5 ways to beat your trypanophobia (the fear of needles)

Painful injectionIf you’ve ever taken a child for a shot, you know how much they may fear that needle. Even though it’s just one poke, that tiny needle can start some serious crying, howling, and anxiety for little ones. It can make the whole process very trying for parents and children. Being afraid of a shot is pretty common when you’re young, but what about as you get older? Is it normal to still be scared of needles?

No one likes getting a shot, but if your fear is intense, causes you anxiety, or makes you avoid getting medical procedures, you may have trypanophobia or the fear of needles. Many people who have trypanophobia experience anxiety, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, panic attacks, when they prepare to receive a shot. These feelings are valid, but unfortunately, can be challenging to overcome. So what can you do to prepare for a medical procedure involving needles?

  1. Seek medical attention if your fear is severe. If you avoid medical care or become extremely upset or sick when receiving a shot, speak to a medical professional. Your family doctor may be able to recommend medications to help decrease anxiety.
  2. Seek psychotherapy. Fear comes from the brain, so you’ll need to address why you fear needles and learn coping techniques to brave your fear. Cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure therapy may be able to help you.
  3. Practice mindfulness. Some forms of mindfulness like meditation, visualization, or deep breathing can be great ways to calm down and prepare yourself to receive an injection. These techniques can reduce your anxiety without medical intervention.
  4. Ask for alternative treatment options. You can’t always avoid a shot, but there are times when medical professionals may be able to accommodate your fears. For example, at Precision Vein Therapeutics, we offer local anesthesia for some of the procedures that require injections.
  5. Be honest about your fear. There’s nothing wrong with having a fear of needles. But if your anxiety is holding you back from receiving proper medical care, then it’s controlling your life. That’s not good. Share your fears with others, including your medical team. They may be able to help you find strategies and coping methods that make things a little easier.

Living with an intense fear is difficult. We’ve seen many patients who struggle with a fear of needles, and we always do our best to help them feel comfortable and at peace. So visit us, and let’s talk about how we can make your treatment experience pleasant and stress-free, even if you’re afraid of needles.