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Overcoming Medical Phobias: How to Conquer Fear of Blood, Needles, Doctors, and Dentists Paperback – March 3, 2006
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"This book brings hope and help to a lot of peo ple who are suffer ing need lessly from fears of blood, injections, or medical procedures. It not only explains why these fears are there in the first place, but also gives the reader clear and solid solu tions to the problem.
Antony and Watling have done a tremendous job of synthesizing the best available scientific data and presenting it in a straight for ward, reader-friendly for mat. They take the reader step-by-step through the process, showing them why they feel the way they do and how to get better by facing their fears gradually."
—David F. Tolin, Ph.D., director of the Anxiety Disorders Center at The Institute of Living and assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine
“Of all phobias, medical fears are the most serious because they can stop people seeking life-saving medical care. Fortunately here is a book that outlines in a clear, stepwise manner a plan to help people with medical phobias. Drawing on the best available scientific knowledge of evidence-based therapies, the authors translate these treatments into a straight forward and potentially lifesaving program. In an easy-to-read style, the authors explain where medical fears come from and then what to do about them. For any one who avoids medical or dental care because of fear or because they may faint, there is no better place to begin treatment than with reading this book and then doing what it says. For psychologists and other mental health professionals, this book provides an excellent work book to use when work ing with people suffering from medical phobias.”
—Andrew Page, associate professor of psychology at the University of Western Australia in Crawley, Australia
From the Publisher
Written by anxiety expert Martin Antony and Mark Watling this easy-to-read and practical guide will teach readers who experience extreme fear in situations involving blood, injections, surgery, physicians, and dental procedures, how to understand and overcome their medical phobia.
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Top Customer Reviews
Wanting to overcome my fear, I bought this book. At first I wasn't thrilled with the idea of exposure therapy (and thought "so you mean the way to get over my fear is to look at and otherwise expose myself to the thing/situation I'm afraid of?"). However, since the book states that despite the fact that you'll initially feel uncomfortable, little by little, the discomfort will go away, I decided to push myself and give it a try.
I've been subjecting myself to as intense an exposure regimen as I could take for about a month and a half now (going from short, 5 minute exposures to diagrams and photographs on images.google.com 2 - 4 days per week to longer exposures to photographs and YouTube videos for 15 minutes 4 - 6 days per week)... And today, I graduated. My goal was to be able to go to the lab, sit down in "the chair" without any fuss, stick my arm out and get my blood drawn (without fainting or having to have my blood drawn lying down for fear of fainting). And that's exactly what I did.
Having my blood drawn is still not my favorite thing and I didn't look at the needle in my arm today but if I had to do it again next week, I could.
In short, if you have a medical phobia that you want to overcome, this approach works (and if you have a history of fainting, the skills you learn in the chapter about preventing fainting will do just that).
I wasn't surprised that they recommended a graduated approach of exposure to your phobia. So, for example, if you're afraid of needles, you might be told to look at increasingly more graphic images/videos of needles, preferably pre-screened by a friend or therapist. So far, I get it.
But they don't stop there. Ultimately they work up to recommending things like getting a physical exam each day for several days in a row if you're afraid of doctors (hey, not only is that terrifying...it's expensive!); or, if just afraid of needles, getting vaccinations that you mightn't ordinarily get (like for hepatitis) or getting a batch of blood test requisitions from your doc and then getting a blood test a day for several days in a row. A long, slow blood test, while you watch, without using any special coping strategies you may be used to using (like lying down or listening to music).
Oh and here's an image for you: "...let's suppose you conquered your fear of needles but later find yourself having blood drawn by an inexperienced lab technician who has to make five attempts to get the needle into your vein, causing a lot of distress and pain. Your fear of needles may be rekindled...it's essential that you make every attempt to get back into the situation as soon as possible."
This book is about exposure, exposure, exposure.
If you think that this exposure approach might work for you, then go ahead and buy this book. But, personally speaking, I was shaking as I read this book; couldn't fall asleep till 4:30 AM even after popping a xanax; and my heart is pounding even as I write this review. Oh great, now I have a new kind of phobia--reading about phobia treatments.
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