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Knowledge Base » Mental Health » What is Nosocomephobia?

What is Nosocomephobia?

Last updated on 3rd May 2023

Nosocomephobia, an extreme fear of hospitals, is a type of specific phobia that can result in physiological and psychological symptoms when a person goes to the hospital or thinks about going to the hospital. It can also result in avoidance behaviours that stop someone from seeking medical treatment.

It is thought that up to 50% of people experience some form of fear or anxiety when visiting a hospital. However, it is unknown how many of these people are experiencing nosocomephobia.

Today, we are going to look at nosocomephobia in more detail, including common symptoms, triggers and treatments.

What is Nosocomephobia?

Nosocomephobia is the intense, overwhelming and irrational fear of hospitals. Although hospitals are frequently involved in life-saving and life-changing events and treatments, they are most commonly associated with illness, pain, fear and death. This can result in someone engaging in negative or harmful patterns of thought surrounding hospitals which can result in negative emotions such as fear, anxiety and panic.

Although some level of fear, nervousness or anxiety before going to a hospital is normal, it can be difficult to determine if you are experiencing a true phobia. Some negative thoughts and feelings towards hospitals are to be expected.

However, a person with nosocomephobia will:

  • Experience extreme fear, panic or anxiety when faced with the possibility of going to the hospital.
  • Experience feelings of fear, panic or anxiety even if they are going to the hospital to visit someone else.
  • Experience feelings of fear, panic or anxiety that are difficult to control or manage.
  • Avoid hospitals, even in situations where they require medical treatment, are in pain or there may be a risk to their health or wellbeing.
  • Experience anticipatory anxiety or worry at the possibility of going to a hospital.

A person will not be classified as having nosocomephobia if they experience one occurrence where they were scared to go to a hospital. The symptoms of nosocomephobia must have been present for at least six months to be classified as a phobia.

Nosocomephobia is a type of specific phobia. A specific phobia is a lasting, overwhelming and unreasonable fear of a specific object, situation, activity or person, in this case, an overwhelming fear of hospitals. To be categorised as nosocomephobia, the fear of hospitals must be irrational, overwhelming and persistent.

Nosocomephobia may be connected to a specific fear relating to hospitals, including:

  • A fear of dying
    Many people associate hospitals with death and dying, possibly because a family member or friend has died while in hospital. This can cause a negative association between death and hospitals and can make a person afraid of going into a hospital as they believe they could die there. This type of fear may be more likely to occur if a loved one died unexpectedly in the hospital or if a death in a hospital occurred during childhood or adolescence. Nosocomephobia can exist in conjunction with thanatophobia – an extreme fear of death.
  • A fear of doctors
    This involves a fear of doctors and other medical hospital staff, such as nurses, physician associates and medical students. A specific fear of doctors (iatrophobia) usually involves the fear of all doctors, whereas people with nosocomephobia may only experience fear and anxiety relating to doctors who work in a hospital. A fear of doctors can be connected to the setting they work in, the treatments and procedures they do, their uniform, personal protective equipment (PPE) and the instruments and equipment they use.
  • A fear of the hospital building
    Some people with nosocomephobia do not fear doctors or medical treatment and may be able to attend other medical settings without experiencing a phobic response. Instead, their fear could be attached to the hospital building, possibly because of a previously painful or traumatic experience they had at a hospital.
  • A fear of medical treatments
    Some people develop a phobia of hospitals because they are fearful of the types of treatments that are done at hospitals. The fear, anxiety and panic they feel when faced with having treatment could cause a negative association between treatment and the hospital itself and result in a phobia that prevents them from visiting the hospital, even if they do not require treatment, for example, if they are going to the hospital to visit a loved one.
  • A fear of blood
    Someone with haemophobia – link to haemophobia article when published – (an extreme fear of blood) often experiences fear in situations or places that they associate with blood or that they might encounter blood. Because hospitals are so closely associated with blood, or a person with haemophobia may have previously experienced bleeding in the hospital, following an accident, injury or surgery, their fear of blood may extend to a fear of hospitals which develops into nosocomephobia.
  • A fear of pain
    Many people associate hospitals and medical treatment with pain, particularly if they have previously experienced pain while in a hospital or are particularly sensitive to pain. A negative association between pain and the hospital can result in a person developing nosocomephobia.
  • A fear of needles
    A person who is scared of needles or has trypanophobia, an extreme fear of needles in a medical setting, may also develop a fear of places and situations where they may encounter needles, including hospitals.
  • A fear of the noises associated with hospitals
    A hospital has very specific noises, such as the beeping of monitoring machines and the sound of emergency alarms. These noises can result in an unwelcome physiological and psychological response which can have a negative impact on a person’s mental wellbeing. Someone can begin to feel fear, anxiety or panic when they hear or think about these sounds and can experience a phobic response.
  • A fear of the smells associated with hospitals
    Smells such as disinfectant and cleaning materials, hospital food and blood can be strongly associated with hospitals. Certain smells can create an instant anxiety response, particularly if the smells are connected to a stressful, painful or fearful memory.
  • A fear of germs, bacteria and infections
    Hospitals are often referred to as a breeding ground for germs and infections, with superbugs, bacteria and viruses spreading easily. Although hygiene practices have improved exponentially in recent years, the fear of germs and bacteria or of catching a virus or infection can cause someone to develop nosocomephobia. A person who has mysophobia (also known as germaphobia), an extreme fear of germs, could develop nosocomephobia alongside their existing phobia.
Nosocomephobia can include smells of hospitals being triggering

