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Phobia taking blood pressure

by Jim
(Louisiana)

I have this problem taking my blood pressure. It's not just white coat syndrome, I have the phobia and fear when I am home and trying to take it. When my BP is taken, I go into a panic and the reading shoots up very high which causes additional fear and panic. I obsess about this night and day, to the point of panic when just thinking about taking my BP. My Dr. wants a record from home to be more relaxed but to no avail. I keep cancelling Dr's appointments because of the panic and extreme stress this causes. Diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder. I have tried many, many meds. which have not helped, just added side effects. I have had this problem for about twenty years and would like to find relief and peace. Maybe someone could give some suggestions. Seeing a therapist and psychiatrist but little progress......thanks....Jim


Answer:

Phobias like this are more common than you may think. It can be really frustrating because the more you try to talk yourself out of becoming anxious, the more anxious you become.

Below are some relaxation exercises that might help because they involve re-training the body to respond differently. It takes most people a few weeks of daily practice to start to notice results.

I hope this helps!

Relaxation for Coping with Panic

Retraining the Amygdala

Anchoring

Biofeedback Therapy Relaxation

Deal with Squeamishness

Comments for Phobia taking blood pressure

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Oct 07, 2014
BP Phobia
by: Anonymous

I have the same problem. You are not alone. My thinking is ...I expect the BP to be high and it is. I can bring it down by continuing to take pressures until it comes down. But I also have tried various things and they don't work. It may be a deep seated fear of having a heart attack because of high BP for me. A doc now is trying to lower my TSH with westhroid. A high TSH (>3.0) can cause anxiety. Do a little research and you can see the best TSH values.

Oct 09, 2014
Me too
by: Trevor

Same here. The phobia is coupled with guilt. I've had it for 30 years and have recently decided to get anti-deps to deal with the anxiety.
I've meditated all my life and have found benefits in many areas but sadly not this one.

Oct 17, 2014
Same here
by: Anonymous

Seriously... I just think this stupid machine can make or break my day. If I could just get one good reading my day would be awesome! BIt I can't make it through the cuff filling up, I hit cancel. IF I don't hit cancel and it the cuffs stop to check my pulse and need to keep filling becausey BP is so high... I freak!!! How do I get over this? How can I get this fixed now!

Dec 22, 2014
blood pressure
by: Robbie

Nobody enjoys the idea of visiting a doctor. Studies suggest that your anxiousness levels can be a vital role in your systolic blood pressure rise. For some people it could be a difficult task to conquer the fear of blood pressure.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Robbie: EHR solutions

Jan 21, 2015
Same problem
by: Anonymous

Same problem here. I take my blood pressure lying in bed and try to relax as much as possible.
My doctor said that there is no big difference in pressure level if I sit on chair or lie in bed.
Its easier to relax in bed and pressure is lower.
The first measurement is always very high and take it many times to get it low.

Feb 08, 2015
Thought of high blood pressure can control my whole day.
by: Anonymous

I used to be able to take my bp at home and get good enough results. But just recently my fear is effecting those readings too. I just took apart my 13 yr old monitor to see if I could find something wrong with it. I saw no burnt wirings, BUT the delete instructions for the memory of readings would not make those readings delete. So I am hoping that means the machine is not working for bp readings, correctly, either. I do have some medical proof that I shouldn't have high blood pressure. Two years ago they did an echo and the tech told me it looked like the heart of a 16 yr old. (I am 66.)
I listen to relaxation tapes, which I love. I also just tried hypnotism but I am afraid that a quick fix like that wouldn't work and it didn't. It is so good to hear from others. This is a very lonely problem to have.

Feb 09, 2015
Me too!
by: Lynn

I have just found your website by chance. It is such a relief to find others with exactly the same, irrational, problem that I have re taking my BP. The problem is that it is so high when taken at the surgery that I am taking meds for high BP that I may not need. The problem is getting worse, but just knowing that I am not alone is a great help!

