How I Overcame My Fear Of Needles
“Does this scare you?”
The therapist pointed a needle in the air like a pistol. I clawed my nails into my chair and tried not to hyperventilate.
People are often surprised by my phobia of blood and needles. Working as a community health promoter in a public health unit, I doled out clean needles to drug users and talked to clients about injection site rotation. In the three years I worked there, I probably had more daily interaction with syringes than the average person, sometimes taking in 500 used needles a day. But the truth is, at 32, having my blood drawn scares me.
So where did this phobia come from? When I was nine, I had a bad experience while in the hospital with scarlet fever. A nurse restrained me and abruptly poked a needle into my arm, inflicting a pain that felt worse than a bee sting.
I avoided having blood taken for the next 20 years, even if it meant risking my health. Lab requisitions landed in the recycling bin. The mere suggestion of a blood draw made me recoil like a vampire facing a crucifix. Whenever Canadian Blood Services ran a mobile blood-donor clinic in my office building, I would walk faster through the lobby.
Then one day, my 70-year-old grandmother was hit by a car while crossing the street and barely survived. When I got the call, I rushed from my university dorm to the hospital intensive care unit where family members had gathered. A nurse in green scrubs appeared. “She’s alive, but needs a transfusion,” she said.
What If You Just Cant Overcome Your Fear
Is your fear of needles interfering with your daily life and holding you back from necessary medical care? While the tips above can help, they may not be effective for those with a true phobia. Talk to your health care provider or a behavioral health specialist about treatment options, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy , exposure therapy or medications.
CBT can help you reframe your thinking and build appropriate coping skills, Pintarich said. With exposure therapy, your health care provider will gradually increase your exposure to needles, which can lessen the panic they cause. Both are highly effective treatment options.
To find a behavioral health specialist near you, visit bannerhealth.com or call the Banner Appointment Line at 800-254-4357.
Blood Test Tips For Needle Phobes
September 24, 2008 |
Boy, you get me started doing Works for Me Wednesday and then theres no shutting me up! This is one Ive been wanting to do for a while. I apologize that the majority of readers will probably not find this particularly interesting but I think that those who do like it will love it. If you have a fear of needles and blood tests, this post is for you.
As long as I can remember, Ive been terrified of needles. I think I heard that the technical term is belonephobia. If that means that you tend to have completely irrational freak-outs where you act like getting a blood test is slightly more terrifying than being sent to the guillotine, then thats what I have. This is a bad combination with the fact that I have a blood clotting disorder that is exacerbated by pregnancy, and I always seem to be pregnant.
Anyway, after a couple years now of being a regular fixture in the phlebotomy room, Ive figured out some tips and tricks that make blood tests go much more smoothly. I can honestly say that it doesnt bother me all the much now. Here are my top four tips.
1. Drink tons of water. Tons. This is the tip that has made the most difference for me. I learned it the hard way after some difficult, painful draws while I was dehydrated. The liquid part of your blood is 90% water, and chugging water before your test can really improve your blood flow and make everything go better.
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How Does Being Afraid Of Needles Affect You
This fear can affect your
- quality of life: Its quite unpleasant to spend weeks dreading an upcoming doctors appointment.
- health: Skipping recommended tests and treatment to avoid needle sticks can lead to missed diagnoses, poorly monitored medical conditions, and undertreatment. A timely example is foregoing a vaccination against COVID-19, which can have serious or even deadly consequences. Also, drug marketers sometimes play on fear of needles in their advertising, or might downplay the fact that a medication requires an injection.
- longevity: Skipping routine medical care can contribute to avoidable suffering and death. For example, a cancerous breast lump that might have been detected during routine examination may go unnoticed until much later, when its no longer curable.
Calm Friendly Environment For Children
At YourGP, we offer a calm, friendly environment for children to come to. Our practice has a relaxed environment and our staff genuinely welcome children of all ages. As most are parents themselves, theyre fully aware of how different each child can be.
We can accommodate a child who is very noisy at a clinic time where they wont disturb others, which is usually what parents and carers worry about a stress that quickly transfers to the child.
We can also make the appointment at a time where the child can wander and familiarise themselves with their surroundings. Were able to meet so many needs as long as we know about them beforehand.
If your child has had a negative experience during a visit to a doctor, or you get anxious at the thought of your child getting their blood drawn, arrange an appointment at our childrens clinic, under the watchful eye of Dr Joanne McCrone, using our online booking form.
