If scans make you feel nervous, irritable or upset, you’re not alone in these emotions. Many patients experience “scanxiety” in the time leading up to an exam — and it often persists for days or weeks afterward. Understand that you’re not unreasonable for feeling this way. There is some helpful coping strategies to reduce your scan anxiety.
What Is Scanxiety?
Scanxiety is the anxiety and worry many people experience before, during and after medical scans. Symptoms differ for everyone, but common signs include dizziness, shortness of breath, a tight feeling in the chest and sweaty palms. It’s virtually identical to general anxiety, except it’s associated specifically with medical testing.
3 Ways To Cope With Scanxiety
Many patients struggle with anxiety around undergoing medical scans and receiving results. Although medical imaging exists for many reasons, it’s often associated with cancer screenings. Cancer patients and survivors frequently experience scanxiety concerning their recurrent screenings.
Scanxiety existed long before it had a name, and it affects family members as well as patients. Though it’s common, it doesn’t have to rule your emotions. Here are three ways you can start to cope with scan anxiety.
1. Acknowledge Your Anxiety
Coping with scan anxiety starts with acknowledging your fears. Talk with a friend or relative about your worries or write your thoughts in a journal. Journaling gives you an emotional outlet without judgment or questioning, and writing your feelings can help you better understand them.
2. Do Something You Love
Spend time with loved ones before your procedure or bring them with you for comfort. Have a day-long family outing or meet for a few hours of enjoyment.
Engage in relaxation techniques such as meditating or listening to music. Get a light massage a few days before your scan to ease any tension. Distract yourself by watching a favorite movie or doing a fun activity.
3. Be Prepared
Familiarize yourself with the procedure whether it’s an MRI, CT scan or PET scan. Tell your doctor if you’ll need a sedative or anti-anxiety medication for scan claustrophobia. Plan for how you’ll respond to your results whether they’re favorable or unfavorable.
Ask when you’ll receive your results and if you’ll get them through the phone, email or in-person. You’ll feel less fearful every time you receive an email if you know the message is coming over the phone or at the next appointment.
Choose Adams Diagnostic Imaging for Your Screenings
Selecting the right diagnostic center can make a world of difference in reducing your scanxiety. Adams Diagnostic Imaging offers care from experienced and compassionate staff. We’ll guide you through the process and help relieve your worries, preparing you for your scan. Go to somebody you trust for your screenings by reaching out to us today.