Prevention is key to good health outcomes. Talk with your AccoladeCare doctor or AccoladeCare therapist about your lab test anxiety.
MedlinePlus. How to Cope with Medical Test Anxiety. Accessed on June 11, 2022, at https://medlineplus.gov/lab-tests/how-to-cope-with-medical-test-anxiety/