Fear of Needles (Needle phobia)
Fear of needles or Needle phobia
If you suffer from a fear of needles then you will be all too aware of the dread of having an injection or blood taken, you may not even be able to read this page, because the very words ‘needle’ or ‘injection’ will cause such anxiety that you will want to avoid them at all costs. This is why I don’t plaster the page with pictures of needles.
Avoidance is one thing that makes the fear worse but it is a safety behaviour that removes you from the fear and helps reduce the anxiety. However, it make the anxiety worse ultimately.
Fear of needles is often referred to as a phobia and it even has a medical label, that of ‘trypanophobia’. Some refer it as a ‘blood injury phobia’, which to most, would sound quite disturbing.
And it can cause a great deal of distress in the sufferer. Most of use don’t like needles or injections but we tolerate a little pain to get the job done. For others the thoughts that are attached to the object become so magnified and scary that it can actually cause shock or panic in the patient. This may lead to either increased blood pressure, tingling, shaking and adrenaline rushing through the body, as in a panic attack or it may drop the blood pressure and cause fainting. In fact there is research that suggests that both responses are triggered in needle phobia. First the body goes into fight or flight, where the blood pressure raises and then it suddenly drops cause in a vasovagal response, which induces a fainting episode.
If the person has experienced any of these symptoms before during a hospital or surgery trip then the mind can form an emotional attachment to the situation and all future situations. It is a common fear or phobia, and can affect around 10% of the population, although it is also recognised that this figure may be a lot higher, due to the nature of people keeping it quiet, or simply avoiding any situation where an injection may have to be administered.
You will pretty much know if you have needle phobia but here is a list to inform you of the criteria that is attached to a fear of needles.
1. Your fear of needles is persistent and the very thought of them makes you highly anxious.
2. If you see a picture of a needle or are in a situation where you may be exposed to needles causes extreme anxiety within you.
3. If you recognise that the fear is irrational and excessive.
4. If you avoid them at all costs, or if you have to have one it causes extreme distress, anxiety or fainting.
Where does a fear of needles come from?
Very often, a fear of needles is triggered by a fear of Doctors, hospitals or dentists and the very environment in which they exist and like most phobias may be a learned behavioural response, or triggered by an early distressing event or by faulty or erroneous thinking, where the person attaches such distressing thoughts to the situation such as “I just know I will flip out or pass out!”.
Perhaps when we experienced our first injection during childhood, we remembered that it hurt and we were held into position for it with no means of escape. And as a child, because it hasn’t been explained to you, there is a misunderstanding that the doctor or nurse wants to hurt you and that your parent or guardian is collaborating with them to hurt you rather than protect you.
The learned behaviour means that when you were young, you witnessed a parent or guardian reacting in an irrational manner to an injection or needle. If we see a parent react in such a manner, then it is significant to the child and the child memorises that this is something to be fearful of.
There may have been an initial sensitising event that caused the fear. Such as seeing someone pass out when having a needle. Or perhaps being in hospital and feeling really scared and then having an injection whilst in a heightened state of anxiety.
There can also be a faulty wiring pattern in the brain where the real fear is something else but the fear attaches itself to the object of the syringe. One of my clients passed out when watching something on the television show ‘Casualty’ and then an attachment to all things hospital was made, and that included needles.
Treatment for a fear of needles or needle phobia?
At my office in Warrington, I help people overcome a variety of phobias. Some are relatively straight forward and some a little more challenging. If you are really open to the challenge and you fully commit yourself to the treatment plan then there is a better chance of you finally conquering your phobia.
I use hypnotherapy and psychotherapy techniques to help you overcome your fear. This means that we tackle your thoughts and your feelings and I believe that this gives you the best chance for complete change!
We start with a consultation and formulate a case plan which includes creating a hierarchy of the fear. This means we look at the least fearful thing and desensitise the fear and then work our way up to the most feared thing which would be having an injection. Systematic desensitisation in hypnosis helps prepare you for actually doing something in reality or ‘in vivo’ exposure.
We use hypnotic rehearsal and work with the feelings and then out of hypnosis we start to correct faulty thinking. Recognising that a lot of our scary thoughts are nothing more than mere fantasy.
If you would like to know more, don’t hesitate to give me a call or send me an email.
0800 849 94 94
01925 354 820
64 Shackleton close – Old Hall – Warrington – Cheshire – WA5 9QE
“Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.
“Image courtesy of aopsan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.