What kind of phobia is the fear of getting sick? Where does a strong fear of illness come from: reasons. How to get rid of the fear of illness: advice from a psychologist

Among phobias, the most common is the fear of contracting an incurable disease.
And although cardiovascular pathologies are in first place among the causes of death, more often people are afraid of getting cancer. There are a huge number of prerequisites for the development of cancerophobia. Recently, the number of cancer patients has been growing rapidly. Many of them face expensive and painful treatment, funds for which, as they say, are raised by the whole world. Sometimes it seems that cancer spreads as quickly as the flu, which is why people begin to fear this disease. Today the following situation has developed: fear of cancer (cancerophobia) is a more common pathology than cancer itself.

According to statistics, women are more likely to suffer from this disorder, since they are more emotional and more often “try on” the situation for themselves. If a loved one dies of cancer, they inevitably wonder: “What if this happens to me too?”

It is normal to worry about your health and be afraid of incurable diseases, but cancerophobia, like other types of phobias, is an irrational, greatly exaggerated fear. Very often, patients understand this, but cannot cope with the problem on their own.

What kind of phobia is the fear of getting sick?

Fear of getting sick
Fear of getting sick is called nosophobia. It represents a strong fear of getting sick, which affects a person’s life. It is difficult to overcome, but it is possible and even necessary. It is better, of course, to deal with the problem at an early stage so that the disease does not have time to develop.

Psychologists believe that nosophobia is very common. It is based on childhood fears or moral exhaustion. For example, it can appear in adults due to severe stress or stress on the nerves.

Disease phobia is different in that it is not directed at a specific object. This is a generalized syndrome that manifests itself as a fear of getting sick in general or with a specific disease.

If treatment is not started in time, then along with the phobia itself, psychosis begins to develop, which forces a person to become fixated on hygiene, as well as prevention. That is, he can wash his hands many times a day, avoid public places, and so on.

It is also important to determine whether you really have a phobia or whether your behavior is caused by other reasons. The fact is that it may not even be a phobia, but hypochondria, when a person discovers non-existent illnesses. That is, these are two different diseases. Or maybe you just didn’t think too much about your health before and then began to follow all the important rules, for example, after a serious illness. Then this behavior is normal.

As for nosophobia, it constantly begins to panic that this or that disease may occur. Thus, a hypochondriac discovers signs of various diseases, while a nosophobe invents a specific disease. According to experts, many people suffer from phobia. In the developed phase, it creates discomfort and deprives one of strength.


Nosophobia manifests itself in psychological and somatic symptoms. The first include:

  • excessive anxiety;
  • panic in situations that can provoke the development of the disease (according to the person);
  • depression, apathy, blues;
  • difficulties in communicating with other people;
  • limiting contacts.

The most common somatic signs of nosophobia are:

  • lack of appetite;
  • insomnia;
  • heart rhythm disturbance;
  • cardiopalmus;
  • feeling of lack of air;
  • lump in the throat;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • trembling of limbs;
  • heavy sweating;
  • chills;
  • headache;
  • nausea;
  • stomach upset;
  • dizziness;
  • frequent urge to urinate.

The more such manifestations, the stronger the belief in the presence of a particular disease. A person considers even banal fatigue a sign of serious pathology.

Nosophobia can be easily identified by its behavior:

  • undergoes medical examinations frequently and without reason;
  • frequently performs hygiene procedures and is extremely clean;
  • avoids sick people;
  • spends a lot of time reading medical literature or watching relevant television programs;
  • shows increased attention to well-being;
  • always preoccupied with clothes, selects them strictly according to the weather;
  • diagnoses himself and prescribes treatment.

Where does a strong fear of illness come from: reasons

Causes of nosophobia
Fear of getting sick can be associated with a variety of reasons.

