Fear of Needles
Fear of needles or ‘needle phobia’ is a general term used to describe one of several conditions that are often interrelated.
Even medical professionals commonly use the term needle phobia, or fear of needles to describe several very different conditions.
Some of these conditions are classic phobias, and some are not. This makes needle phobia a very complex condition.
If you have ever made a search online for ‘needle phobia’ or ‘fear of needles and injections,’ you may well have achieved a variety of results and come across some apparently odd and confusing terms. However this condition is very real, and a large percent of people have some kind of a fear of needles.
There are also high risks associated with the fear of needles. It can prevent people from going to the doctor, getting routine blood tests, or following prescribed treatments. Modern medicine is making increased use of blood tests and injectable medications, and avoiding or forgoing medical treatment completely because of a fear of needles puts people at a greater risk from illness and even death. Diabetics who skip glucose monitoring and insulin injections are an example of people in this category who can put themselves in serious danger.
It is believed that 10%-20% of the general population have some degree of fear associated with needles and injections.
The upper end are merely estimates however, as it is impossible to include those people who do not visit medical professionals as a result of their fears. As much as 10% of people suffer from a phobia called trypanophobia, which is a fear of needles and injections.
Traumatic experiences in childhood often form the foundation of these fears – such as seeing a school friend or sibling cry when getting an injection.
The fear of needles is both a learned and an inherited condition. A fairly small number inherit a fear of needles, but most people acquire needle phobia around age four to six.
In many cases, any perceived fear is actually directed mostly toward the involuntary physical reaction of one’s body to needle procedures, rather than the procedure itself. For many people, the needle is only a source of fear to the extent that a needle is a necessary part of the procedure that provokes a terrifying involuntary reaction of one’s body: The vasovagal reflex reaction involves an initial rise followed by a steep drop in blood pressure, which often results in loss of consciousness, and sometimes in convulsions or other even more severe physical reactions.
Needle phobia is also unique among phobias as it is known to be a direct cause of death in many documented cases. There are also believed to be countless millions of undocumented deaths throughout the world, among those who avoid all medical and dental care because of the condition. These undocumented deaths would undoubtedly put needle phobia and fear of needles among the world’s leading causes of premature death.
There are, however, a large and rapidly growing number of cases of needle phobia that are simply the fear of needles resulting from one or more traumatic experiences. The number of these ‘classic’ phobias has been increasing dramatically over the past two decades. It can often make it difficult to separate the simple exaggerated fear of needles from the terrifying purely biological reaction that some people experience.
Needle phobia is a mental and emotional response that deserves treatment just as much as any other condition. No one should be ashamed of having needle phobia any more than they should be ashamed of having a headache.
Needle phobia and fear of needles is highly treatable. Hypnotherapy has proven especially effective to help overcome fears and phobias, needle phobias included.
For more information about how hypnotherapy and the use of hypnosis could help you, please contact me today.