Nosophobia: symptoms, causes and treatment

Nosophobia: symptoms, causes and treatment

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All human beings can reach feel fear of illness and death at some point in our life; There is nothing strange about it. But sometimes, this fear is so high and uncontrollable that it can become a persistent phobia. Today we talk about a specific anxiety disorder It affects many people in their day. day: nosophobia.


  • 1 What is nosophobia?
  • 2 Causes of nosophobia
  • 3 Symptoms of nosophobia
  • 4 Difference between nosophobia and hypochondria
  • 5 Treatment of nosophobia

What is nosophobia?

The word nosophobia, is composed of the Greek terms "noso", which is translated as "disease" and "phobia", whose translation corresponds to "fear". As the name implies, nosophobia is the extreme fear of getting a deadly disease. This fear is irrational and uncontrollable and becomes a behavior to avoid those situations that could confirm the existence of the disease, such as medical consultation.

Although we can all feel a certain fear or "respect" for illnesses, nosophobic people are unable to control this fear that paralyzes and completely blocks them, making them unable to live a life in total normality.

Among some of the consequences, people suffering from nosophobia refuse to seek a medical opinion for fear of confirmation of their fears. This can make them spend long periods without going to health professionals, with the complicated results that this can lead to.

Usually, nosophobia is widely suffered by people whose professions or studies are linked to the field of health. This seems to be because close contact with diseases may have caused a sensitized reaction to them.

Causes of nosophobia

Like the rest of the phobias, nosophobia finds its cause in a combination of different external and internal factors. Among the external factors can be found various experiences that due to their traumatic characteristics may have conditioned a person to try to avoid similar stimuli. In this case, having lived a disease or near death or being related to a health context in which you see cases of constant diseases may have conditioned the person.

On the other hand, certain genetic or biological characteristics that can make some people more likely to have phobias.

Symptoms of nosophobia

People suffering from nosophobia experience excessive fear of deadly disease, such as AIDS or cancer. That is why any perceived symptom becomes associated with the dreaded deadly disease. The fear is such that these people often move away from medical opinions so as not to face confirmation.

As in all specific phobias, symptoms can be divided between physical, cognitive and behavioral. Some of the symptoms physicists that appear before the stimuli that cause the phobia are:

  • Restless breathing
  • Incrise of cardiac frecuency
  • Sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Sickness
  • Muscle tension

Cognitive symptoms

  • Irrational and obsessive ideation around the feared stimulus
  • High anxiety and stress
  • Lack of concentration and attention
  • Rumination of ideas
  • Feeling of loss of control

Behavioral symptoms

  • Avoidance of contexts that may be related to the dreaded disease, such as doctor's consultation
  • Avoidance of any information regarding diseases

Difference between nosophobia and hypochondria

Although the two disorders have one point in common: the fear of disease, there are notable differences between them. On the one hand, the hypochondriacal person believes reliably that he is suffering from a disease and looks for unconfirmed confirmation of his suspicions. That is why the patient goes to the doctor consistently in search of a professional corroboration and distrusts negative diagnoses or that are against their beliefs. Hypochondriacal people show great mental rigidity and live with the shadow of the hypothetical disease on a daily basis.

The nosophobic people Conversely, They fear the possible future contagion of a disease and avoid going to a medical consultation or review at any cost for fear of confirmation Of these suspicions. Thus, while the hypochondriacal person frequently goes to health centers, the nosophobic person can go years without checking. The nosophobic person also avoids being informed about diseases and does not usually live constantly with anxiety until he remembers or thinks about the subject again.

Nosophobia treatment

Nosophobia, like the rest of phobias, has an effective treatment. It is commonly recommended to go to a professional cognitive behavioral therapy to treat this condition and be able to lead a normal life again. In this type of psychological therapy of wide recognition, delves into identifying those irrational thoughts or beliefs that maintain harmful behavior, to subsequently restructure the patient's normative schemes and replace the ideas with more rational ones that manage to extinguish the behavior. Relaxation and meditation are also very important to carry out in this type of disorders, since they considerably improve the patient's quality of life. If you or someone you know shows signs that may indicate a condition of this disorder, do not hesitate to consult a psychological health professional.

Links of interest

The hypochondria: the imaginary patient. Marta Guerri. // blog / the-hypochondria-the-ill-imaginary /.

Phobias and panic attacks, what is its mechanism? Marta Guerri. // blog / phobias-and-panic-attacks-which-is-their-mechanism /


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