What Causes Needle Phobia
Needle phobia results from a combination of factors :
- Genetics. An unusually large percentage of those with needle phobia have relatives with needle phobia, which suggests a genetic basis for it. Indeed, from an evolutionary perspective, it is protective to be fearful of having your skin pierced, because that would make you more careful about avoiding cuts, bruises or injuries.
- Life events. People with needle phobias may have had a bad, painful needle in the past or hearing or witnessing someone with a bad experience.
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Are You Suffering From Anxiety
Take our 2-minute anxiety quiz to see if you may benefit from further diagnosis and treatment.
For example, the person who is immobilized at the thought of flying might, in an exposure therapy treatment, might begin by reading a story about a plane crash, and gradually work up to going to an airport without boarding a plane, then boarding a plane without taking off, then finally taking a short flight
With repeated exposure in a safe place, such as a therapists office, to the event that created the trauma, the anxiety level subsides.
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Phobias, or irrational fears, can be difficult to handle if not downright debilitating. But in BE AFRAID: The Science of Fear, a documentary from The Nature of Things, we meet a researcher from the Netherlands who is testing a method that may be able to cure phobias after a single treatment session.
Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder characterized by a persistent, intense and irrational fear of an object, activity or situation. Some phobias are thought to be rooted in past traumatic experiences, while others may be inherited or learned from family members.
According to the Canadian Psychological Association, phobias occur in more than one in 10 Canadians. There are three major categories of phobias: agoraphobia , social anxiety disorder , and simple or specific phobias. Specific phobias are centred around a particular animal, person, environment or situation.
For some, dealing with their phobia is as easy as avoiding its stimulus. But while it might be easy to avoid snakes if you have ophidiophobia, other phobias can be much harder to sidestep, like a fear of leaving your home. For these phobias, treatment tends to involve drug treatment and psychotherapies like cognitive behavioural therapy , where patients may be gradually exposed to the object of their phobia and taught ways to cope.
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Dont Force Yourself To Interact
Step number two is not to force any interaction. It’s easy to think “oh, I’m being silly”, “this dog looks friendly, I’m just going to get stuck in”. Really don’t force it.
Also don’t allow anyone in your family, or friends who are close to you to try and force you into a situation where you come into contact with dogs. They might have the friendliest dog. They might think that it’s never going to cause any problems and that there’s no way you should be scared of it. But don’t force their views onto you.
Again, you want to set yourself up for success. So just be clear that you’re not comfortable and avoid those situations.
What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Needle Phobia
People with needle phobia can experience rapid breathing or heart rate, anxiety, sweating and trembling. Some feel nauseous while others cant sleep in advance of a shot or medical procedure. The fear may even trigger whats called a vasovagal response a sudden drop in blood pressure that causes dizziness and even fainting.
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Does The Person Faint With Needles
Try the following for people who faint from their vasovagal reflex:
- Have the person lying down, or have their legs elevated while the needle is given.
- After the needle, the person should stay lying or sitting and only stand up gradually and slowly.
- Do ask the person to relax the needle arm, while tensing the muscles of the opposite arms, torso and legs.
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How To Overcome Plane Phobia End Your Fear Of Flying Forever
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Find Out What Helps Them
Ask your friend or family member what you can do to help. For example, it might help to:
- take them out of the situation
- talk to them calmly
- do breathing exercises with them.
This might help them feel safer and calmer when they start to feel frightened or panicked. Knowing that you are around, and know what to do, can feel reassuring.
“I feel better if I have someone with me who knows about my anxiety and how to calm me down. It helps if I just focus on that person talking.”
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Here Are The Basic Steps For Practicing Mindfulness:
- Notice when your mind has become focused on your phobia unnecessarily
- Let go of thoughts about the phobia by paying attention to the present moment instead
- Use a mindful breathing technique, such as placing one hand on your chest and feeling the movement of each breath entering and exiting your body
- Alternatively, try tuning into each one of your senses. Observe the different things you can see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. Spend a few minutes noticing each sense, if you can.
