Being afraid of needles (belonephobia) can be huge a problem for many reasons. If you need an injection or blood drawn for medical testing, it can be an incredibly stressful experience for the individual. Consequently, many people avoid contact with the medical profession altogether.
Phobias are often related to the following issues:
Trypanophobia is a form of belonephobia, but the fear only relates to having blood taken or receiving an injection. There are many underlying reasons for the problem, but it often stems from a negative experience (pain or fainting) during childhood. The mind refuses to forget or recover from what’s happened.
Just the thought of holding out your arm for a needle to be inserted is enough to induce panic. The pain seems disproportionate because you’re expecting the experience to be worse.
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Phobias affect us all differently. You may have an extreme phobia and find that you experience a multitude of symptoms at the same time. Others experience far fewer symptoms.
Here are some common signs of a needle phobia:
The most common issue is vasovagal syncope. According to the Mayo Clinic, this is where the person faints due to a sudden drop in blood pressure caused by the situation that’s being faced. In short, it’s the body reacting adversely to a specific trigger.
Here are some of the things that you can do to feel more relaxed:
Professionals undergo extensive training so that they are highly skilled at their job.
Bear in mind is that they are always on-hand to put you at ease. For them to know that you have a fear, let them know straight away that you are nervous about needles. You’re not alone!
They will strive to take your sample as comfortably as possible. They may use a very small needle, known as a butterfly needle. You can ask them if that’s an option if it’s not already been suggested. This is helpful if you have a ‘classic phobia.’
Ensuring that you’re hydrated before blood is taken is important. Drinking a large glass of water can help to maintain the volume of your blood.
It can help the phlebotomist to find a visible and cooperative vein, even if you’re carrying a few extra pounds. It will prevent your veins from collapsing which can be uncomfortable.
Of course, there are other liquids that you can drink, but water is the best way to hydrate your body. If you’re getting a one-off injection, the requirement to drink water isn’t as important.
Avoid stiffening up and sitting upright like a tightly-coiled spring. This can make the process more uncomfortable for you.
Meditation can be beneficial. Practicing relaxation techniques before you go to your appointment can go a long way in helping you to de-stress.
Slow and regular deep breathing will aid the release of muscle tension. Additionally, keeping a positive internal dialogue with the doctor/nurse can help to reinforce the feeling of relaxation. Less body tension means less discomfort, allowing the professional to do his job more effectively.
As long as you’re not getting a blood test that requires fasting, you should consider eating some food to raise your blood sugars. This will help, even if you feel sick with worry.
Something healthy and rich in calories, like a banana, can be beneficial. Not only will carb-rich food help to keep your brain alert, but it would mean that you’re less likely to faint due to a sudden fall in blood pressure (vasovagal reflex reaction).
If you do tend to faint, you should inform your phlebotomist before any blood is drawn. They can arrange for you to lie down to have the blood taken. This could prevent unnecessary injury.
Let the medical professional know about your fear of needles immediately.
Discuss your options and what you can both do to remove the anxiety. The chances are that they will have come across people with needle phobias in the past and WILL be able to assist you!
While the above points can be helpful in overcoming a needle fear, they won’t work for everyone.
We’ve put together some further ways to overcome your fear:
If you’ve tried the above points more than once and are still struggling, you may need to take further action. When a phobia has been left unresolved for too long, it can be difficult to get your mind to accept the new and more positive behavior.
You may be worried about the following items:
Sharp items lead to fears that are specific to the individual. Some people are afraid of cutting themselves or injuring someone else. While others are terrified of coming into contact with something sharp or pointy.
The fear of needles (belonephobia) is classified as a form of aichmophobia. However, there are other phobias that fall under this broad umbrella. We are all concerned about different items and objects.
Much like all phobias, there are different triggers concerning the fear of sharp objects. Some people are afraid of sharp knives, such as chef knives or hunting knives, for example. Others are afraid of items that are as seemingly harmless, like butter knives.
Fears of items, such as sewing pins and knitting needles, can be due to a deeper psychological fear. For example, visualizing needles piercing the skin while sewing or stitching.
Some people fear all objects that they perceive as being sharp. This can include umbrella tips, paper clips, and clothes hangers.
Usually, the more severe the phobia is, the more items will act as triggers. However, there are ways to live a normal stress-free life.
Because aichmophobia is the fear of virtually all sharp objects, it can be a more difficult issue to overcome than belonephobia.
Always remember the following:
It can take time to recondition your mind, but it’s entirely possible.
Attempting to look at items that scare you from a different perspective is the best place to start. A positive attitude and renewed outlook can help you to move forward.
While you may feel alone, thousands of other people deal with the same problem every day. Own your fear and know that YOU can change it.
Facing your fears head-on can be highly effective. However, it’s always best to gradually build up your exposure to your fear of needles or sharp items.
Build yourself up to spending some time with the source of your fear – even if it’s for a short amount of time. Start slowly and gradually build upon that achievement.
Teach yourself not to allow your fears to debilitate you. This can be hard, but it’s entirely doable. Just keep pushing forward with gradual steps.
At times, every day may seem like a hurdle and some days may feel like you’re not making any progress at all. In times like these, step back and revisit why you’re on this journey. You’ll be surprised at just how far you’ve come.
Setbacks happen. However, by learning to overcome these setbacks, you’re growing and moving forward as a person. Changing your thought process is the start of your journey. So, more positive thoughts and a can-do attitude will enable you to succeed.
Depending on the severity of your phobia, you may have found yourself in situations where you’ve missed out on experiences. Sometimes, the fear that you experience can be paralyzing.
You’ve more than likely had setbacks, but there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Everyone has fears, and they’re all different. You are taking steps to overcome your phobia.
A doctor can advise on the best steps to take. If you don’t think that your doctor is taking your phobia seriously, you should seek advice from an alternative medical professional.
Alternative sources of medical assistance can be beneficial in some instances. These include hypnotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and counseling.
Much depends on your belief in alternative medicine.
Regardless of whether you have a fear of needles or sharp objects, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be beneficial.
You may be able to benefit from CBT in the following situations:
According to the NHS, Injection and needle phobia affects 3.5 % to 10% of the population.
If you decide to get CBT, they will help you through the different aspects of your phobia.
Some of the techniques include:
Rather than dealing directly with needles, you’ll simulate the activity. This can assist with the transition, meaning that you can face your fear head-on at a later date when you’re more ready.
A fear of needles and sharp objects is a complex condition with many causes. The same treatments will not work for everyone, so a certain amount of trial and error is required to overcome the issue.
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