You can also call us on 0131 225 5656 or email our reception team at . Alternatively, you are welcome to visit our clinic in Dean Village in the heart of Edinburghs west end.
If you want to keep up-to-date with our latest blog posts or ask us any questions, make sure you like us on , or follow us on and .
Roseann Young USA
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Helping A Child Handle Blood Draws
Although you canât make the needle go away, there are some things you can do to soften the experience. Click here for a list of things to do for your child before, after, and during a blood draw.
The amount of information that can be gleaned from a small amount of blood is truly amazing. This information can literally make the difference between life and death. Unfortunately, for many children, their fear of the needle stick required to obtain that small amount of blood is greater than their fear of death itself.
Here are some things you can do to help them with their fear and pain:
Mirror your childâs emotions back to him or her. If your child begins to act out before you even get to the lab, stop and talk about how he or she is feeling. You might begin by saying, âYou are acting as if you are angry.â Usually a child will respond to these kinds of statements with something like, âYeah, Iâm mad.â You can keep the conversation focused by drawing out further emotions: âIt really doesnât seem fair, does it?â âNo. Why do I have to always get stuck?!â
Let your child know that you accept his or her emotions. Donât say something like, âNow itâs time to be a big girl.â Instead say, âI understand why you are angry.â
Ways To Reduce Discomfort During Blood Draws
1. Pay attention to patient body languageThe moment you and the patient make contact, pay close attention to their reaction to determine the level of their anticipatory discomfort. Body language, eye shifting and tone of voice can give you clues about how patients will respond to blood draws. Approaching anxious patients with confidence can help alleviate their fears.
“I go in with confidence,” says Rebecca Park, RN and founder of RemediesForMe.com. “If the person who is drawing your blood seems nervous and doesn’t seem like they’ve been doing this for long, it gets the patients more nervous.”
2. Communicate with your patientEvery patient is different, so what comforts one patient during blood draws may induce anxiety in another. Instead of trying to guess the best way to approach the procedure, ask the patient what would make the process easier for them.
Ross Coyle, Public Relations Officer at Stanford Blood Center says his staff communicates by “explaining the blood draw process to new and anxious donors before and during the procedure.” Open communication can make your charges feel more comfortable and establish greater trust in you.
3. Take your timeEstablishing trust is essential to preventing a patient’s discomfort, so try not to rush through blood draws. Give the person time to inform you of any fears they might have and reassure them that you won’t insert the needle until they’ve given consent.
Contact us! We’re here to help.
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Manage Your Physical Reaction
If you’re concerned about fainting, you can take steps to minimise the risk of this. “Some people are worried that they’ll panic so much that theyll pass out,” says Mason. “But panicking tends to raise our blood pressure, and it’s low blood pressure that would cause us to faint. Understanding this physiology can be helpful.”
It’s also helpful to mention at your appointment if you’re worried about or prone to fainting or feeling wobbly. “The nurse or phlebotomist will be able to take blood with you lying in a more reclined position if you’re worried about dizziness or passing out,” Mason advises. “It’s worth raising the issue with them – they will be used to patients feeling this way.”
Getting A Child Through A Blood Draw
Theres nothing I dread more than watching my daughter endure a blood draw, except perhaps watching a struggling technician try to locate a good vein. But after going through five in 2 1/2 years , I have become somewhat of a pro. I know what to expect, I know what to ask for, and I know how to make my child as comfortable as possible.
Expect the Best
No matter what the doctor or nurse who is scheduling the blood draw says, the worst place to let them do a blood draw on your child is in the lab. Many of the technicians are afraid to work on a small child, especially a baby, and will waste huge amounts of time trying to work up the courage to put a needle into your babys arm. They will say they cant find a vein. But then the more experienced technician will walk in after your child is screaming and you are ready to walk out the door and she will put the needle in and draw out the blood as if it was the most basic skill a person could have. Skip the dramatics. Find out who the best person is to perform your childs blood draw. There are nurses who specialize in working with children. They are the people you want. Ask for them. Demand them. You will not regret it.
Insist on Comfort
Ease the Pain
To Talk or Not to Talk About It
As parents, we are saddened by what are children have to go through. But we arent weakened by it. Insist on the best care and your child will receive the best care. You just have to know what to ask for while getting a child through a blood draw.