Some of them are as follows:

  • Psychological traumas since childhood
  • The difficult death of a loved one
  • Too much impressionability
  • Severe stress
  • Hypochondria
  • Serious illness in the past
  • Fear of doctors

Most often, phobias are formed precisely from childhood psychological trauma. The child's psyche is very fragile and susceptible, and therefore any stress leaves an imprint on it, especially a strong one. Often nosophobia manifests itself due to parental overprotection. When a child is constantly wrapped up and told that he is about to get sick, he takes it to heart. And so he grows, but the guardianship does not stop and the parents are already starting to throw tantrums and swear about possible illnesses. Then the child tries not to upset his parents and is afraid of getting sick. As a result, he develops nosophobia.

Impressionable people, hypochondriacs, and asthenics tend to develop nosophobia. They do not have enough strength in everyday life to resist the world, and therefore they are afraid of many things. Another reason may be the death of a relative who has been ill for a very long time. This happens especially often when all the features are discussed in front of the child.

Of course, a person begins to fear illness when he was previously seriously ill. He's just exhausted. Gradually, the nervous system will recover, but the psyche will take a long time to perceive various events. Nosophobia can also arise from other fears. It is often associated with a fear of hospitals and doctors. Accordingly, a person will be afraid of getting sick so as not to meet with doctors.

Types of hypochondria

There are many types of hypochondria; the fear of contracting any specific incurable disease will be called a separate phobia.

  1. Cancerophobia (oncophobia). Consists in the manifestation of intense fear regarding malignant formations.
  2. Bacillophobia. Associated with fears of contracting a bacterial infection.
  3. Phthisiophobia is the fear of getting tuberculosis.
  4. Speedophobia is the fear of contracting HIV.
  5. Rabiephobia. With this phobia, the individual is terrified of contracting rabies.
  6. Cardiophobia is the fear of heart disease.

This list is very large; we have given only a few phobias as examples. Some people are afraid of catching even a common cold, because they believe that this can lead to complications and then death.

Nosophobia, fear of getting sick - symptoms: how it manifests itself

The most common phobias
As we have already said, the fear of getting sick is also a kind of disease, and therefore it has specific signs.

So, among them stand out:

  • Severe anxiety about illness
  • Fear of getting into a situation that could lead to illness
  • Decreased mood towards blues
  • Panic attacks and special procedures
  • Obsessive visits to clinics and specialists to find diseases
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Communication disorder

These are all psychological signs. At the same time, there are certain physical manifestations:

  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Fever or chills without fever
  • Unsteady gait
  • Mutism
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal disorder

This behavior of the body indicates that the person is really sick.

There is also such a thing as psychosomatics. In this case it also occurs. It means that a person begins to “try on” the symptoms of the disease and even feels them. Although in reality nothing hurts him. If you conduct an examination, you will immediately see that there is no disease.

Ways to fight

Psychotherapy is the most effective method of countering nosophobia. The specialist is faced with the task of ridding the patient of annoying fears. There are four main methods used in psychotherapy.

  1. Psychoanalysis. It will be most effective in a situation where the cause is childhood trauma or improper parenting. The task of the psychotherapist is to find the factors that had a traumatic impact and help resolve them.
  2. Emotional imagery therapy. It is prescribed in a situation where there are no obvious reasons that caused the development of a phobia. The nosophobe is offered to get acquainted with what his disease is, to treat it as an image that must be resisted.
  3. Existential-humanistic method. It is applicable in cases where there are real incidents in a person’s life or serious illnesses. The specialist’s task is to help a nosophobe reassess the place of diseases in his life.
  4. Cognitive method. It represents the patient's direct contact with his fear. For example, you could go to a hospital or hospice. These actions should be under the strict supervision of a psychotherapist so as not to further aggravate the patient’s condition.

Drug therapy may also be an option. Depending on how each individual patient feels, the following medications may be prescribed:

  • tranquilizers - help reduce anxiety and normalize the psychophysical state;
  • hypnotics - prescribed for severe panic or aggravated conditions;
  • antidepressants - in the presence of depression, act as an auxiliary therapy.

