Tomophobia refers to a severe and irrational fear of surgery or surgical operations. While it is natural for anyone to be nervous when they know they have an impending surgery, surgery represents a situation far too dangerous and life threatening to undergo for the tomophobic. These people believed the surgery to be more risky than the illnesses necessitating the procedure.
Symptoms include feelings of dread or panic when the subject of surgery arises, automatic or uncontrollable reactions in avoiding the subject or procedure, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, extreme avoidance.
Various unique factors and experiences initiate the development of tomophobia. In regards to this specific disorder, some of these experiences could include having witnessed an unsuccessful surgery first or second hand, hypersensitivity, or various other psychological or emotional disorders. Some tomophobics may simply fear being under anesthetics, for they are not aware of what is happening or what is being done to them while they are under.
Some therapists opt to use cognitive behavioral therapy. If the sufferer fears surgical procedures, this type of psychotherapy could involve meeting the surgeon or learning more about what specific surgery will have to be administered. Furthermore, understanding why the surgery is necessary or advantageous would also help.