Most humans have some phobia. It’s harmless unless it gets in the way of your well-being. Studies have shown that around 20% world’s population has an irrational fear of needles, also known as trypanophobia.
Extreme trypanophobia can be debilitating to those suffering from it. It can cause panic attacks and make patients feel like they will pass out or throw up when they see or hear about medical procedures.
All this can make life extremely difficult for someone with trypanophobia. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with this condition. But we’re here to help.
This article will discuss five proven ways to cope with the intense fear of needles. So read on to find out the best ways to manage this condition.
Learn to manage the fear
There are ways to gradually desensitise yourself to the fear of needles with gradual exposure. Expose yourself to images and videos of blood draws, IVs, and other medical procedures that involve needles.
You can find these online or in books at your local library. These graphics can help you get used to needles against your skin and make them less frightening.
Once you feel comfortable with visual images, try listening to recordings of medical procedures involving needles. This is easier than watching real-life footage because it’s not as graphic and doesn’t require looking away from the screen or book.
Look at the bright side
Unfortunately, there’s no fool-proof cure for trypanophobia. But training your mind to focus on the positive aspects of medical care rather than the fear of pain can help you overcome your anxiety.
- Close your eyes and relax your shoulders.
- Take slow deep breaths for five minutes.
- Slow breathing can help calm your body and mind by slowing down your heart rate.
Focus on the goal of getting well instead of the image of a needle piercing your skin. Ask yourself: “What will happen when I’m done with this procedure?” The answer may be that you’ll feel better because of it.
Face your fear
Find out as much as possible about the procedure and its risks. Ask questions to your doctor. Find out what happens during the procedure and how it will affect you afterwards. You can talk to other people who have had the procedure done.
If you’re still worried about pain, ask your doctor if local anaesthetics can be used. They will advise and make you comfortable.
Trick your brain into associating your fear with reward. Promise yourself a day off, a visit to the spa, or your favourite bakery if you successfully get through the procedure. Your brain will be less likely to fight you if it knows something good is coming.
You can also self-reward a badge or sticker for each medical procedure you get through. This can help keep your brain focused on the positive and help you feel more like a champion than a patient.
Go to a therapist
Extreme phobia of anything, including needles and other sharp objects, can be a sign of an underlying psychological issue that needs to be addressed.
A therapist can help you identify any underlying issues that may be causing your fear and assist in overcoming them. In some cases, they may recommend medication or other treatment options to help lessen the severity of your symptoms.
The tips mentioned above can help lessen the severity of your symptoms and make it less difficult to face your fear.
If you struggle with needle phobia even after trying relaxation and mind diversion techniques, consider getting professional help.
Remember, where there is a will, there is a way.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.