Fear of Needles

Fear of Needles

Many people are afraid of injections to some extent, but once this fear becomes persistent, excessive and unreasonable, then this fear becomes a phobia. Injection phobia is the fear and avoidance of various types of injections, and/or blood sampling through venipuncture (piercing the finger). This is a special phobia, very common, but not well understood. It is believed to affect 3.5% to 10% of the population. Avoidance, anxiety or pain caused by needle phobia can seriously interfere with a person’s normal life, professional or academic functions, as well as social activities or interpersonal relationships.

There is no one proven cause of phobias, and sometimes you might not even know why you have a phobia. Still, it is commonly believed that phobias can come from either a traumatic incident or learned behaviour from your childhood. However, some people also believe that fear of needles could be genetic and thusly something you inherit from birth.


Aside from a pervasive fear or general distaste for needles, some of the specific symptoms can include:

Panic attacks



Heart palpitations

Fainting (due to a drop in blood pressure when you see blood or feel the pain of the needle)‌

When to Seek Help. You may need to seek help if you have any of the following because of your phobia of needles:

Lessened quality of life. If you spend weeks or days losing sleep or constantly worrying about a doctor’s appointment, that can take a toll on your quality of life. 

Avoiding needed treatments. If you constantly avoid tests or procedures that require a needle prick, that could lead to poorly managed conditions and worse. For example, if you have diabetes and avoid testing your blood, that could lead to death. Similarly, if you resist vaccinations, you also put yourself at risk for a whole slew of diseases and conditions that could otherwise be avoided. 

Preventing routine medical check-ins. Avoiding the doctor altogether due to your fear of needles is extremely dangerous. You put yourself at risk and there is a greater chance you could develop a life-threatening condition. ‌

If you experience these and other extreme symptoms, you should seek help. Trypanophobia can be managed even if it does not go away entirely, and you should let your phobia dictate the level of healthcare you get.


There are not many studies on trypanophobia or effective methods for treating needle phobia. However, you can use some of these techniques developed by experts: Bring a friend or family member and hold your hand to help you calm down. When inserting the needle, distract you with your thoughts, pictures or videos. Let the person using the needle know that you have a phobia. They can work with you to make you feel most comfortable. Ask the doctor or medical provider to use anesthetics before or during the acupuncture to reduce sensation. Many people think that watching the operation will worsen their phobia. When your provider stings you, look away. 

Learn breathing and relaxation techniques before going to the appointment. During your injection, if you start to feel unwell, using these techniques may help. Develop a method to relax the muscles at the prick or injection site. If those muscles are tense, it can strengthen the sensation of needles, If you have a history of syncope before the injection or blood test, you should lie down before having the injection. ‌  

In addition to these techniques, you may also want to see a mental health care provider. Asking professionals to help you can significantly reduce your stress and find a new way to cope with your phobia. This is especially true if you have a physical reaction to the sight, sensation, or thought of the needle (such as fainting). Some unique treatments that mental health providers can prescribe are: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). CBT is a unique therapy that can help you rethink and build new and more useful ways to deal with difficult emotions. Exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is an effective treatment designed specifically for phobias. It involves slowly touching the needle over a few weeks or months. First, you will be exposed to photos of needles. Then you will hold a syringe without a needle. Then you will hold a syringe with a needle until you finally feel more comfortable with the idea of injection. drug. Depending on your situation, your provider may also prescribe anti-anxiety drugs or sedatives.

Does your fear of needles interfere with your life?

Would any of the suggested treatments be of use to you?


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