I won't give up and I am starting on a course of therapy soon. The best I feel is after doing a circuits class - when, bizaarely, my BP is probably at its highest. However, after physical exercise I feel more relaxed.

Feb 09, 2015
BP Phobics Group?
by: Anonymous

I am wondering if anyone is from the Chicago area. Maybe we could get together for more support? I used to be able to go to a group for phobics about 20 yrs. ago, but that is no longer available.

Feb 10, 2015
more relaxed
by: Anonymous

I feel more relaxed when I keep the Bible on Psalm 91 next to me while taking my bloodpressure. Take it a few times. Mine sometimes was high because of that fear, but I learned that God will protect me

Feb 10, 2015
So glad I'm Not Alone
by: Anonymous

It is so good to know that I'm not alone! I've been taking medication for High Blood pressure most of my adult life and started monitoring my BP at home over 30 years ago. Ive always had "white coat syndrome", so being able to bring my home readings to my doctor was a great help to her in adjusting my meds. Then, about three years ago I started having a phobia about taking my BP at home. I'm also prone to anxiety attacks and after getting a really high reading on my home BP monitor, I freaked out. Now I'm afraid to take my BP at home. I know it's not logical but it true. I am so glad I found this website. It's helped tremendously to know that I'm not alone and that I'm not crazy. Here's hoping we all get over (or get control over) this phobia soon.

Feb 13, 2015
What helps?
by: kb801

I am exactly like everyone here so i won't repeat - I just cancelled a dr's appointment for the same reason - I think finding the right doctor can make a huge difference. Also, to get the publics attention there has been a campaign to make everyone aware of high BP and I think often it is overdone and creates an anxiety that even minor increases are dangerous - they are not from what I've read. Your body can take rises to 200+/100+ and more without damage, and even then it takes time and you have time to treat it.

President Roosevelt finally died from it but he had readings of 250/150 for the last six months before it killed him. He went 4 years with averages around 195/110.

I'll try to find articles on this but its hard. If others can as well, please share.

The medical industry would cringe at what Im saying here because they are so afraid that people will think HBP is ok - its not.

But we have the reverse problem - we are way OVER afraid of it as it has become a phobia - I've pretty much had it all my life.

Keep in touch everyone! K

Feb 14, 2015
Contact Me
by: Anonymous

If anyone wants to directly contact me, so we can support each other with this despicable situation, please email me: turquoisesilver@hotmail.com.

Feb 16, 2015
Same here
by: Anonymous

I have white coat syndrome and like many who have posted here am now afraid of taking it at home. I can't even stand the sound it makes as the cuff inflates around my arm. I am 29 and have had GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) for 10 years.

Feb 16, 2015
Phobia Help
by: kb801

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow - wish me luck - I told him last time that I've always had this phobia and he was okay with it but every time I think about it I want to cancel the appointment but I need it for other reasons - I bought a book that at least helps some called "Master your Panic" and take back your life by Denise Beckfield - Its for panic disorder and situational phobia, which is what we have.

I read an article about WCH which indicated a study that deep breathing can bring your BP down if you have WCH, and it seems not to work for people who don't have it-among other things this book teaches deep breathing techniques, ways to stop "catastrophe" type thinking and more. It has helped me some at home to take it and reduce the fear.

Feb 19, 2015
Blood Pressure Phobia
by: Anonymous

I'm so glad that I'm not alone here...thanks to all of you for sharing your fears of having your blood pressure taken. I am 38 and have anxiety and panic attacks quite often and it appears most of my anxiousness comes from the dumb blood pressure machine. If I just look at it or think about having it taken, I can feel my blood pressure rising. It's very frustrating! I see a psychologist for my anxiety and panic disorder, and we are going to be working on this issue next week. I'll let everyone know what I find out.... Here's to a low blood pressure reading! Maybe we should all get together and practice on keeping it low! Lol....

