Fear of needles- trypanophobia

Want some general advice to reduce fear of needles? Read our blog below.

Needles- one of the main ways through which most treatments and means of prevention are delivered through. Are you scared of needles? Would you rather skip a treatment to escape getting injected? Don’t worry – this worry exists in many patients. In fact, around 25% of adults in the US fear needles. Whilst this type of fear and anxiety ranges person to person, it may impact a great deal in your life. 

It is vital to understand that not all people who are scared of needles necessarily have a phobia of needles. Fears and phobias are two completely distinct concepts. Fears are something every person needs to deal with. After all, every person has some sort of fear- whether they know it or not. It is quite normal to feel anxious when thinking about a large needle poking into your skin. Having a phobia of needles is a type of anxiety disorder where more exaggerated symptoms and feelings are displayed. This could mean a person could fall into a state of shock, or have an immediate panic attack, when seeing a needle or getting touched by one. This phobia is even given a name- trypanophobia.

The cause of trypanophobia is not yet known. There’s no proven cause of any types of phobias really- a person might not know why they have a phobia anyways. Sometimes it can come from traumatic incidents or past childhood experiences. There has even been some research to support it could be inherited, hence something you just develop from birth. 

What are the symptoms of trypanophobia? 

When should you seek medical attention? 

Medical attention may be seeked when any of the following is being experienced due to a phobia of needles:

  1. Worrying and stressing about a doctor’s appointment and loosing sleep for it. This can have serious effects on health. 
  2. Avoiding essential treatments. This can lead to the disease becoming more severe and can even lead to death. Avoiding vaccinations could also lead to the build up of various life threatening diseases.
  3. Avoiding a doctor due to a fear of needles puts yourself at a greater risk of developing a serious, life-threatening condition. 

This form of phobia can be treated or at least managed, even if it doesn’t entirely go away. 

Therapy options: 

  1. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Helps to reform thinking and helps to build new coping mechanisms of dealing with fears and difficult emotions

  1. Exposure Therapy 

Effective therapeutic style treatment developed specifically for phobias. This involves getting slowly more and more exposed to needles over a long period of time. 

  1. Medications and Drugs

You may be given anxiety relief drugs and sedative drugs and medications to help reduce the fear before having the procedure. 

Don’t worry if you feel like you have a fear of needles. It is always important to make sure your healthcare provider knows about this issue so they can help you and support you to feel less scared of the procedure. Never skip procedures or miss doctor appointments for this cause – the fear can be addressed by the doctor. There may also be a possibility you could end up having a serious illness where it will be too late to deal with.  Addressing the concern as early as possible makes things a lot easier for you!

Want some general advice to reduce fear of needles? Read our blog below.

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