What is Tomophobia?
Tomophobia is the fear of medical procedures. It is most commonly the fear of needles, especially among children.
Everyone has some fear of medical procedures. However, if you have a specific phobia, you likely experience an exaggerated sense of dread or panic. When faced with the extreme fear of medical procedures, you might have tomophobia. These irrational fears must interfere with personal relationships, work, and school, and prevent someone from enjoying life. One’s functioning must be impaired to meet the criteria of a specific phobia.
The symptoms of tomophobia include situation-induced panic attacks when medical procedures need to be performed, such as intense anxiety or anger. Children may scream or run out of the room. For adults, it may cause avoidance of going to the doctor or getting other potentially lifesaving procedures because of their fear.
Virtual Reality for Medical Procedures (Tomophobia)
Medical procedure-related environments can be vital in evaluating and working with patients suffering from distress and anxiety related to medical interventions, such as fear of needles, phobia of blood, among others.
VR Environments that help
Waiting room blood test
The person is in a hospital waiting room. After the nurse leads them into a procedure room, their blood is drawn in various ways. Useful for Trypanophobia (fear of needles) and Hematophobia (fear of blood).
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
The environment is in a hospital waiting room, about to receive an MRI scan.
Real blood draw
VR Therapy involves gradually introducing the person to different environments to discuss and address their concerns of the general anxiety. It may involve just a few sessions of therapy, after which the end goal is the person confronting their thoughts and managing their fears.
VR Therapy involves gradually introducing a person to the situation causing their fear and helping them adapt to it. It may involve just a few sessions of therapy, after which the end goal is the person confronting their fear.