How common is nosocomephobia?

Nosocomephobia is one of the most frequently diagnosed specific phobias. In fact, the number of people with nosocomephobia is thought to be on the rise following the Covid-19 pandemic, where we were regularly warned not to attend hospitals, unless in the case of an emergency, and where frequent stories were reported in the media of people catching Covid-19 whilst in hospital and dying.

Accurate statistics of how many people have a phobia of hospitals are not readily available.

It is thought that up to 50% of people experience some level of fear, worry or anxiety before visiting a hospital. However, negative thoughts and feelings towards hospitals can occur on a spectrum, ranging from low levels of fear and anxiety to severe fear, panic and anxiety that can impact your ability to function in your day-to-day life and can impact your decision-making, resulting in avoidance behaviours and affecting your overall health and wellbeing. This can make it difficult to determine exactly how many people are experiencing nosocomephobia.

Additionally, many people with phobias never seek a diagnosis for their condition, which affects the accuracy of phobia statistics. Many people with nosocomephobia engage in avoidance behaviours whereby they avoid going to the hospital, either for their own treatment or to visit a loved one. Someone who implements avoidance behaviours may be less likely to seek a diagnosis for their nosocomephobia.

Who is at risk of nosocomephobia?

There are several risk factors that can increase your likelihood of developing nosocomephobia, including:

  • Having another related phobia, such as iatrophobia, haemophobia or thanatophobia.
  • Having a history of anxiety, depression, panic attacks or another relevant mental health disorder.
  • Having a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with nosocomephobia.
  • Having a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, with another phobia.
  • Having sensory difficulties, for example, being sensitive to loud noises, strong smells or bright lights.
  • Having a negative, traumatic or painful experience involving a hospital.
  • Being exposed to a fear of hospitals during childhood or adolescence.
  • Experiencing physical, mental or sexual assault or abuse, bullying or violence.
  • Being a naturally more anxious or fearful person.
  • Experiencing high levels of stress or a recent significant life stressor.
  • Having a substance use disorder.
  • Having a lack of social support.
  • Having a lack of trust in medical professionals.
  • Hearing scary or traumatic stories involving hospitals or hospital treatments.

However, even if you have several of the above risk factors, this does not necessarily mean you will develop nosocomephobia. For example, an individual whose parent has nosocomephobia and has also previously experienced abuse may never develop a phobia of hospitals themselves. On the other hand, a person with none of the above risk factors may develop nosocomephobia.

Nosocomephobia can develop at any age; although, similar to other phobias, it is more likely to develop during childhood and adolescence.

How to deal with nosocomephobia

Many people with nosocomephobia think that the best way to deal with their phobia is to avoid their triggers, specifically by avoiding hospitals. However, although you may be able to avoid hospitals most of the time, there is a high likelihood that there will be an event or situation at some point that necessitates that you visit a hospital.

If you never address your phobia, you may find yourself avoiding life-saving treatment or not visiting a loved one who is terminally ill in hospital. Additionally, if you are ever involved in an accident and are rushed to the hospital, experiencing a phobic response while already under medical distress could be detrimental. Failure to address your phobia could result in your symptoms becoming more severe in the future.

There are certain coping strategies that you can employ, some of which can be implemented long term and some of which can be implemented short term. Coping strategies can help you to reduce and alleviate the symptoms of your phobia and reduce the impact it has on your day-to-day life and overall wellbeing. They can also help you to reduce avoidance behaviours and help you to manage your phobia more successfully.

