Suppose you ever waited for any medical test result. In that case, you probably know how the agony of not knowing what to expect can be a stressful process.
But to comfort you, it’s understandably a normal feeling, and you’re not the only person feeling anxious. Sure, most people would spend their time looking at the clock, worried about when the results would be out. Some would fret over what-ifs. Relax; that will only make your situation worse.
While others would be worried over what to expect, to some, the anxiety is meant to prepare them for the results; they may even find some ways to distract themselves or cope with the uncertainty. So the difference comes in how you manage your feelings or emotions.
This article discusses some of the best ways you can deploy while you’re waiting for any medical test results. First, let’s find out more about medical test anxiety.
Understanding medical test anxiety
Medical tests are the processes or procedures used to determine, diagnose, and screen for different infections or illnesses. Though most people would feel nervous and sometimes very uncomfortable during testing, the testing does not usually cause many problems.
But, the anxiety individuals experience while waiting for their test results can be disastrous. So, what’s the medical test wait time? This is the duration one takes while waiting for their test results. This period is usually full of anxiety and stress or the fear of unknown test results.
The anxiety can sometimes be severe and even become phobia- a disorder causing intense and irrational fear. Before discussing the tips to manage the anxiety of waiting for test results, let’s find out some of the medical tests you may expect in health facilities.
Different types of medical tests<
One may be waiting for results from tests of:
- Body fluids; a test that involves getting samples from your urine, sweat, and saliva.
- Imaging tests- these are tests that look at what is inside your body. They include x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound, among others.
- Biopsy- this involves taking a small sample of your tissue for testing. It main conducted to test cancer.
- Genetic testing is done to check the condition of cells from the bone marrow and skin, among other areas. In most cases, they are used to determine who is at risk of a genetic disorder or infection.
A stressed woman waiting for test results.
While the doctors may be taking samples for such tests, some may feel strong and eager to know what they might be suffering. However, other people would be trembling and their minds flowing or sinking with ifs. The process of going for or waiting for tests results leads to different types of anxiety.
Types of medical anxieties
- Trypanophobia- this is the fear of needles. Such fear prevents someone from getting specific tests or treatments.
- Iatrophobia- fear of doctors or medical tests. Individuals with iatrophobia would avoid seeing or interacting with healthcare workers.
- Claustrophobia-this the fear of enclosed spaces like scanners like during MRI.
Almost everyone gets worried, especially if it concerns their health and tests of their well-being. So, how can you prevent or manage the anxiety of waiting for medical tests?
Tips to reduce the anxiety of waiting for test results
Here are the steps to take to help you ease your worry or anxiety;
Accept that your feelings are normal
Waiting for test results with no knowledge of the outcomes can be an extremely stressful experience. But, if you feel anxious or worried, you should know that you’re not the only one stressed with waiting.
So stop questioning why you feel worried; neither should you try fighting the feeling. That would make you more stressed. Instead, it would help if you focused on waiting for the result to solve your problem.
See the waiting process as a problem-solving
It’s common for most people to assume that they have certain conditions just because the doctors or their specialists ordered a test for them. You must stop assuming the worst because the negative feeling might not be true.
It would help if you tried and pragmatically see the entire process. Besides, if you’re experiencing a condition, testing would be the only way to know the truth. So, it would help if you were grateful because they would provide a solution to your problem.
Even better, early detection for some conditions would help save your life before they overpower you.
Make a step to controlling your thoughts
It’s common to feel less powerful and lost in your thoughts while waiting for your test results. During that waiting time, the chances are high that you’ll lack the courage to face your emotions, especially if you have been told to wait for a more extended period.
So you must take some steps to ensure you control the situation. Here are what to consider;
Talk to your doctor to bring it down to your understanding- it is healthy to talk to someone about how you feel.
You can also take notes of what your doctor says and ask them questions about when and how you’ll receive your results- knowing when you can get your result can make you calm and ease your worries. Thus you get to control your emotions and thoughts.
When you share how you feel and ask burning questions, you’ll feel understood if the correct answers are provided.
Limit your internet search for information
Of course, you may want to know what is happening with your life, but you must also limit what you read from the internet.
The internet is full of information about almost everything you may need. However, not all news is accurate. So unless it’s an approved site that your specialist has referred you to, you must avoid the search because not all the answers to conditions and the result you read may apply to you.
Reading about diseases and results about a specific would only add more stress while you’re waiting for your results. Therefore, talk to your specialist instead of looking up on the internet.
Keep busy and distracted
If you often feel anxious while waiting for your results, then the best solution would be to keep distracted as much as you can.
Understandably, people have different ways to manage their anxieties. Others would prefer quieting while doing contemplating activities like prayer, meditation, and yoga.
On the contrary, some will distract themselves by watching movies, listening to songs, or exercising- walking, dancing, among other vigorous and heavy-breathing exercises. Besides, research has found that exercising or physical activities help reduce stress and distract one from mental issues.
Maintain your daily routine
While waiting for your test results, you don’t have to stop doing what you always do. So, ensure you stick to your daily routine, especially if the development takes some time. Or, you’re sure they are not going to be out after some 10-20 minutes.
If your doctor tells you to come after some time, it’s not healthy to dwell on the results. Therefore, spend time with your family, friends and organize some funs as usual. Following a routine would ground your mind that you have everything under control.
While waiting for your test results, it would be helpful to be mindful. So how can you stay mindful?
Simple, pay much of your attention to the present moments. Remember, your thoughts and how you feel make the world around you. So, you have to understand your feelings or emotions. By doing this, you can know how to manage your stress to help improve your mental state.
But if you allow your thoughts to overcome you, then that’s when anxiety and stress may lead you to more painful thoughts that would burry you. Staying mindful helps you notice any sign of anxiety and know how to deal with it in a better way.
In other words, when you’re experiencing medical test fear or the negative thoughts about results are overwhelming. It would be best to remind yourself that whatever you fee is not valid until said so by your doctor. So, it would help if you recognized that not all your thoughts would shape your life.
Put down what you feel
Test result wait time can sometimes be longer, but if you try noting down what you feel, you may get relieved of some feelings.
Journaling boosts your mental health. It gives some sense of power over your thought and helps you prioritize your concerns, fears, and symptoms. It also allows you to track your progress, giving you control over what you need to do next to make your life better.
Further, journaling helps control your moods by offering the opportunity for self-track while identifying any negative thoughts.
There is no doubt that waiting for test results can be difficult. However, suppose you want to overcome the anxiety of waiting for test results or medical test fear. In that case, you must understand that worrying won’t save your situation. But only make it worse.
So, you have to; you must accept your feelings are normal and see the waiting process as a solution to your problem. But, you must control your thoughts by asking or sharing with your specialist how you feel and stay mindful until you get your results.