If you get shivers just at the prospect of getting your blood drawn out by a needle, you might be suffering from a serious phobia. Scientifically known as trypanophobia, the fear of needles is characterized by an intensely negative and involuntary reaction by your body at the sight of a needle penetrating the skin.
Trypanophobia is not an uncommon condition among adults, with about 23 percent of the adult population genuinely scared of needles. Unlike most phobias, the fear of needles is often based on past experiences, a fear of blood or even a fear of medical practitioners. The fears are often deeply ingrained into a person’s mentality from childhood.
If one suffers from the fear of getting their blood drawn out by needles, reactions can be extreme in some cases. While a bit of heavy breathing and sweating is all that some people experience, others go through violent bouts of nausea, a feeling of suffocation, a crippling anxiety and even loss of consciousness. It is not a trivial matter in any way as it can heavily influence a person’s decision to seek medical attention even when suffering from life-threatening conditions.
So how does one get over the seemingly insurmountable fear of needles?
On some level, everybody views needles as scary contraptions. Most people are just not that affected by them. One way you can slowly get over your phobia for needles is to do some research. You can read up on the history of needles, find out how they work, and discover why injections are so important. The main aim is to objectify the needle by getting as much information about it as possible.
2. Don’t Anticipate the Pain
What most people do wrong is they focus on the painful part of the injection. This is generally a bad idea because when the time for the injection comes, you will be reduced to a bundle of nerves. Try your best to think about anything than the pain that comes with being injected. Distract your mind as much as possible.
3. Butterfly Needles Hurt Less
Butterfly needles are doctors’ answers to people with a fear of needles. They generally hurt a lot less and look less threatening. If possible, you should request your doctor or nurse to use a butterfly needle instead.
4. Request An Experienced Medical Practitioner
If you already have an existing fear of needles, students and interns will probably make it worse. Nothing’s quite as unsettling as a doctor or nurse with shaky aim holding one of your worst fears with the intention of using it on you. A seasoned doctor will put you at ease with their confidence and will get the job done swiftly and as painlessly as possible.
5. Dissociate Your Fear with the Bad Experience
Bad experiences with needles rarely go away, especially if they resulted in bloody messes. The best thing to do in order to forget is to create a new memory and associate it with having your blood drawn. For instance, you can reward yourself after every injection and tune your body to anticipate the reward after the injection rather than dread the pain.
Help for panic attacks is always on the cards if the condition gets to a point where you need to seek medical attention. The fear of needles should be addressed as leaving it to sort itself out rarely works out for anyone.