How to overcome a fear of needles

fear of needles

The fear of needles can be a dangerous condition, often preventing the afflicted person from seeking medical attention when necessary. This ailment can debilitate children and adults alike. Sometimes the ailment eases as time passes. Children, for example, are often afraid of needles but many outgrow their fear as they get older.

The fear of needles can produce a variety of symptoms, whether in adults or children, from crying, to fainting, to a severe drop in blood pressure. Some sufferers even have convulsions and respiratory distress. Many people have no idea why they are so afraid of needles. Some say the pain is too great for them to bear, which is mostly a mental state, and some say they had a bad experience as a child. For whatever reason you fear needles, it’s important that you seek help for this condition.

As with any phobia, the affliction can range from mild to severe, and with needle phobia, treatments can vary from hypnosis to drugs. Some say hypnosis is on the right track, since it pertains to changing the mind-set of the afflicted, and it’s imperative that one seeking treatment for this phobia change the subconscious level of viewing needles.

But for some people, hypnosis only serves to reinstate the phobia, since it requires the participant to conjure up repeated visions of the thing they fear most. Those with a mild to moderate affliction can often be helped with hypnosis, though, and some can even be helped with yoga and other relaxation techniques. Going into a trance-like state, if you’ve mastered this ability, is helpful when receiving shots.

Another treatment that has helped many is to take a prescribed, fast-acting, anxiety medication an hour or so before needing a treatment involving needles. This helps to relax some patients enough to accept the puncture. Do not administer your own drugs, but talk to a physician about prescribing something strictly for the occasions in which you will be receiving an injection. Although this type of drug assists in relaxing the patient, taking these medications on a regular basis can cause further ailments.

Some people report that after using this method of treatment many times that they have actually been de-programmed of the phobia. The reasoning is, after many of these treatments, the mind begins to remember the punctures as less traumatic than the original memories, even if subconscious.

If you are needle phobic, find a physician who has had experience dealing with the affliction and ask that he administer topical lidocaine to anesthetize the area first. Since lidocaine only numbs skin to a certain depth, iontophoresis is a process now available which uses a mild electrical current to send the lidocaine into the skin so that the injection site will be completely anesthetized.

If your needle phobia is triggered by the actual pain of the needle, these treatments can help tremendously, but if the treatments aren’t sufficient, there are new prescription creams and patches which combine lidocaine and prilocaine and penetrates more deeply than lidocaine. These treatments must be applied at least one hour before the needle procedure.

Once you have made up your mind to try and beat your fear of needles, the first thing you need to do is to train yourself to relax when preparing for the procedure. Mentally prepare yourself for the treatment by reassuring yourself that you’ve lived through previous punctures and that this one will be even easier.

Relax and try not to walk through the procedure again and again in your mind, instead, state the facts to yourself and then try to put it out of your mind until time for the procedure. Needle phobics who have abstained from injection treatments for quite some time should notify the doctor that they are needle phobic, get a routine treatment such as a flu shot, and stay in the doctor’s office, lying down, for 15 minutes, or until the feeling of anxiety has subsided.

As with most phobias, it’s easiest to take baby steps toward the cure, have confidence, but don’t fret too much about temporary failures, and continue the climb towards permanent relief of this life-threatening affliction.

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