MRI anxiety

Undergoing an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scan can be an anxiety-inducing experience for many individuals. The combination of a confined space, loud noises, and the unknown can trigger feelings of claustrophobia and discomfort. There’s hope! Check out the following tips and options that may hopefully help alleviate anxiety and improve the overall MRI experience.

MRI Anxiety and its Consequences 

MRI anxiety is a reaction characterized by fear, nervousness, or discomfort before or during an MRI scan. Several factors contribute to this anxiety. The confined space of the MRI machine, known as claustrophobia, is a common trigger.

Additionally, the loud noises produced by the machine, repetitive clicking or thumping sounds, can cause distress. The fear of the unknown, especially for individuals undergoing their first MRI, can also contribute to anxiety.

MRI anxiety can have significant consequences for patients. It may lead to increased stress levels, and discomfort, and even prevent individuals from undergoing necessary medical imaging. Avoiding or delaying an MRI due to anxiety can hinder accurate diagnoses and appropriate treatment plans. Recognizing the impact of MRI anxiety is crucial in developing strategies to manage and overcome it.

RELATED: 7 Tips For Staying Calm & Comfortable During An MRI

Tips for Managing MRI Anxiety

Educate Yourself 

Understanding the MRI procedure and the purpose behind it can help alleviate anxiety. Ask your healthcare provider or the MRI technologist to explain the process, including the duration, the sounds you may hear, and the expected sensations. Inquire with the MRI technologist if pamphlets and reading material are available. Ask away! 

Relaxation Techniques 

Practice relaxation techniques before and during the MRI scan. Deep breathing exercises, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation can help calm your mind and body. You can learn these techniques from online resources or seek guidance from a healthcare professional. Be sure to do all deep breathing exercises before the MRI scan procedure and not during as this may alter your results. 


Some MRI facilities offer in-room entertainment or provide goggles to watch movies or TV shows. Focusing on something enjoyable can divert your attention from the MRI machine and reduce anxiety. Contact your imaging center to be sure in-room entertainment is an option.


How about a quick chat with the tech? Inform the MRI technologist about your anxiety or claustrophobia. They are experienced in assisting anxious patients and can provide guidance and support throughout the procedure. They may offer helpful suggestions, such as using a mirror to see outside the machine or taking breaks during longer scans.

Sedation Options 

For individuals with severe anxiety or claustrophobia, sedation may be an option. Discuss this possibility with your

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