How to overcome fear of needles: 8 key ideas

Many people are afraid of needles. We can even talk about many cases of phobia in them. The phobia of needles is called belonephobia; in this article we will talk about it, because it is a rather particular phobia for a reason that we will not reveal yet.

In addition, we will describe several key ideas on how to overcome fear of needles. As you can see, the first one focuses on psychological therapy (to overcome the phobia), and the next one, on overcoming the moment when we have to be in contact with the needle gradually overcoming this fear).

    Fear of needles: a particular phobia

    Specific phobias are anxiety disorders characterized by irrational fear, disproportionate and intense in the face of a specific stimulus or situation.

    There are different types of specific phobias; DSM-5 (Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) specifies up to 5 groups (subtypes) of specific phobias: animal, environmental, blood / injection / harm (where one would place fear of water), various situations and other types of phobias.

    Biphasic (vasovagal) response

    Needle phobia is a particular phobia because the physiological response that appears to it differs from the response that appears in other specific types of phobias.

    like that, in the case of needle phobia, a biphasic response occurs in the individual, characterized by two phases: In the first there is an increase in the various physiological parameters (heart rate, blood pressure and respiratory rate), and in the second, a sharp decrease in all these parameters.

    As a result of this descent, dizziness may appear, followed by fainting. It should be noted that the biphasic response to this phobia was first described by Graham, Kabler and Lunsford (1961).

      How to overcome the fear of needles

      How to overcome the fear of needles? If you really suffer from needle phobia and want to overcome it, we recommend that you go to a specialist and undergo psychological therapy.

      In the first point (first key idea), we will talk about it. However, if you just want to get out of situations where you have to be in contact with a needle, the following 7 ideas we offer can be very helpful.

      1. Perform psychological therapy

      If you want to know how to overcome the fear of needles, the first thing to consider is to seek professional help. Psychological therapy is a useful and effective tool which can help you overcome needle phobia.

      The psychological treatments generally applied in the event of specific phobias are two in number: on the one hand, exposure therapy, and on the other hand, cognitive-behavioral therapy (these are the most convincing treatments and therefore the most effective).

      However, in the case of needle phobia (which is part of the “blood phobia / injection / pain” group) the treatment is different and the so-called tension is usually applied with or without application.

      This technique consists of increase the patient’s heart rate and systolic pressure, Before the phobic stimulus is exposed (in order to avoid the fainting typical of this type of phobia).

        2. Try to relax your body

        By returning to the ideas already focused, not so much on how to overcome the fear in the needles, but rather on how to act in the face of these key moments that generate so much anxiety, we will begin to relax our bodies.

        At the time of the injection, or when the needle is about to come into contact with your body (for example during a tattoo), it is best to try to relax your body. This is a very psychological problem, and being tense can intensify the feelings of fear and anxiety associated with needles.

        3. Apply breathing techniques

        Practice slow, deep breathing (for example, diaphragmatic breathing), it can also help you relax. Keep in mind that there are different breathing exercises, primarily focused on treating different anxiety disorders, one of them being phobias (in this case fear of needles).

        You can apply them at the time before receiving the injection or being in contact with the needle (and also during this time).

        4. Imagine other scenarios

        In psychotherapy, especially in various anxiety disorders (such as phobic disorders), imaginative techniques are widely used.

        An example of this is the pleasant or positive images, which consist precisely of this, imagining relaxing scenes, which we like and which momentarily take us away from the present moment. This will help us to be distracted, that is to say to shift our attention away from fear to the needle, To redirect it to another stimulus, in this case positive for us.

        5. Talk to the relevant staff

        Another key idea for overcoming fear of needles is to talk to the staff who take care of us (e.g. tattoo artist, doctor, nurse … We can explain them right from the start, our fear of needles, for at least. less relieve the initial tension.

        In addition, they will be able to provide us with useful advice to deal with this dreaded time (especially the medical staff), as they also probably see cases of this type every day. On the other hand, we can also take the opportunity to tell them a little about our lives, in order to distract ourselves and not to be so attentive to the needle.

        It may not help us overcome needle phobia, but it will help us deal with the situation right now and come out “windy”.

        6. Focus your attention on other stimuli

        Slightly related to the ideas above, this other idea arises: directing attention to other stimuli other than the needle. this we can apply just before entering the room where we will be exhausted and also at the time of the puncture.

        Before entering we can, for example: listen to music, talk to someone, read a book, draw, write … and just at the time of the injection (or tattoo) we can choose to apply some of the above guidelines (take a deep breath, imagine pleasurable scenes or pictures, talk to caring / treating staff, etc.)

        7. Take care of your inner speech (thoughts)

        It means sending you reassuring messages and thoughts., Which you have already implemented previously.

        For example, in the case of injections, you can think of the professionalism of doctors and nurses, how much trust you can place in them because they do it on a daily basis and know how to do it so that it doesn’t hurt, and soon.

        8. Open your legs

        Another guideline on how to overcome fear of needles, which in this case is more focused on getting past the situation in question (an injection, rather than the phobia itself), is to lift your legs.

        this action it is useful in relieving certain psychophysiological symptoms associated with needle phobia, Since we have seen that in this type of phobia a vasovagal response appears in the individual (this response causes fainting in about 80% of cases)

        So, by elevating our legs, we allow blood to reach our brain, which reduces the risk of fainting.

        Bibliographical references:

        American Psychiatric Association -APA- (2014). DSM-5. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Madrid: Panamericana. Horse (2002). Manual for the cognitive-behavioral treatment of psychological disorders. Flight. 1 and 2. Madrid. 21st century (chapters 1-8, 16-18). Pinel, L. and Rodó, MM (2014). Approaching hematophobia and its different lines of research, clinical and health, 25: 75-84.

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