Some long-term and short-term coping strategies that are effective in dealing with nosocomephobia are:

  • Learn about your phobia
    Thinking about what initially caused you to develop nosocomephobia and what your triggers are can help you to understand your phobia and rationalise your thoughts and emotions. This can help you to manage your symptoms more effectively and address the root cause of your fear, and any negative patterns of thought that exist.
  • Educate yourself
    Learning about the importance of hospitals and the different types of treatments and care offered by a hospital can help you to understand more about how a hospital functions and why they are so vital. This can help you to rationalise your thoughts and fears. You could also look at some statistics of the number of lives that are saved every year in hospitals across the UK and the number of successful treatments that are administered. Focusing on positive information and statistics instead of negative information can help to remove some of the negative connotations you have attached to hospitals.
  • Create a fear ladder
    A fear ladder can help you to analyse your phobia and determine whether certain scenarios or objects related to hospitals create more severe fear and anxiety than others. A fear ladder organises your triggers from least severe to most severe.
    For example, your fear ladder can look like this:
    – 1 = Staying overnight in hospital.
    – 2 = Having a medical treatment that involves an anaesthetic in a hospital.
    – 3 = Going to the hospital for a check-up or outpatient appointment.
    – 4 = Visiting a family member or friend in the hospital.
    – 5 = Entering the grounds of a hospital.
    – 6 = Speaking to a member of hospital staff on the phone.
    – 7 = Watching a film or video of someone in the hospital.
    Once you have created your fear ladder, you can then tackle your triggers one at a time, starting at the bottom of the ladder (the situation that results in the lowest phobic response). This can help you to build up the tolerance of your triggers gradually.
  • Challenge negative thoughts
    Negative thoughts can exacerbate your symptoms and worsen your phobia. Remind yourself that the risks are minimal and that you are not in danger. If you begin to experience symptoms of nosocomephobia, remind yourself that the feelings will soon pass and that your fear is irrational.
  • Avoid negative or scary stories about hospitals
    Hearing negative stories on the news or from family or friends about hospitals and doctors can increase your negative thoughts and feelings and increase your fear response to your triggers. Removing yourself from situations where negative stories are being discussed, turning off the TV or informing your family and friends of your phobia so they are more aware of what they say can be beneficial.
  • Speak to your GP
    Informing your GP of your phobia can ensure that the information is included in your medical notes and is available if you are ever admitted to the hospital in the future. Your GP can then ensure your fear and anxiety are taken into consideration and you are treated accordingly.
  • Implement distraction techniques
    If you are in a triggering situation or are told that you need to attend a hospital, implementing distraction techniques can help to reduce your physiological and psychological responses to your trigger. Some distraction techniques you could implement include listening to music, engaging in conversation, reading, playing a game or focusing on something external, such as other people. Implement the distraction techniques in the lead-up to going to the hospital and while you are there.
  • Implement visualisation techniques
    Visualisation has been found to be an effective coping strategy for reducing the symptoms of phobias. When faced with your trigger, visualising a place or memory that keeps you calm or elicits positive emotions can help to alleviate your symptoms. Examples could include your favourite places, such as a beach or park, or your favourite memory with someone you love.
  • Practise yoga, meditation or mindfulness
    Yoga, meditation and mindfulness teach you how to control your breathing and your body’s response to your triggers. This can help you to feel more in control and calm and reduce the physiological and psychological responses you may have when faced with going to a hospital. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness are long-term coping strategies that can improve your phobia over a period of time.
  • Practise deep breathing techniques
    Deep breathing is an effective way of lowering stress and relieving tension in your body. This is because it sends a message to your brain to relax and calm down. Breathing exercises are proven to help reduce anxiety. They can also help you to control your central nervous system, which is central to your phobic responses. Practise deep breathing before and during your visit to the hospital.
  • Implement lifestyle changes
    There are multiple lifestyle factors that can aggravate the symptoms of your nosocomephobia. For example, lack of sleep and unnecessary stress can worsen anxiety and make your symptoms worse. Implementing a sleep routine and taking steps to reduce your everyday stress can help to reduce the severity of your phobia both short term and long term. Other lifestyle factors that could help you deal with your nosocomephobia include eating a healthy, balanced diet and increasing the amount of exercise you do. In the lead-up to visiting a hospital, avoiding alcohol, caffeine, sugar and other stimulants can also be beneficial, as these have been found to increase your heart rate and blood pressure and worsen both your physiological and psychological reactions to your triggers.

