Medicine, to most of us, are seen as life-saving cures. We take a pill every 4 hours for a headache, or we take Benadryl in the morning so we can get through the day without sneezing or coughing all day long. Then there are those who have a fear of medication and refuse to accept any at all because they think that they can die from ingesting these pills and liquids that we take without a second thought. These people suffer from what is known as Pharmacophobia. Even those who have a life-threatening disease will still stay away from any treatment that can help them. These people will also refuse to get immunizations because they think the medication inside the syringe is poisonous and can instantly kill them once injected.
Just like any other phobia, there are different degrees to which a person can be affected by this. There are those who seem to be born with it, and there are those who develop it later in life, usually due to a bad experience. The difference between the two is straightforward – one can overcome it easier than the other. With someone who has the phobia since birth, it’s ingrained in the person’s brain that taking any medication is dangerous. The person who had the unfortunate experience later in their life can usually learn that taking smaller doses at first can help with what they are taking the medication for.
If you know someone who has Pharmacophobia, make sure they get help. It is not uncommon for people struggling with pharmacophobia to be able to manage it through psychology. They may not overcome it overnight, but over time if the patient stays with their programme, they can slowly get used to taking medication without having a panic attack.