Phobias Types The Fear of Hospitals or Nosocomephobia By Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics. Learn about our editorial process Updated on October 07, 2020 Medically reviewed Verywell Mind articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and mental healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more. by Steven Gans, MD Medically reviewed by Steven Gans, MD Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital. Learn about our Medical Review Board Print ERproductions Ltd / Blend Images / Getty Images Nosocomephobia, or the fear of hospitals, is a surprisingly common medical phobia. In fact, U.S. President Richard Nixon was said to have a fear of hospitals, reportedly refusing treatment for a blood clot as he was concerned he would "not get out of the hospital alive." What Is Nosocomephobia? Many people who have hospital phobia are also afraid of doctors (or suffer "white coat syndrome," during which blood pressure actually rises at the doctor's office). Some people are afraid of the building itself, others of what it represents. In this case, the choice of facilities can make a difference in your level of anxiety. Newer designs, for example, incorporate peaceful colors, spa-like facilities, and such patient comforts as Internet access and private rooms with beds for loved ones. Surprisingly, many insurance providers will pay for either type of hospital, so check with your insurance provider. Although the fear of hospitals is understandable—after all, hospitals are by definition where people go when they are very ill or injured—it can interfere with getting the care you need. This is especially true if you or someone you love experiences fear of hospitals along with other medical phobias, including: Claustrophobia: Fear of enclosed spaces. If you suffer from claustrophobia, you might dread CT scans, MRIs and other tests that require confinement. Hemophobia: Fear of blood Latrophobia: Fear of doctors. Though doctors and dentists are the most common objects of medical-related fear. Some people are afraid of nurses, lab techs, and others in the medical field. Mysophobia: Fear of germs Nosophobia: Fear of developing a specific disease such as cancer or diabetes Thanatophobia: Fear of death Trypanophobia: Fear of needles Nosocomephobia or Normal Anxiety Since it's pretty normal to feel nervous before visiting a hospital, it can be difficult to tell whether your symptoms constitute a full-blown phobia. Only a qualified mental health professional can make this determination. In general, however, someone with nosocomephobia may simply refuse to go to or enter a hospital, even in the case of major life-threatening conditions or events. In addition, they may realize the fear is irrational, but feel quite powerless to overcome it. Other signs that may signify a fear of hospitals include: Avoidance behavior or refusing to go to the hospitalElevated heart rateExcessive sweatingFeeling nauseatedFeelings of uncontrollable anxietyA full-blown panic attack at the sight or thought of a hospitalObsessive worryingShallow and rapid breathing Sources Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th Ed.). Washington, DC: Author. By Lisa Fritscher Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer and editor with a deep interest in phobias and other mental health topics. See Our Editorial Process Meet Our Review Board Share Feedback Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! What is your feedback? Other Helpful Report an Error Submit Speak to a Therapist for Phobias Advertiser Disclosure × The offers that appear in this table are from partnerships from which Verywell Mind receives compensation.