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Getting Blood Drawn Dealing With A Fear Of Needles
Having your blood drawn is a very common procedure that is necessary for diagnosing and treating a wide range of conditions and illnesses. Most people will have their blood drawn many times throughout their lives, and in general, these tend to be nonevents.
But for others, having blood drawn can trigger feelings of extreme fear and anxiety. People with severe needle phobias may even avoid medical testing altogether, which could inhibit their ability to receive accurate diagnoses.
Some people develop a fear of needles in response to a negative experience perhaps they had a difficult blood draw in the past, or experienced an adverse effect such as fainting. Other people may have been raised by a family member with a fear of needles, and inherited the phobia. Generalized anxiety and low pain tolerance can also trigger a fear of needles.
In any case, there are a few tips you can follow to calm your nerves before having your blood drawn, to ensure a less stressful blood draw experience.
Making Blood Tests Easier For Children With Autism
Posted on June 5th, 2015
For many of us, the idea of seeing needles or blood never mind actually getting blood drawn can leave us in a state of anxiety. But for parents and carers with autistic children, getting a blood test can be even more challenging for everyone involved.
Many with autism have trouble understanding things that are new to them, like people, places and events . Often when theyre scared, anxious or find themselves in a situation they cant understand, their response can be unpredictable, extreme and even volatile.
At YourGP, were fully aware of the anxieties associated with autistic behaviours, and when drawing blood, we take the time to try and offer the right environment, for all involved, prioritising the childs needs.
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My Kid On Xanax For Needle Phobiaseptember : 08 Pm Subscribe
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What Causes The Fear Of Needles
Although your physical reaction to needles may be intense, it can be hard to put a finger on exactly why you get nervous about getting a shot or giving blood.
Logically, you know that you will be okay, but somehow that knowledge doesnt stop you from breaking into a cold sweat in your doctors office.
We are preprogrammed to see something that pierces our skin as threatening, Bedard-Gilligan explains. Sometimes this response is helpful, but it depends on the context. With a shot or a blood test, this fear is happening in the wrong place.
Bedard-Gilligan likens your fear response to an alarm system. When your palms sweat or your heart rate picks up, a subconscious alarm is going off to warn you about danger. This is why it can be hard to say exactly why you are afraid the physical response is an innate reaction to anything that is sharp or could cause you to bleed.
While this fear response helps keep you safe by discouraging you from plunging your bare arm into a thorny bush while gardening or provoking an animal while hiking, it isnt helpful when you need to get a shot or have your blood drawn.
In these cases, the fear or anxiety you are feeling is a false alarm because you arent in any danger.
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How To Overcome Hemophobia
This article was co-authored by Paul Chernyak, LPC. Paul Chernyak is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago. He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in 2011.There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 23,063 times.
Hemophobia is the fear of blood, and it can have major impacts on your overall health. It usually causes fainting, which can lead to injury. Additionally, people who fear blood often put off vital medical procedures. Fortunately, most people can overcome it with exposure therapy. If you faint when you see blood, incorporate applied tension therapy, which can prevent fainting by raising your blood pressure. Don’t worry if you have trouble managing hemophobia on your own. An experienced therapist can help you conquer your fear.
Fear Of Needles & The Pandemic
Each year, a large portion of the population chooses not to receive a flu shot because of their fear of needles.7 Unfortunately, this includes some people who are at higher risk of complications or death if they contract the flu. A fear of needles may also cause people to avoid other vaccines and preventative medicine, including the COVID-19 vaccine.
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Why Do Some People Faint At The Sight Of Blood Or A Needle
Fainting is caused by a sudden drop in your heart rate or blood pressure. When we are anxious, our heart rate and blood pressure actually go up. This is why it is so rare to faint when you are feeling anxious. However, some people with a fear of blood or needles experience an initial increase and then a sudden drop in their blood pressure, which can result in fainting. This drop in blood pressure is called the vasovagal response. Only a small minority of people have this response at the sight of blood or needles. The good news is, if you have this problem there is a way to prevent it and keep yourself from fainting.
In most cases, fainting is harmless.The sudden drop in blood pressure that results from the vasovagal response is not dangerous or life-threatening.
However, it is important that you discuss your fainting with a doctor before using this technique or exposing yourself to situations that could cause fainting.