Fear Of Illness (Nosophobia): Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

The fear of a disease or nosophobia is the irrational fear of contracting a disease. This phobia also called a medical student’s disease, should not be confused with hypochondria.

From the Greek terms “noses” for “disease” and “Phobos” for “phobia,” the term “nomophobia” is defined as a panicky fear of getting sick. More generally, the homophobic person fears bacterial, microbial, or other pathogen contamination that others can transmit.

This phobia should not be confused with hypochondria. Indeed, a hypochondriac individual interprets the slightest sign as proof that he has a pathology. The loophole knows that he is in good health and, above all, fears that he will no longer be so.

You may also like to read: Fear of being alone

Behaviors associated with disease phobia

  • The difference with hypochondria, where the subject has a general fear of the disease, is that the fear is specific to a particular illness in nosophobics.
  • But we must admit that the difference between the consequences of these two attitudes is minimal.
  • Nosophobia can be associated with nosocomphobia (fear of hospitals).

Symptoms of fear of illness

  • The homophobic person will avoid the places that he considers conducive to contamination:
  • Public transport, hospitals, shops, public toilets.
  • Fear of poisoning and death ( thanatophobia ) is generally associated with nosophobia.
  • Depending on its severity, this phobia is likely to alter an individual’s personal and professional life.
  • To avoid facing an anxiogenic situation, the latter will implement avoidance strategies that, little by little, will lead to their isolation.
  • Indeed, the phobic person is afraid of feeling anxious emotions and the symptoms that may accompany them: palpitations, breathing difficulties, excessive sweating, tremors.

It causes

  • It is not always easy for a phobic person to discover and understand the causes of their anxiety disorder.
  • In many cases, nosophobia is the result of a traumatic childhood experience.
  • But this kind of fear is also found among medical students who work in a professional environment conducive to pollution.
  • Some psychotherapists believe that this type of phobia develops in individuals who have a conflicting relationship with their bodies and others.

Phobias associated with nosophobia

Phobias associated

  • Fear of kidney stones: necrophobia
  • Fear of oral diseases: stomatophobia
  • Fear of toothache: odontophobia
  • Fear of skin diseases: Germanophobia
  • Fear of ear diseases: ochlophobia
  • Fear of vomiting: emetophobic
  • Fear of the common cold: homophobia
  • Fear of OA: Arthrophobia
  • Fear of heart disease: cardiophobia
  • Fear of stomach aches: gastralgofobia
  • Fear of cancer: cancer phobia, carcinophobia
  • Fear of being tired: Kopophobia
  • Fear of medication: pharmacophobia
  • Fear of surgery: homophobia.


  • When nosophobia leads a person to develop obsessive cleaning or disinfection behaviors, it is urgent to consult a psychotherapist.
  • Several specialists have proved that following a cognitive-behavioral treatment is the beginning to end his disorder.
  • This therapeutic approach allows the patient to master specific tools that will enable him to control his anxiety and apprehend his fear in the long term.
  • It is also possible to resort to other forms of therapy, such as psychoanalysis or hypnosis.

Website | + posts

Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *