Fear Of Needles And A Related Fear Of Sharp Objects Is Surprisingly Prevalent Follow These Expert Tips To Help You Step Up To The Syringe
When my then nine-year-old daughter Molly was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, she developed aichmophobia as well as trypanophobia , and with good reason. Each day, she had to endure multiple finger pricks, repeated blood glucose checks, and several insulin injections. In the initial months following Mollys diagnosis, my husband and I were in charge of managing her blood sugar but were eager to help her overcome her fear so she could slowly start to be responsible for her own diabetes care.
One weekend, I was out of town covering a conference for work and my parents volunteered to help my husband with the kids during my absence. When it came time for Mollys insulin injection, my dad told her he would give her five dollars if she would do the injection herself. Never one to turn down money, Molly took up Grandpa on his offer, overcame her fear, and gave herself the insulin shot. From that day on, she took over all her blood testing and insulin injections.
Maybe offering a monetary bribe wasnt exactly the right way to persuade Molly to overcome her fear of needles, but small rewards are actually recommended to help kids get over their fears, says Elisabeth Almekinder, RN, BA, CDC, of Black River Health Services, Inc. in Atkinson, North Carolina.
What Is Injection And Needle Phobia
Some people feel extremely anxious just thinking about or seeing needles and injections. This anxiety means you might avoid having blood tests and vaccinations. Some people with a fear of needles may have bad memories from a previous experience of having blood tests or procedures, but this anxiety can occur even without that memory. Or it may be the sight of blood that makes you feel anxious or upset. As well as feeling anxious, other symptoms can include changes in your blood pressure, feeling faint, sweating or an increased heart rate.
For Many People Therapy Is Effective For Overcoming Needle Phobia
Exposure therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, is effective in helping people overcome phobias, Dr. Spray says. This can be accomplished in as little as six to eight sessions, but it is usually closer to 12, she says. Your therapist will help you establish a hierarchy of fear-inducing activitieseverything from walking by a blood bank, to watching a video of someone getting a vaccine, to actually giving blood or getting a shot yourself. Then, theyll help you work on gradually exposing yourself to those feared situations, starting with the mildly to moderately scary, and working up, Dr. Spray explains. Sometimes this starts with the therapist joining, but most of this happens between sessions, she says.
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How To Get Over Your Fear Of Needles
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Hardly anyone loves getting a shot. For many, its simply a part of life sometimes, youve just gotta get pricked. For others, however, needles can be terrifying. High blood pressure, gut-wrenching anxiety, dizziness and even fainting are all possible signs of distress in someone with trypanophobiathe fear of needles.
Its a real fear, and overcoming it is easier said than done. Depending upon your medical needs, getting poked could be a way of life so its important to reduce the mental burden. These days we all need a bit more peace of mind, so whether its the usual or only an occasion lets discover what it takes to lessen your stress around needles.
As a mobile drip spa, we administer thousands of IV drips to patients across Houston and can certainly give you some tips on overcoming your needle phobiafor good!
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As a result, subsequent vaccinations or blood draws can be met with fear fear of the procedure and fear of the pain. Fear is like ramping up the volume on your alarm system, Baxter says. People perceive more pain when they have fear.
The good news is that we dont have to live with fear and pain forever. Here are a few expert-approved tips to help patients young and old cope with needles.
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If Fear Is Keeping You From Vaccines And Other Medical Procedures Seek Help
If you get anxious or moderately afraid around needles, deep breathing, positive associations, and rewards can help. But these tactics may not be so effective for someone who has a true phobia. Not everyone is going to be forced into exposure the way Bami was, but there are ways to expose yourself in a controlled way to effectively overcome your fear.
Both Dr. Spray and Brown encourage people who having a debilitating fear of needles to see a therapist. Treatments for phobias are extremely effective, and the process can be relatively quick, Dr. Spray says. Look for a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy. And dont forget to remind yourself that this fear is common, Brown says. Youre certainly not alone, but you also dont have to live in fear forever.
As for Bami, she now gets her blood tested every month, and receives an IV treatment every 6 months to control her MS. The progression from where I was in college to where I am now is like night and day, she says, adding, incredulously, I dont even need Reba anymore.
Expose Yourself To Needles
Deliberately exposing yourself to your fearsin this case, needlescan make them less intimidating. Exposure therapy might begin with viewing pictures or videos of needles and progress to watching someone else get a shot.
“The person is gradually shown these things that evoke anxiety,” Chernoff says. “Over time, the anxiety will come down and they’ll learn, ‘Oh, this is actually not dangerous. I can survive this.'”
Chernoff says exposure therapy can be provided by behavior therapists who specialize in treating anxiety and phobias. But people with mild fear may be able to guide themselves through the steps.
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What Causes Fear Of Needles Anyway
There are a lot of theories, says Dr. Spray. Sometimes, theres a negative event early in life and that can lead to intense far. There also may be an adaptive componentits probably good to be fearful of a sharp object coming your way from a stranger, she says. The goal is that over time, as you go to get shots or blood drawn, you learn its not something you have to be fearful of. But sometimes that doesnt happen, says Dr. Spray. A particularly traumatic experience or messages from family members and the media that tell us needles are scary can exacerbate that fear.
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Being Restrained Can Make Things Worse
Speaking of loss of control: Brown says that being held down for shots or blood work as a kid increases the risk that person will develop a needle phobia. Restraining of children is definitely not good, I do not recommended that, she says. Its a complete loss of control, and then something kind of painful happens. For kids, this may feel traumatic enough for them to develop a deep-seated fear with real staying power.
How Children And Adults Can Overcome Needle Phobia
Many people want the protection of the COVID-19 vaccine but are afraid to get shots because they suffer from needle phobia or fear of needles.
Needle phobia is quite common. But, the good news is that both children and adults can get help dealing with their fears.
Some people can overcome their needle phobia after just a few sessions with a behavioral health expert.
For others, simple calming strategies can make it easier and less frightening to get vaccines.
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Covid Vaccine And Needle Phobia: ‘it Feels Like The World Is Ending’
Adam really wants to get vaccinated against Covid-19, but an extreme fear of needles is holding him back.
The 23-year-old from Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, says it’s not the pain he’s afraid of. For him, it’s the thought of the injection itself – and the needle piercing his skin.
“It feels like the world is ending in that moment,” Adam says.
“It feels like you have no way out, you can’t do anything, your heart rate’s pushing 200, you can’t focus on anything.
“It’s about a pathological fear of needles.”
In total, over 85 million doses of the Covid vaccine have been administered across the UK.
But a recent Oxford University survey of more than 15,000 adults in the UK suggests needle phobia accounts for about 10% of Covid vaccine hesitancy.
More than 68% of 18 to 29-year-olds in England have had a first jab, while 88.6% of all UK adults have had one.
The survey suggests reluctance to get the Covid jab is generally a bit higher in younger people and some ethnic minority groups.
Adam has severe anxiety – and he thinks his needle phobia developed after he had his ear pierced when he was eight.
It took weeks for him to get himself to a vaccine centre to even attempt to get a Covid jab. But when he saw his local hospital’s vaccine centre put a message out on Facebook offering support to anyone nervous about the jab, Adam decided to take the plunge.
How Common Is Needle Phobia And Does It Result In Vaccine Hesitancy
Needle phobia is so common that theres even a fancy name for it: trypanophobia.
A recent meta-analysis of multiple research studies found that a majority of children suffer from needle fear or phobia, while as many as half of teens and one-third of young adults suffer from needle phobia.
The analysis found that its common for people to avoid annual flu shots and other vaccines due to their needle phobia.
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Is A Fear Of Needles Standing Between You And The Covid
More than a year after COVID-19 sent the world into lockdown, safe and effective vaccines to protect against the virus are being administered across Canada. In addition to reducing your risk for infection, mass vaccination is also the first step towards achieving herd immunity. According to the Canadian government, everyone in Canada who wants to be vaccinated should be able to get their first shot by July, and be fully immunized by September.
For many of us, waiting for things to get back to normal is the hardest part, but for others this experience is far more than just a tiny prick. If the thought of needles makes you dizzy, then getting vaccinated can become another source of stress and anxiety. In Canada, about one in four adults report that theyre afraid of needles. Heres what you need to know about having a fear of needles and what can be done to manage it.
How To Overcome A Fear Of Needles To Get Your Covid
Tips from a nurse and a psychiatrist for an easier appointment.
A Pfizer injection at a mass vaccination site in March at the Circuit of the Americas racetrack in Austin, Texas.
Scared of needles? You’re not alone. Trypanophobia, the medical term for extreme fear of needles, is nothing new. It’s like any other phobia: It could be rational or irrational, but the fact is, it exists and can make necessary life scenarios feel impossible.
Dr. Jeffrey Ditzell, a New York-based psychiatrist, says trypanophobia is relatively common — it affects an estimated 20 to 30% of adults — but health care professionals have experienced an uptick in day-to-day cases due to the influx of patients eligible for COVID-19 vaccines.
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While needles are no big deal to most people, those with trypanophobia can experience extremely unsettling symptoms, including sweating, tremors, racing heart rate, dizziness or even fainting, Ditzell says.
“The underpinnings of this fear likely have a protective biological basis, adaptive value in avoiding sharp and potentially dangerous things,” Ditzell explains.
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Coping At The Doctor’s Office
What Are The Symptoms Of Trypanophobia
The symptoms of trypanophobia can greatly interfere with a persons quality of life. These symptoms can be so intense that they can be debilitating. Symptoms are present when a person sees needles or is told they will have to undergo a procedure that involves needles. Symptoms include:
- feeling emotionally or physically violent
- avoiding or running away from medical care
The goal of treatment for trypanophobia is to address the underlying cause of your phobia. So your treatment may be different from someone elses.
Most people with trypanophobia are recommended some kind of psychotherapy as their treatment. This could include:
Cognitive behavioral therapy . This involves exploring your fear of needles in therapy sessions and learning techniques to cope with it. Your therapist will help you learn different ways to think about your fears and how they affect you. In the end, you should walk away feeling a confidence or mastery over your thoughts and feelings.
Exposure therapy. This is similar to CBT in that its focused on changing your mental and physical response to your fear of needles. Your therapist will expose you to needles and the related thoughts they trigger. For example, your therapist might first show you photos of a needle. They might next have you stand next to a needle, hold a needle, and then perhaps imagine getting injected with a needle.
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What To Do About Needle Phobia
Healthcare professionals need to realise the importance of needle phobia. It can be frustrating in a busy clinic to find a patient with needle phobia. However, this needs to be treated with patience and kindness. Lets remember that pain management is a human right.
Now, amid the COVID-29 pandemic, is a perfect time to address this problem, help patients overcome their fears, and improve their opportunities for healthcare in the future.
Patients can be referred to the Psychology Team for further help. The technique employed is often to break the process of venepunctures into a series of small steps
Whats The Difference Between A Fear And A Phobia
Everyone feels scared at some point, from getting slightly startled by a squirrel on your morning run or encountering a grease fire on the stove. A phobia, on the other hand, is a medically diagnosed condition, combining extreme fear, anxiety, and avoidance in a way that interferes with your life, says Dr. Meghan McMurtry, an associate professor in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Guelph and a specialist in medical procedure-related fear.
Its estimated that up to four per cent of the general population has a blood injury injection phobia, a condition in which someone is likely to faint at the sight of blood, or at the anticipation of an injection or injury. Like a game of dodgeball, people with phobias try to avoid whatever triggers their fear or anxiety at any cost, which can lead to a limitation on daily activities and can put a strain on relationships. With a phobia, the feelings of fear and anxiety are commonly out of proportion to the danger posed. As well, people with phobias dont benefit from the same pain management strategies often recommended for those with a low level of fear, and usually require professional help.
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