Any medication should be prescribed only by a doctor.

How to get rid of the fear of getting sick: advice from a psychologist

How to deal with fears?
You shouldn't suffer for nothing. If you have a fear of getting sick, then be sure to start fighting it. First of all, you must recognize and accept the problem. This will already be a big step.

Moreover, use the following tips:

  • You must understand that the likelihood of becoming fatally ill is very small. As a rule, it appears when a person commits a series of incorrect actions. However, this does not happen often. You don't need to worry, this is not why we were given life.
  • Take a vacation and relax. It happens that the fear of getting sick arises from stress. Just relax and take your mind off everything. Have fun.
  • You don't have to worry only about illnesses. Believe in the best and don't be afraid of the future. You need to live in pleasure, and not constantly worry about illnesses. Don't get ahead of yourself and think that you will die young.
  • Go to the doctor if you think necessary. Tell him your concerns, listen to what he tells you. Be sure that the doctor knows his business and he will help you figure it out.
  • Tell someone how you feel. Find someone you can trust. Don’t accumulate anything inside yourself, give your emotions an outlet. If you have no one to talk to, then write on paper. This helps many people.


Spiders can be scary and disgusting to most people, but an arachnophobe will have a greatly exaggerated, panicked reaction when encountering even the smallest of these eight-legged creatures. If you are so afraid of spiders that you avoid going to places where you think they might be, or you have to leave the house when you see them, you may be one of the approximately 5% of people who have this phobia.

Prayer for fear of getting sick: read

It is normal to feel fear because it is an inner instinct. The fear of getting sick can be overcome. Someone advises to pray. Turning to higher powers is something like meditation. It allows you to achieve inner harmony, gives relief and calm. There are several prayers that can help you get rid of anxiety.

First of all, you should learn short prayers to Christ and other saints. In moments of fear, they will help you calm down. The prayer for Christ is as follows:

Prayer to Jesus

The Lord's Prayer is the best prayer in situations where fear sets in. This is the best way to deal with anxiety:

Our Father

One cannot help but say about the prayer of the Optina elders. Read it every morning:

Prayer of the Optina Elders

It is important to understand that prayer will only be effective if you yourself believe in the Lord. And faith presupposes some responsibility for one’s lifestyle. Live in accordance with the commandments and you will be happy.

Drug treatment

Only a doctor has the right to treat hypochondria with medications. You cannot self-medicate or take medications without a prescription.

Only a specialist can determine how to treat a phobia with medications. He can prescribe sedatives to relieve excessive anxiety (Persen, Novo-Passit and others), and if depression occurs, prescribe the use of tranquilizers and antidepressants. But it should be remembered that in the fight against this disorder, medications alone are not enough for a complete recovery.

Obsessive fear of disease: forum, reviews

The fear of getting sick is often discussed on the Internet. Everyone has their own opinion on this matter. Some people manage to cope with the problem on their own, while others turn to professionals. In any case, everyone believes that the problem needs to be dealt with.

Review 1

Review 2

Review 3

Review 4


It is almost impossible to diagnose nosophobia on your own. Most likely, more than one month will pass before the patient, not finding any illnesses, turns to a psychotherapist for help.

During a conversation with the patient, the doctor assesses his condition and determines the presence of features characteristic of nosophobes:

  • literacy, erudition, high level of intelligence;
  • emotionality, sensitivity, developed imagination;
  • the ability to discuss any disease, the desire to show oneself as a specialist in medical matters;
  • deterioration in general well-being during the discussion of some illness;
  • use of traditional medicine methods;
  • watching medical programs, interest in new products in this field;
  • visits to the doctor at the slightest change in health.

It is worth noting that nosophobes rarely turn to a psychotherapist voluntarily. In most cases, they are brought there by relatives or referred by another doctor.

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