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How Children and Adults Can Overcome Needle Phobias

 |  General

Needles are used in some of the most beneficial medical procedures such as vaccinations, blood tests, taking medications, and more. Children and adults often develop a fear of needles, making it difficult to perform the important medical procedures associated with them. An average person receives approximately 165 needle sticks throughout their life, so it is important to overcome this fear so you can receive the treatment needed to live a healthy life

What Is Trypanophobia?

Trypanophobia is a severe fear of medical procedures involving needles. This condition tends to be more common in children because their bodies are not used to being pricked by sharp objects. But as they grow older, they get used and thus, can tolerate needle sticks more easily.

For some people, Trypanophobia follows them into adulthood, and it can sometimes be extreme. Reports show that needle phobia affects about 25 percent of adults, and it may cause 16 percent of Americans to skip important medical procedures like vaccinations.

Fear of needles is not limited to those who are vulnerable or overly sensitive to pain. It can affect anyone regardless of age. Although its cause is still unclear, researchers often associate Trypanophobia with genetics and traumatic experiences undergone during childhood.

What are the Symptoms of Needle Phobia?

Symptoms of needle phobia range from patient to patient. Most people with Trypanophobia may experience:

  • Heart palpitation
  • Panic attacks
  • Fainting (when they feel the pain of the needle or see blood)
  • Nausea and sweats
  • Fear or anxiety
  • Avoiding doctor appointments
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Insomnia

How Does a Fear of Needles Impact You?

  • Health problems – People who are afraid of needle sticks tend to skip treatments and medical tests. This can lead to undertreatment, missed diagnoses, unidentified medical conditions, and poorly monitored health issues.
  • Affect quality of life – Not wanting to visit a doctor for fear of needles can negatively affect your life. An underlying condition can worsen over time, leading to deadly consequences.
  • Life expectancy – Avoiding doctor appointments or routine medical care can lead to unnecessary suffering or even death, in worse cases. For instance, a developing chronic disease such as cancer or diabetes may go unnoticed until it’s too late when it is no longer treatable.

What Can You Do to Cope with Fear of Needles?

  • Bring support: This is especially helpful for little kids. If a kid can feel comfortable and secure with someone supporting them, they are less likely to react negatively to needles in the future. Adults can also get the company of their spouses, a family member, or a trusted friend.
  • Practice deep breathing: Visualize a needle as something that will make you comfortable rather than making your fear an enemy.
  • Use distraction: Another way to overcome your fear is by harnessing the power of distraction. Instead of focusing on the needle, distract yourself with anything that could make you feel more comfortable. It can be your upcoming vacation, the positive effect of the vaccination, or a spot on the ceiling.
  • Request the doctor to numb the area being injected before a needle stick.
  • Inform the person giving the injection or drawing blood that you have a needle phobia and let them know what makes you comfortable.
  • Relax your muscles when receiving the injection.

Try Teletherapy with denova Collaborative Healthcare in Arizona

Besides these coping techniques, you may want to consult a mental healthcare provider for help. A specialist can help you find a way to handle your or your child’s phobia. Depending on your situation, a specialist may introduce you to a variety of treatments. This could include exposure therapy, cognitive-behavior therapy, or medication.

Ready to overcome your fear of needles? Our mental health specialists at denova Collaborative Healthcare are here to help from up close and afar with telehealth. Contact us online or call us at 602-230-7373 today to schedule an intake appointment.