- If your mind wanders to your phobia, gently refocus on the present moment
Dealing With A Phobia On Your Own
Our reactions to phobias can be as different as the things that trigger them. Some people run away. Others cry. Some people become angry and hostile. Some freeze in place.
Think about the times that you have accidentally run into a situation that triggered your phobia. Intentionally placing yourself into the feared situation will likely trigger a similar reaction.
Some people find that when they intentionally confront their triggers, the sense of control it gives them lessens their reactions. However, this experience is by no means universal.
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How Common Is Trypanophobia
Whether youre a child with type 1 diabetes who requires insulin injections or an adult needing a shot for a medical condition, needles spark fear. In fact, trypanophobia, or a fear of needles, is surprisingly prevalent. About 25% of adults are afraid of needles, and around 7% of adults avoid immunizations because of their fear. 1 The phobia is also called aichmophobia, which Merriam-Webster defines as a morbid fear of sharp or pointed objects .2
The majority of children have a fear of needles, while estimates for needle fear ranged from 20 to 50% in adolescents and 20 to 30% in young adults. Typically, aichmophobia decreases as people get older, and it is more common in females than males, according to one systematic review and meta-analysis. 3
How Can I Support A Friend Or Family Member Who Has A Phobia
If you have a friend or loved one that is struggling with a phobia, your support can make a big difference. Struggling with a phobia can be really isolating, especially if the phobia is around something that doesnt tend to cause anxiety in most people. Having a friend, family member or someone you trust on your side can make you feel more confident to face your challenges and overcome your phobia.
Here are some ways you can support a friend or loved one who has a phobia:
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How To Get Over A Phobia 100% Working Techniques
Everybody is afraid of something, and we should all be. Those fears are what keep us safe from poisonous snakes, huge tornadoes and other threatening situations. Fear can become a phobia when that normal fight-or-flight response goes awry.
Research explains that people who suffer from phobias usually overestimate or even exaggerate the risk of injury or death, while the fear still persists. If you think about your own phobias, youll understand what I mean.
Suddenly, it seems as if that spider on the wall will jump onto your face, ruin all your hopes, and destroy all your dreams. Youre going to have to sit there, ignore it, and maybe itll look a little gross. Arachnophobes may have to pack up and find a place to stay with a friend if they have arachnophobia. If the spider did not bother them, they might just ignore it or put it outside.
Why do people develop such fears? Nicole Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC, explained in an email interview, Phobia simply means fear of something irrational or extreme Someone born with a phobia usually associates it with fear or a bad experience.
It is possible to overcome your phobias, no matter what their origins may be. If you are persistent, some improvements can be seen and you can move forward. The following are some tips and techniques you can use to overcome your phobia.
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What Are The Causes Of Ophidiophobia
Much like other specific phobias, a fear of snakes can come from a variety of causes. It may actually have multiple factors, each layered on top of the other, taking a latent fear and turning it into something anxiety inducing. Some causes of ophidiophobia include:
- A negative experience. A traumatic experience with a snake, especially at a young age, could leave you with a long-term phobia of the creatures. This could include being bitten or being in a frightening environment that prominently featured snakes and in which you felt trapped or helpless.
- Learned behaviors. If you grew up seeing a parent or relative demonstrating terror around snakes, then you may have learned they were something to fear. This is true of many specific phobias, including ophidiophobia.
- Portrayal in media. Often we learn to fear something because popular media or society tells us it is scary. Clowns, bats, mice, and indeed snakes often end up in this position. If you saw too many scary movies or frightening images featuring snakes over a long period of time, you could learn to be afraid of them.
- Learning about negative experiences. Hearing someone describe a frightening experience with a snake could be triggering. Fear often comes from the expectation of something causing pain or discomfort as opposed to a memory of actually experiencing it.
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How Do I Get Help
Talking therapies, like counselling or Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, are very effective for people with anxiety problems, including Computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which takes you through a series of self-help exercises on screen. Visit your GP to find out more.
Drug treatments are used to provide short-term help, rather than looking at the root of the anxiety problems. Drugs may be most useful when they are combined with other treatments or support.
