Coping With Scanxiety: How To Prevent Claustrophobia

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What is scanxiety? Scanxiety is an anxious feeling before an MRI scan or medical imaging scans that is common among patients. For some it’s the unpredictability of the results and for others it’s plainly the fear of being in a tight, confined space that induces claustrophobia. 

 “Claustrophobia is an anxiety disorder in which the sufferer has an irrational feat of having no escape or being closed in.“ When a person experiences this they may also suffer a panic attack which results in accelerated heart rate, sweating, and nausea. Because so many patients suffer with intense scanxiety, we wanted to compile a list of helpful advice that has soothed our patients in the past. So, here are the top 9 tips our team suggests to calm your fears:

Top 9 tips to cope with scanxiety.

1.     Listen to loud music and let it take over your thoughts.

2.     Meditate before a scan and keep a positive outlook.

3.     Distract yourself with magazines or a book beforehand.

4.     Avoid stressful situations prior to your appointment.

5.     Schedule appointments for the morning so you don’t have time to sit and think.

6.     Practice closing your eyes and pretending you are in an MRI machine. Steady your breathing and become comfortable with the idea of being in the machine.

7.     Bring a friend along who can make you laugh.

8.     Medicate, stress and anxiety are very common among people dealing with cancer. Tell your doctor about any feelings you may be having.

9.     Practice deep breathing before an MRI.

Take control of your scanxiety and practice these helpful tips before undergoing an exam. You may feel like it is impossible to overcome, but by practicing any of these ten tricks above you may find something that works for you. Most importantly, don't feel alone. If you're experiencing any of these distressing feelings, reach out to the staff at the radiology center to discuss your worries.