Nosocomephobia is an intense fear of hospitals. It’s a type of anxiety disorder that can cause symptoms and panic attacks. It may prevent you from getting important medical care or stop you from visiting loved ones. Nosocomephobia may be related to other fears, such as germs, disease, blood or needles. Certain types of therapy can help.
Nosocomephobia is an intense, overwhelming fear of hospitals. The condition is a specific phobia (fear), which is similar to anxiety disorder.
Many people are uncomfortable in hospitals. Hospitals are often associated with illness, pain and death. But most people can overlook those negative associations and visit a hospital when they need to.
People with nosocomephobia are overwhelmed by the fear. They might:
Nosocomephobia can have a negative impact on physical and emotional health. It can cause symptoms of extreme fear. It may stop you from getting the medical care you need. It can also prevent you from visiting ill loved ones, which can have lasting emotional effects.
Like all phobias, people with nosocomephobia may understand that the feelings are irrational, but not be able to control them.
Nosocomephobia, like acrophobia (fear of heights) and aerophobia (fear of flying), is more common than some other phobias. It can affect people of any age, starting in childhood or adulthood.
Nosocomephobia may be related to other specific phobias associated with hospitals and healthcare, including:
Mental health professionals aren’t sure what causes specific phobias like nosocomephobia. But it may be related to:
A person with nosocomephobia may experience symptoms of anxiety or panic when they think about, see or visit a hospital. A mild fear of doctors is called “white coat syndrome.” This occurs when a person’s blood pressure rises around healthcare providers or in medical facilities.
Full-on nosocomephobia may cause:
Many people are uncomfortable in hospitals. But nosocomephobia is an intense, overwhelming fear that affects your behavior and decisions. If you think you may have a phobia, talk to your healthcare provider or mental health specialist.
Although no tests can diagnose nosocomephobia, a healthcare provider can diagnose a specific phobia based on discussions with you about:
Diagnosis depends on whether your fear:
People with mild nosocomephobia may not need treatment. But the fear can cause symptoms, interfere with medical care or stop you from visiting ill loved ones. So, some people need help facing this fear.
Nosocomephobia treatment may include:
Mental health professionals don’t fully understand the causes of specific phobias like nosocomephobia, so there’s no proven way to prevent it.
However, if you have a phobia, you may develop or already have other anxiety disorders, such as panic disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It’s important to work with your healthcare provider to manage any symptoms of your first anxiety disorder to prevent others.
You may be able to lower your risk of nosocomephobia by:
There’s no cure for nosocomephobia, but therapy helps the majority of people who practice it regularly.
Most people have to visit a doctor’s office or hospital at some point in their life. Certain strategies can help you manage the fear and anxiety so you can go to a hospital when necessary. It might help to:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Nosocomephobia is an anxiety disorder that involves an intense, overwhelming fear of hospitals. It can cause symptoms of extreme anxiety or fear and prevent you from getting the medical care you need. Working with a therapist and practicing techniques to manage anxiety can help.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/15/2022.
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