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phobia around blood pressure !

Community Member

Hi all

I started a thread a when I first came on here called 'can't relax' but even then I didn't mention one of my biggest issues. I have a phobia around blood pressure. I don't even like saying it or seeing it written! but I had to put it in this thread title to see if anyone can relate / advise.

I get so anxious when the dr is going to take it that it's always high and so it got to a point last year where she encouraged me to take it myself at home, and by doing that we were able to decrease the meds I was on for high bp. (dr says I have 'significant white coat syndrome)

Anyway I haven't taken it for ages as it still makes me anxious even doing it myself and meanwhile had put on some weight and spend a lot of time worrying about my bp. I am seeing a psychologist and while I mentioned this in my first appointment we haven't really addressed it so I'll bring it up next week cos it's clearly a) obviously not going away by itself (the worry about it) and b) quite a big worry at the moment.

I know I need to talk to her, lose weight and walk more, and take it more regularly.

Anyone dealt with any like this ridiculous phobia?!?

40 Replies 40

Community Member

Hi Added

I’m sorry for the long gap before replying to you but unfortunately anxiety has been peaking for me too. Around a few things but reading your description of not looking at the bp monitor etc was - well we’re so alike! And awful though this sounds it was nice to read that someone else shares this fear!

The meds didn’t help for me - I didn’t go on with them after feeling awful on them.

Has CBT or the psych helped you? Did you end up trying hypnotherapy?

Community Member

Hi, Unfortunately I developed a phobia of high blood pressure last year after I went to the Dr Every time she takes it in the surgery I seem to have a panic attack and it's really high! Now I can't even take it at home as it goes up really high at home too! Part of my phobia is I suffer quite often with dizziness (for all sorts of reasons) and I know that the meds for BP can also cause this. I am very sensitive to meds and often get awful side effects. So I don't find the thought of having to take meds at all helpful! My dad had a heart attack so am also stressed about the thought of stroke or heart attack from high BP. What a conundrum... I have read at least 4x books about lowering your BP naturally, watched numerous doco's etc as well and have tried nearly every thing under the sun...from hibiscus tea, to celery and beetroot juice, exercise, plant based diet, you name it. But I am still too freaked to take my BP. I have managed to desensitise myself to be able to buy a monitor. Now I need to be able to use it. I don't accept the idea that 'peoples BP naturally gets higher with age' as this is only the case in the developed world. In other countries, this is not the case. High BP is a SYMPTOM, not a disease and I think Dr's should work harder at finding and treating the cause, not the symptom. 'Lifestyle' illnesses eg High BP, cholesterol, anxiety, diabetes in the developed world make an awful lot of money for drug companies so in some ways I feel determined to find the cause and not be on this endless cycle of drugs (that actually inhibit your bodies' own ability to lower your BP over time so you need to keep taking more and high doses).

Hi Hippymum, and welcome to bb forums.

I'm sorry that my thread is your first post! Meaning - I'm sorry that you too are dealing with this phobia x.

Can I ask - have you tried any other methods for lowering your anxiety such as meditation, yoga, cbt therapy? Anxiety for me fluctuates and at best times meditation is really helpful, slow deep breathing. When I do take my bp I take it lying down on my bed (or couch) after a period of relaxation. If I can get a good reading, or a series of them, then I'm less anxious about taking it myself. My gp basically never takes it these days! just gets me to take it at home (like you it took me some time to even buy a machine). One of the younger ones at the clinic insists and so I always just say you know it's going to be high cos I'm here so please don't tell me what it is and she agrees to that. I'd LOVE to beat this phobia and went to therapy a while back to try and sort that but for now it's still with me.

I was very resistant to meds way back when..and like you I'm sensitive to meds but I have to say, after Many years of taking bp meds, that I only get dizzy when my bp is low (and over a period of time of that happening, and me taking it at home, was able to reduce the meds to a level that it stopped). I haven't found that I've had to continually increase the dose over the years. My dose has gone up and down depending on stressful life situations, and weight, and in fact about two years back was the lowest it had been in about 25 years so please don't worry about that. For me - controlling my weight has the biggest/best effect but it's not easy either...

I hope you're doing ok. Sorry for the time lapse in reply and if I can help you in any other way please chat away. Or jump in any other threads you see, introduce yourself in the welcome area, you'll find many kind and helpful people on these boards. 🙂

Community Member

Hi there

i too have this phobia very embarrassing and hard to understand my reads are so high as soon as they put it on my arm. Reading these posts were Very helpful and I realise I’m not a freak, I don’t get it taken at the drs any more and the last 3 years I have had a 24hr monitor Once a year and the readings are perfect👍🏼 So I stick to that. I do meditation and also I am bipola, i moved to regional small town away from my home 3 years ago so getting help is hard Here and I never had this problem till I moved. Anyway I have read all the comments there verY comforting in a good way.

it’s just the way we are 😺

Hi batcat

I’m glad you found the thread comforting - your post was too. Nice to meet someone who gets it 😉

Sorry bout the lack of support in small town regional oz... got to be others in town who could also use support. Is there a library, or community centre, you could see if any groups meet that interest you?

Community Member


I have had this phobia since having my second child a year ago I have changed anxiety meds and was feeling great untill I went to the doctor today and it was high .... I sitting here thinking it's reaching a point of dangerous number and I can't seem to calm down.. I'm on bp meds and all I can think of its rising and I don't no ...

I hate health anxiety it really rocks me

Not sure to go hospital. But when I got the trading today the doc said it's ok it's probs cause I'm anxious cause she monitors me and told me to come back in 2 days cause of my anxiety .. still not sitting right

Hi StephL, 

Thank you for posting here on the online forums and for sharing your experience. Health realted stress and anxiety can be really difficult to manage, coming here and sharing your story is a wonderful step along your journey to feeling better. 

If you like you can always call Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 and talk through your symptoms - our wonderful counsellors will be able to give you great advice on what to do when you feel anxious as well as pointing you towards further support. 

Thanks again for being brave and sharing your experience, please feel free to update us on how you are feeling if you are comfortable doing so. 

Kind regards, 

Sophie M

Hi Steph

Yeah health anxiety is the pits isn’t it.

You’re doing everything right - seeing your dr for monitoring so try and trust in that. Can you meditate (even briefly) once or twice a day? Listen to a calming talk on YouTube? If on Facebook Petrea King Meditation Group has some great talks you can access. Recently my dr recommended a book Beating the Blues by Tanner and Ball - self help around CBT practices.

Basically keep your mind and body busy so those thoughts lose importance...take the kids for a walk?

I know these sounds simplistic answers but I find they help. Hope you get relief too.

Community Member

Bit of a late reply, but i spent the better part of yesterday at hospital in the ER for this very thing.

I came to associate my blood pressure readings with severe anxiety, as everytime i went to the ER with a panic attack, my BP would be really high.

This also transferred to the doctors office, and as soon as they put the cuff on my arm, my anxiety skyrockets, and so does my BP.

They sent me home with a BP machine and even at home, by myself in a comfortable environment, my anxiety skyrockets when i put the cuff on due to association with panic.

My doctor believes i have high blood pressure, that is exacerbated by anxiety, so now i am on BP medication and seeing a psych with the hopes i can get it all under control.

So for what its worth Annie, you are most certainly not alone, and i wish you lots of love and luck in your journey in overcoming this.

Thanks for the love and luck, Midean, and same to you.

May the psych help you enough that you can get some decent base readings to go on with.