What triggers nosocomephobia?

Nosocomephobia can have different triggers for different people. Your triggers can vary, depending on what initially caused you to develop a phobia, your perception of danger, the severity of your symptoms and your current mental health and mindset.

Some of the most common triggers of nosocomephobia include:

  • Going to a hospital, either as a patient or a visitor.
  • Being told you need treatment or a consultation at a hospital.
  • Going into the grounds of a hospital or driving past a hospital.
  • Becoming ill, obtaining an injury or experiencing symptoms that make you feel like you may need to visit a hospital.
  • Visiting another medical setting, such as a GP surgery or a clinic.
  • Hearing sounds you associate with a hospital, such as the sound of beeping or alarms.
  • Smelling something you associate with a hospital, such as disinfectant, antiseptic or blood.
  • Seeing a video, picture, TV show or film involving a hospital.
  • Thinking about going to the hospital or recalling a traumatic memory involving a hospital.
Suffering with psychological symptoms of fear in hospital

What are the symptoms of nosocomephobia?

The symptoms of nosocomephobia can vary from person to person. Some people experience severe symptoms, whereas others experience mild symptoms. It could also be that the severity of your symptoms varies from situation to situation, with some people experiencing more severe symptoms at different times, depending on their triggers, their perceived risk and threat of danger, and their current mental and emotional health and wellbeing.

The symptoms of nosocomephobia can be similar to the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.

The symptoms can be both physiological and psychological and can include:

Physiological Symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate, heart palpitations or feeling like your heart is pounding.
  • Rapid or shallow breathing, hyperventilating or difficulty breathing.
  • Excessive or unusual sweating.
  • Muscle tension.
  • Nausea, vomiting or an upset stomach.
  • Feeling light-headed or dizzy.
  • A dry mouth.
  • Shaking or trembling.
  • Elevated blood pressure.
  • A choking sensation, feeling like you can’t swallow or that something is stuck in your throat.
  • Chest pain or tightening or feeling like something is stuck in your chest.
  • Feelings of confusion or disorientation.
  • Chills or hot flushes.
  • Unusual redness or paleness, particularly in the face.
  • Insomnia or sleeping difficulties, particularly in the lead-up to going to the hospital.
  • A loss of appetite, particularly in the lead-up to going to the hospital.
  • Numbness or tingling in your body.
  • Unusual or severe headaches.

Psychological Symptoms:

  • Extreme and overwhelming feelings of fear, anxiety or panic.
  • Engaging in avoidance behaviours.
  • Experiencing a panic attack if you see a hospital or at the thought of going into a hospital.
  • Experiencing nightmares about going to the hospital or in the lead-up to going to the hospital.
  • Experiencing anticipatory anxiety in the lead-up to going to the hospital.
  • The urge to run away or hide.
  • Feeling defenceless or vulnerable.
  • Feeling like you are losing control.
  • Feeling trapped and unable to escape.
  • Feeling detached from reality.
  • Being unable to function normally when faced with going into a hospital.
  • Being unable to control your negative thoughts or feelings, even if you are aware that they are out of proportion with the danger.
  • Having a sense of impending doom.
  • Feeling like you are going to die.

What causes nosocomephobia?

There are multiple possible causes of nosocomephobia, with different people’s phobias being caused by different things. In some cases, it could be that multiple factors caused you to develop nosocomephobia, whereas other people can pinpoint one clear cause.

Some people with nosocomephobia find it difficult to determine exactly what caused them to develop a fear of hospitals. However, being aware of the origin of your phobia can help you to address the root cause and any negative thought processes or feelings that are attached to the initial onset of your phobia.

Some of the most common causes of nosocomephobia include:

