Mind & Mood

Tips to cope with medical test anxiety

Here are some ways to push past the fear and take control of your health.

By , Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

photo of a man trying to relax while having blood drawn for a lab test

It’s normal to be apprehensive about having a medical test, particularly one that can cause discomfort or pose some other risk. Even a simple blood test involves a moment of discomfort. Some people faint at the sight of the approaching needle; this intense fear of needles is called trypanophobia, and it leads some people to avoid blood tests, medication infusions, or vaccinations.

Some people worry about getting other medical tests, such as x-rays and CT scans, because they involve exposure to radiation. And being moved into the cramped confines of an MRI machine can spark panic for someone with claustrophobia (fear of being inside an enclosed space).

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About the Author

photo of Heidi Godman

Heidi Godman, Executive Editor, Harvard Health Letter

Heidi Godman is the executive editor of the Harvard Health Letter. Before coming to the Health Letter, she was an award-winning television news anchor and medical reporter for 25 years. Heidi was named a journalism fellow … See Full Bio
View all posts by Heidi Godman

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