Ways to Reduce MRI Anxiety

Posted on: 06/18/2015

Despite being extremely safe, MRI scans often cause anxiety, claustrophobia, or panic attacks. If you’re worried about how you’ll emotionally respond to an MRI scan, rest assured that there are ways to prepare. No matter what your fears are, there is a way to help feel calm and relaxed during your procedure. Here are some common, safe ways to reduce MRI anxiety.


If you already know that you feel uneasy in narrow spaces, and you feel like this might prevent you from completing an MRI procedure, you should contact your physician to discuss it with them. They may be able to prescribe a specific medication to help with the anxiety, so long as they are approved by the facility doing the MRI. This will also require that you have a driver accompany you.

Unfortunately, there’s no medication specifically developed for claustrophobia, and nothing provided will cure claustrophobic symptoms entirely. They help suppress the symptoms long enough for the test to complete.

Under special circumstances, intravenous or general anesthesia is provided upon prior arrangements with your physician. Do not attempt to self-medicate under any circumstances.


If your claustrophobia is severe enough, consider going to a therapist to get it treated. It’s entirely possible to desensitize yourself to the things that trigger claustrophobic feelings. With treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, you are encouraged to confront the problem and are then lead to change the resulting attitude. There are a variety of treatments to discuss with your therapist.

It may take a few sessions, but there’s hope. Even people with extreme, life-long fears have been able to conquer them with therapy. Unlike utilizing medications, this treatment can result in a permanent behavioral change that may benefit you for the rest of your life.

Other Techniques

For those with less severe symptoms, here a few simple tricks to help:
• Focus on your breath
• Wear a towel over your eyes
• Listen to music with the provided headphones

About Via Radiology

Most importantly, there’s nothing like an experienced technologist guiding you through the process. Combined with our industry leading Siemens Espree wide-bore MRI with a 28-inch opening, patient anxiety is greatly reduced while maintaining the excellent image quality of a 1.5 Tesla magnet. Via Radiology has been around since 1969 and has been a leader in delivering state-of-the-art imaging services to north King and south Snohomish counties ever since. With experienced, highly specialized, board-certified radiologists, and accreditation from the American College of Radiology, Via Radiology is an imaging service you can trust.

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