What is Doctor Anxiety?

Doctor anxiety is a feeling of fear and dread that can occur when a person is about to visit their doctor or when they are in the doctor’s office. It is a common problem, especially among those who have chronic medical conditions or who have had bad experiences in the past. The anxiety can range from mild to severe, and can interfere with a person’s ability to receive the medical care they need.

What Causes Doctor Anxiety?

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to doctor anxiety. One of the most common is fear of the unknown. For those who have chronic medical conditions, there is often a fear of what the doctor might find or what treatments they may recommend. Additionally, some people may feel embarrassed or ashamed to discuss their medical issues with a professional.

Past experiences can also contribute to doctor anxiety. If a person has had a negative experience in the past, such as being dismissed or criticized by a doctor, they may be reluctant to return. Additionally, some people may feel intimidated by the doctor’s authority or expertise.

Signs and Symptoms of Doctor Anxiety

The signs and symptoms of doctor anxiety can vary from person to person. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling nervous or anxious before and during the appointment
  • Avoiding making or keeping appointments
  • Feeling overwhelmed or intimidated by the doctor
  • Difficulty concentrating during the appointment
  • Feeling embarrassed or ashamed to discuss medical issues
  • Difficulty understanding or remembering information
  • Feeling overwhelmed or confused by medical terminology

How to Manage Doctor Anxiety

Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies that can help people manage their doctor anxiety. Here are some tips for managing doctor anxiety:

  • Prepare for the appointment. Write down any questions or concerns you have prior to the appointment. Bring a list of your current medications and any relevant medical documents.
  • Talk to your doctor. Let your doctor know if you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed. They may be able to provide additional support or resources.
  • Take a friend or family member. Having a support person can help you feel more comfortable and relaxed.
  • Practice relaxation techniques. Deep breathing, mindfulness, and other relaxation techniques can help reduce anxiety.
  • Seek professional help. If your doctor anxiety is severe, consider seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor.


Doctor anxiety is a common problem that can interfere with a person’s ability to receive the medical care they need. Fortunately, there are a variety of strategies that can help people manage their doctor anxiety and make the experience less stressful. If you are experiencing doctor anxiety, talk to your doctor about it and consider seeking professional help.


What is doctor anxiety?

Doctor anxiety is a form of anxiety that can arise when a person visits a doctor or other medical professional. It can involve feelings of fear, dread, or panic about the visit and what might happen during it.

What are the symptoms of doctor anxiety?

Symptoms of doctor anxiety can include physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, racing heart, and difficulty breathing. It can also involve emotional symptoms such as fear, dread, and panic.

How can doctor anxiety be managed?

Doctor anxiety can be managed through a variety of strategies. These can include relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, visualization, and mindfulness. It can also involve talking to a therapist or counselor about the anxiety and developing a plan to manage it.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Lambert, N. M., & Lambert, V. A. (2013). Doctor anxiety: A neglected professional hazard. British Journal of Medical Practitioners, 6(2), e95.

McGaghie, W. C., Issenberg, S. B., Petrusa, E. R., & Scalese, R. J. (2010). A critical review of simulation-based medical education research: 2003-2009. Academic Medicine, 85(11), 1565-1575.