8 Tips For Overcoming MRI-Related Fear

A magnetic resonance imaging test, or MRI, is a diagnostic tool that provides images of vital organs within the body. The test is conducted inside of a special machine that encloses the body. Unfortunately, some people panic and have difficulty with the procedure because of the enclosed space. If you have a MRI scheduled, here are some ways you can beat MRI claustrophobia.

  1. Request an open MRI. An open MRI does not require that you are completely enclosed during the procedure. Talk to your doctor about undergoing an open MRI instead of the enclosed version. Whether or not it is an option depends on what images your doctor needs.
  2. Take support with you. You can take a friend or family member into the testing room with you as long as he or she signs a consent form. You can rely on him or her to help distract you during the procedure.
  3. Ask for medication. Talk to your doctor before the procedure to request a prescription for medication to help you calm down. Medications, such as diazepam and alprazolam, are routinely given to treat anxiety in patients undergoing MRIs. Do not exceed the dosage prescribed.
  4. Listen to music. Some testing centers offer the option to listen to music during the procedure. Contact the center beforehand to determine if this is an option. If so, take along a CD to play.
  5. Watch a video. Newer models of MRIs are sometimes equipped with monitors. If a monitor is available, you can select videos to watch while the scan is being completed.
  6. Communicate with the tech. The technician conducting the procedure has the ability to communicate with you during the procedure. If you experience discomfort, let him or her know. MRI technicians, like those at Omega Diagnostic Imaging PC, are likely to have relaxation techniques they can share with you.
  7. Meditate. If you find yourself panicking while in the machine, take deep breaths and try to relax. When you panic, your breathing becomes shallower and your anxiety levels can increase. Clear your mind and focus on maintaining a steady breath to calm down.
  8. Consider hypnosis. In the event that you are unable to overcome your claustrophobia, consider seeing a hypnotist. Hypnotherapy can help to create a subconscious change in your response to being in the MRI testing machine.

Inform the technician of any fears that you have before the procedure. The technician can walk you through the procedure and discuss your concerns.