Feb 19, 2015
Blood Pressure Phobia
by: Anonymous

I'm glad to see that I'm not alone with the blood pressure issue! I too dread going to the doctor just because of the blood pressure machine. I never think about anything negative coming out of my doctor's appointment, but a high blood pressure reading. It's frustrating! At 38 years old, I fear the worse about that dumb machine and would like to cancel my appointment too. I have been experiencing anxiety and panic disorder most of my life...some years, months, days are worse than others. However, I found this good psychologist who has a plan for me to get rid of my blood pressure phobia. We start next week working on this, so I will keep everyone posted. Until then, here's to LOW blood pressure! Maybe we should all get together and take our blood pressure, hold hands and sing Kumbaya??

Feb 22, 2015
BP phobia
by: Anonymous

Thanks for all the comments - Let me give you some encouragement - I've been fighting this most of my entire adult life. Had severe Panic Attacks for 8 years in my 40's - talking about it helped, getting off of caffeine, sugars etc. & taking beta blockers for a short time under a doctor's care also helped. In short, I'm fine with the Panic attacks, but I'm left with this ridiculous BP problem. What's the good news? I'm 76 & healthy as a horse - so you can say it hasn't hurt my overall health. Just stopped full time teaching to run my church's counseling center - which can be very stressful. Isn't that ironic - a counselor with this BP problem . However, it has helped in my counseling of Panic attacks,etc. - cause I really GET IT!!! I am going to try some relaxation tapes & read more info - this was the very first site I've tried & I'm not a quitter - Also , I am a believer & I believe God has gotten me this far- I can't, He can & I've got to let Him help me!!!!

Feb 24, 2015
Help for Blood Pressure Phobia
by: Anonymous

I think I have some information that may help - I went to my doctor (I avoided going for years because of my BP phobia) and convinced him NOT to take my BP at the office but take my readings from home -If you all think yo are bad how about a reading last month of 207/104 at the dr's office and 125/78 that evening at home - is that crazy or what?? It took me a while to just get over the home BP phobia - try beta blocker (atenolol) and deep breathing - they did a study of white coat Hypertension and found that deep breathing for minute or so would lower top number by up to 20 point and bottom 5-8 points - this DIDNT work for those who did not have the white coat affect.

Also buy a hem-sync CD and listen before taking reading - it send 2 different wavelengths of sound into your ears and produces a definite calming affect that has been verified in studies - I recommend Eben Alexander's sound CD's called "seeking heaven" it not really religious but he did have a NDE and he is trying to replicate the sounds in semi-sync - I have found that my BP is a full 20 points lower after listening for 25 minutes

And if you haven't read my previous comments about how your BP can go really high and not be an issue as long as you figure a way to have it controlled long term. When it is only experienced when taken BP they called it a "benign condition" - check out the sites I have listed below, good luck and keep in touch

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/482891_3

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=master+panic+denise+beckfield

http://www.ebenalexander.com/books/seeking-heaven-sound-journeys-into-the-beyond/

Mar 30, 2015
A second reading
by: Anonymous

Trust me, I hear all of you. Lately I was at the doctors office waiting results of some diagnostic testing. Stressful, to say the least. Before hearing the "verdict" my blood pressure was very high. After finding out everything was OK, and about a half hour later, my pressure was taken again. The systolic pressure was down almost 40 points.
Do remember guys, anxiety is being found to have a strong genetic link. We need to lighten up on ourselves. You are probably brighter than most and a good deal more sensitive. Those are a gifts.

May 06, 2015
is bp phobia an abnormal behavior.
by: Anonymous

Yours are very similar to mine.I'm very nervous everytime i hear about taking bp.Everytime i see bp machines I freak out.I cannot control myself and i hate it why there's bp thing.thanks to all of you because i'm not alone with this rare feelings.Im praying that i can overcome this.Help me please....

May 06, 2015
Is bp phobia an abnormal behavior.
by: Anonymous

Yours are very similar to mine.Everytime i hear taking bp I easily freak out.When i see bp machines i feel nervous.I hate to hear about this and im thinking why there's bp thing.When i was hospitalized ,I requested my mother to tell the nurses not to say the readings so that i will not be aware of my bp.When I read all your opinions,thank God im not alone. Im praying that i can get over this. Help me please....

May 06, 2015
Is bp phobia an abnormal behavior.
by: Anonymous

Yours are very similar to mine.Everytime i hear taking bp I easily freak out.When i see bp machines i feel nervous.I hate to hear about this and im thinking why there's bp thing.When i was hospitalized ,I requested my mother to tell the nurses not to say the readings so that i will not be aware of my bp.When I read all your opinions,thank God im not alone. Im praying that i can get over this. Help me please....

May 06, 2015
Me too!
by: Anonymous

I have the same issue as everyone else.

I had a chiropractor appointment on Monday with a new doctor that was looking to the visit. Once I got in the exam room and saw the blood pressure monitor sitting there my BP went through the roof. I explained to the assistant that my BP was going to be high and explained my situation. She took it and the DR came back in and I explained my situation again and he stated it was high and that he was going to take it again at the end of the visit. I was stressed out the whole time I was there and couldn't get out of there fast enough! So much for a relaxing environment! I have a BP reader at home and am going to try taking my BP several times a day to get over this fear.

May 09, 2015
Great article but still worrying.
by: Mary

Could this be why mine keeps going up when I check it at home because I have that fear it's going to be mega high still? I suffer from severe anxiety and panic disorders and depression along with HBP. I am on metoprolol generic Lopressor and Alprazolam generic 2 mg 4x daily.
It's been shooting up higher since we just moved & seeing my BP up makes it worse.

May 19, 2015
I'm so happy to find this
by: Anonymous

I've felt so alone with this problem for so long, and it's really helpful to know that other people experience it too. It's kind of humiliating to be so afraid of a machine that's supposed to help keep you healthy! I'm trying some approaches, including phobia therapy and sedative teas, to see if they make a difference. I'll keep everyone posted.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!

May 19, 2015
Anyone live near me?
by: Anonymous

I am thinking that if I had a "partner", we could practice taking our blood pressures, together. Does anyone live in the Chicago area? If so, please contact me at turquoisesilver@hotmail.com.

Jun 19, 2015
Try This
by: Anonymous

To cope with the anxiety of having your blood pressure either taken by a medical person or yourself try the following deep breathing exercise.

1. Close your mouth and take in a deep breath through your nose. Hold for count of 2.

2. Open your mouth slightly and breath out for a count of 8.

Do this just before your blood pressure is taken. If a medical person is going to take your BP ask them to hold off until you finish your breathing exercises.

If you do this exercise multiple times one right after the other you might feel a little lightheaded for a few moments.




Jul 01, 2015
Thank Goodness!!
by: Anonymous

Everything here coincides with my experience! Doc wants me to see a cardiologist but already having gone through a battery of tests over the years, know the high reading is down to bp phobia rather than anything more sinister.Reading taken by myself earlier this evening 202/96, on third reading (within 5 minutes), 154/84. Doc refutes the idea that I can give myself 'white coat' syndrome but I know it is a reality. This site gives reassurance, thanks to you follow sufferers, just wish there was an easy antidote!

Jul 02, 2015
Major bp phobe
by: Anonymous

Read all y'all comments. I hear ya n sympathize 100%! Today my reading was 176/107 at the dentist! Lord have mercy! I can FEEL the fear. I Fear the fear! Hate that feeling of dread n panic. My heart beats so terrible fast. There's GOT to be a way to conquer this. There oughta be seminars for ppl like us where we all get educated about bp, what it means, how high can we go, then take readings all together as a sort of support group. Years ago they didn't try to fit those readings into such smaller numbers, did they? Wonder how they treated back then? Good grief I agonize for days before an appt. n sometimes cancel. It's so stupid, but also horrific. A person just has to go once in awhile for other stuff. Can't stand the stifling fear. Also don't trust many bp meds. If you read the pill book, often side effects of blood pressure meds are High Blood Pressure! So tired of this. I'm a believer n pray for help. Feel sad n embarrassed, but fearing still! A spirit of fear is not of God! UGH!

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