  • A traumatic or negative experience involving a hospital
    Someone who has had a previous negative, traumatic or painful experience at a hospital may develop nosocomephobia. This could be an experience that happened in childhood or adulthood and could include a loved one dying in hospital, experiencing pain, distress or fear whilst in hospital yourself, or witnessing a scary event such as an attempted revival using a defibrillator. A traumatic experience, whether direct, meaning it happened to you, or indirect, meaning you witnessed the event happening to someone else, can result in a person developing nosocomephobia.
  • A negative portrayal of hospitals or doctors
    This negative perception can come from stories you have heard from friends or family, media reports and even TV shows or movies. We often hear in the news about failing hospitals and incidents and deaths are reported widely in the media. This can result in you becoming distrustful and fearful of hospitals and medical staff. TV shows such as Grey’s Anatomy and Holby City also dramatise events that happen in a hospital and the mistakes that are made. This can also contribute to the negative perception. People are often much more likely to share negative stories compared to positive stories, meaning you may be more likely to hear about things that went wrong. A negative perception of hospitals can develop into a phobia if steps are not taken to disassociate from the negative.
  • Fear rumination
    This is when you engage in a repetitive negative thought process and persistently and/or repetitively recap a traumatic or scary experience involving a hospital. Over time, these thoughts and memories can become increasingly distressing and intrusive and can make you remember your time in the hospital as being more traumatic, painful or scary than it actually was. Fear rumination reinforces your natural fear responses and can result in you developing nosocomephobia.
  • A learned phobia
    Known as an observational learning experience, many people learn to feel fear or anxiety because of their exposure to another person’s fear or anxiety. A learned phobia is more likely to occur if you are exposed to the fear during childhood or adolescence. If a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, has nosocomephobia, you are more likely to develop the condition yourself.
  • Exposure to negative information
    Known as an informational learning experience, this is where you are exposed to information that scares you. This information can then create a fear response which can develop into a phobia. For example, hearing statistics such as the number of people that die in hospitals or the number of medical malpractice cases that occur every year can cause you to attach negative connotations to hospitals and doctors.
  • Hypersensitivity to pain
    People who are hypersensitive to pain may have an extreme, negative response to pain or the possibility of pain. The increased pain they feel when having any medical treatments can result in them developing a negative association between hospitals, medical treatments and pain. This can then develop into a phobic response.
  • Previously experiencing sexual or physical assault, rape or violence
    A traumatic experience such as assault or rape, whether in childhood or adulthood, can result in a person developing nosocomephobia. The traumatic experience can result in a fear of losing control, being vulnerable or defenceless, people touching them or them undergoing a medical procedure.
  • Experiencing significant stress
    Significant, long-term stress can result in a disproportionate fear response or an inability to manage intense situations. This can make it more likely that you will develop a phobia. A stressful and distressing event, such as a death, can also trigger a phobia, as people may be less able to manage their emotions and thought processes when experiencing grief.

What are the potential complications of nosocomephobia?

Nosocomephobia can negatively impact both your physical and psychological health. Having an extreme fear of hospitals can stop you from getting medical care and treatment when you need it. Some people with nosocomephobia refuse to visit a hospital even in life-threatening situations, meaning they do not get the treatment they need. This could result in an illness, medical condition or injury worsening and could even result in death.

Nosocomephobia can also prevent you from visiting loved ones in the hospital. If your fear of hospitals occurs even when it is not you that requires treatment, you may lose the opportunity to say goodbye to someone you love or be unable to offer them support when they need it. This can cause emotional distress and regret and have a negative impact on your mental health.

Some people with nosocomephobia have such an extreme fear of hospitals that it impacts their decision to have children. The possibility of needing to go to a hospital for childbirth, prenatal appointments or treatment leads them to decide not to have children.

How is nosocomephobia diagnosed?

Many people feel fear, anxiety or nervousness when going into the hospital. Because negative thoughts and feelings surrounding hospitals are common, someone with nosocomephobia may not realise that their fear of hospitals is extreme and overwhelming and out of proportion to the true risks. If someone is unaware that they are experiencing a phobia, they are less likely to seek a diagnosis.

If you experience negative patterns of thoughts, fear, anxiety or panic in relation to hospitals, you may be experiencing nosocomephobia.

However, if you are still unsure whether your fear qualifies as a phobia, consider whether:

  • Your fear and anxiety are out of proportion to the actual risks.
  • Your fear impedes your ability to function in your everyday life.
  • It has a negative impact on your quality of life.
  • Your symptoms occur when you are in a hospital or when you think about going to a hospital.
  • Your fear or anxiety causes you to avoid hospitals.
  • Your fear has a negative impact on your mental health or wellbeing.

If you think you could be experiencing nosocomephobia, you should visit your GP. To determine whether you are experiencing a true phobia, your GP will ask about your symptoms and look at your medical history, including whether you have previously experienced an anxiety disorder, panic disorder or another phobia or extreme fear and any other medical conditions you are diagnosed with.

Your GP will also look at any medications or supplements you take to ensure your symptoms cannot be explained by anything else. Your GP may also ask about your family history, such as whether you have any close family members with nosocomephobia.

Your GP may then refer you to a psychologist or another mental health professional.