You can learn a lot about managing anxiety from asking other people who have experienced it. Local support groups or self-help groups bring together people with similar experiences so that they can hear each others stories, share tips and encourage each other to try out new ways to manage themselves. Your doctor, library or local Citizens Advice bureau will have details of support groups near you.
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Here Are The Basic Steps For Identifying And Changing Unrealistic Beliefs:
- Write down your thoughts about the phobia. Try not to overanalyze this step just write down anything that comes to mind.
- Identify thoughts that might be untrue or unhelpful.
- Reframe your thoughts to become more accurate and helpful.
- Write down your new thoughts, and read them regularly so they become familiar. It might also help to visualize your fear and rehearse your new thoughts.
- When youre exposed to your phobia, choose a helpful thought to focus on.
- After experiencing your fear, it might be useful to review your list of helpful thoughts for reassurance.
Preparing To Overcome Needle Phobia
The good news is, there is plenty that you can start doing now to prepare yourself ahead of your vaccination date. Essential, is to begin changing the way you think about vaccinations.
Be mindful of the language you use in the run up to your vaccination. Telling yourself that it will be awful terrible or a nightmare will only add to your anxiety. Instead, use less emotionally-charged language, like it will be unpleasant but over quickly. Remind yourself of when you have had needles before and been fine. And consider how many millions of people across the world are in the same situation.
When you find yourself worrying, bring a dose of perspective to the situation. Close your eyes and try to visualise the 5 minutes youll be at the vaccination centre for, marked on a timeline of your life. Try to zoom out, so that you can see your whole life on one timeline. Better still, keep zooming out, now seeing the timelines of your parents, your grandparents, your great grandparents, the Middle Ages, the Romans, all the way back in time. See that in the grand scheme of things, your vaccination is a blip in time and one youll soon forget about.
You may also want to try the helicopter view exercise I outlined in previous blog here.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Phobias
The symptoms of a phobia can range from mild feelings of apprehension and anxiety to a full-blown panic attack. Typically, the closer you are to the thing youre afraid of, the greater your fear will be. Your fear will also be higher if getting away is difficult.
Physical symptoms of a phobia include:
- Difficulty breathing
Emotional symptoms of a phobia include:
- Feeling overwhelming anxiety or panic
- Feeling intense need to escape
- Feeling unreal or detached from yourself
- Fear of losing control or going crazy
- Feeling like youre going to die or pass out
- Knowing that youre overreacting, but feeling powerless to control fear
Symptoms of blood-injection-injury phobia
The symptoms of blood-injection-injury phobia are slightly different from other phobias. When confronted with the sight of blood or a needle, you experience not only fear, but also disgust.
Like other phobias, you initially feel anxious as your heart speeds up. However, unlike other phobias, this acceleration is followed by a quick drop in blood pressure, which leads to nausea, dizziness, and fainting. Although a fear of fainting is common in all specific phobias, blood-injection-injury phobia is the only phobia where fainting can actually occur.
Tips To Work Through Your Fear And Live Your Life
If you are experiencing overwhelming fear or anxiety, especially a phobia, please consider working with a therapist. Additionally, here are some suggestions that have helped many of my patients work through being hostage to their own fears:
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Here Are The Basic Steps For In Vivo Exposure Therapy:
- You might like to enlist the support and encouragement of a mental health professional
- Develop an exposure hierarchy for your phobia by determining the different levels of exposure you can explore for example, looking at images of your phobia trigger, watching videos about it, seeing your phobia trigger from a distance, seeing your phobia trigger up close, and touching or holding your phobia trigger .
- Begin with the first level of your exposure hierarchy . Continue this activity until the fear begins to subside. The aim is to stay in the anxiety-provoking situation long enough to learn its not dangerous. Move on to level two of your exposure hierarchy when youre ready and continue.
- Try to avoid using safety behaviors. For example, I stopped taking my feet off the floor of the car whenever we drove past a snake on the road. Safety behaviors help release some anxiety in the short-term, but they also reinforce the fear of the trigger.