The psychologist will likely conduct a phobia questionnaire to determine:

  • Your triggers.
  • The type of symptoms you experience.
  • The frequency and severity of your symptoms.
  • How much your phobia interferes with your everyday life.
  • When your phobia began and what caused the onset of symptoms.

To receive an official diagnosis of nosocomephobia, the psychologist will compare your symptoms to the diagnostic criteria for specific phobias.

Your symptoms will need to fit the seven key criteria listed below:

1. The fear must be persistent, excessive and unreasonable. It can occur either when you visit a hospital or at other times, such as when you think about hospitals.

2. Exposure to a hospital leads to an immediate anxiety response in the majority of situations.

3. The fear is excessive and disproportionate to the threat, and this is recognised by you.

4. You avoid hospitals where possible. If you visit a hospital, you will experience extreme fear, anxiety or distress.

5. The anticipation of visiting a hospital and the avoidance behaviours you may implement can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life.

6. The fear has lasted for a minimum of six months.

7. The phobia is not associated with another disorder or mental health condition.

If your symptoms fit the diagnostic criteria, you will receive a diagnosis of nosocomephobia. Depending on the severity of your phobia, you may be offered treatment.

Avoiding phone call from hospital due to noscomephobia

How is nosocomephobia treated?

There are multiple treatment options for someone with nosocomephobia. Treatment is not suitable and may not be recommended for all people. If your symptoms are mild and you have implemented successful coping strategies and your phobia does not have an impact on your day-to-day life or result in avoidance behaviours, you may not require formal treatment.

However, if your fear of hospitals results in you avoiding going to the hospital or seeking medical treatment or your symptoms are severe or occur frequently, treatment may be recommended.

Your doctor or psychologist will create a treatment plan that is personalised to you, your triggers and your symptoms.

Some of the considerations they will make when creating your treatment plan include:

  • How severe your symptoms are and how frequently they occur.
  • What the root cause of your phobia is.
  • How significantly your phobia impacts your life.
  • Your overall health and wellbeing, including your mental health.

Treatment for nosocomephobia often includes:

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT):

Cognitive behavioural therapy is a type of structured psychotherapy that is commonly referred to as talking therapy. It can be conducted as individual 1:1 sessions or as group sessions with other people with nosocomephobia. CBT can help you to identify and change your negative thought processes or negative and harmful thoughts surrounding hospitals.

CBT sessions can help you to understand and manage your thoughts, emotions and behaviours in relation to hospitals. It can also help you to address the root cause of your fear and overcome your phobia.

Your CBT will include:

  • Discussing your triggers and symptoms.
  • Exploring what caused your fear of hospitals.
  • Exploring your fears in more detail.
  • Learning how to recognise your negative thoughts and change the way you are thinking.
  • Learning coping strategies and calming strategies, such as deep breathing exercises, distraction techniques and coping statements.

Exposure Therapy:

Sometimes referred to as systematic desensitisation, exposure therapy enables you to confront your phobia gradually in a safe and controlled environment. As part of your therapy, your phobia will be assessed to help you create a fear ladder of scenarios and situations that are the least to the most triggering.

Exposure therapy helps you to address the negative thoughts and emotions you experience in relation to hospitals and can help you to change your physiological and psychological responses. You will also learn relaxation and coping techniques.

Your exposure will begin gradually, with a situation that creates the least phobic response, such as looking at a photo of a hospital or hospital treatment. Once you are comfortable with this level of exposure, you will then progress to the next level. You will eventually lead up to going into a hospital.


Hypnotherapy uses a combination of guided relaxation techniques and focused attention. It helps you to identify the root cause of your fear and helps you change your thought patterns and any negative feelings you have about hospitals. Hypnotherapy helps you to change your perception of situations and reduce your phobic response.

Hypnotherapy can repattern your thoughts, memories and feelings towards hospitals. It can also teach you calming strategies, such as deep breathing and relaxation techniques which can help you to reduce your symptoms in the future.


Medication is not a common treatment choice for phobias. However, it can be used in situations where you must go into hospital but cannot manage your phobia or if you also experience anxiety or depression alongside your nosocomephobia.

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About the author

Nicole Murphy

Nicole Murphy

Nicole graduated with a First-Class Honours degree in Psychology in 2013. She works as a writer and editor and tries to combine all her passions - writing, education, and psychology. Outside of work, Nicole loves to travel, go to the beach, and drink a lot of coffee! She is currently training to climb Machu Picchu in Peru.

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