Trypanophobia: How to Overcome Your Fear of Needles and Injections

As a travel health clinic that deals with needles day in, day out, we’ve become pretty used to the sight of them – but we see firsthand how many people get the dreaded needle anxiety. That’s why we want to teach you how to overcome your fear of needles and injections. 

Let’s take a closer look at the causes behind needle anxiety (scientifically known as trypanohobia) and reassure you that millions of us suffer from it too. But we like to think of ourselves as experts in easing your anxiety when you come here for your vaccines and shots. We’d do anything to help you conquer your fear and teach you how to not be scared of needles. 

After all, there’s absolutely nothing to fear.

Here’s everything you need to know about trypanophobia, including tips for how to overcome your fear of needles and injections. 

What is Trypanophobia?

It’s an extreme and overwhelming fear of needles and injections – specifically the fear of needles involved in a medical procedure. 

Although this fear is common, trypanophobia is a severe type of fear that affects a person’s quality of life. The person may avoid or delay necessary and important medical treatment such as vaccines or blood tests. 

Symptoms of Trypanophobia

Most of us find needles at least slightly uncomfortable, but it becomes a problem when a controllable fear becomes an uncontrollable phobia. This is when symptoms become debilitating. 

Some of the most common symptoms of trypanophobia include:

  • dizziness and fainting
  • anxiety and panic attacks
  • insomnia and sleep terrors
  • heart palpitations and high blood pressure
  • avoiding medical appointments and running away.

Trypanophobia symptoms may appear at the sight of a needle or even just the thought of having a procedure involving needles.

What Might Cause Trypanophobia?

Usually, a fear of needles is an associative psychological fear. Although there aren’t any specific causes of trypanophobia, there are a few factors that may increase the likelihood of developing trypanophobia – these include: 

  • previous traumatic experiences involving needles and injections
  • having a sensitive or negative temperament
  • hearing bad stories from others’ experiences
  • learning from negative information sources.

Who’s Most at Risk of Developing Trypanophobia?

Anyone can develop trypanophobia, but there are certain factors that mean you’re more at risk:

  • family history of relatives with the phobia
  • other illness or medicine-related phobias (eg. hypochondria or germaphobia)
  • other anxiety disorders (eg. OCD or generalised anxiety disorder).

Is Trypanophobia Common?

Yes, more so than you might think. Reports show that up to 25% of adults have an overwhelming fear of needles.

And trypanophobia is most common in young children. In fact, two in three children are thought to have it. However, in most cases, these fears will ease by adulthood. 

Trypanophobia: Tips How to Overcome Fear of Needles and Injections

Want to know how to overcome fear of needles and injections? Feeling ready to finally beat your needle anxiety? Treating trypanophobia can take time, patience, and courage, but it’s certainly achievable. 

Here are our six tips, tricks, and techniques on how to not be scared of needles:

  1. seek psychological therapy

Depending on how severe your phobia is, seeking professional help may be the best solution. 

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is considered one of the most effective therapies for overcoming fears. It works by reframing any negative and irrational thoughts you may have around needles and injections. A CBT therapist will help eradicate needle anxiety by teaching you useful coping techniques and building your confidence. 

  1. try medication

Although medication isn’t usually a solution on its own, anti-anxiety and sedative medications can significantly reduce the physical symptoms of needle anxiety. By calming the body’s stress response, you can feel more relaxed and prepared when a medical appointment comes around.

  1. have a go at mindfulness

If therapy and medication aren’t for you, we recommend practising mindfulness. You can take control of your fearful thoughts and feelings when you’ve learnt stress-controlling strategies – making you feel ready and prepared for upcoming medical appointments. 

Start by practising deep breathing techniques to calm your nerves, and then visualise yourself in a comfortable and happy place.

  1. desensitise yourself 

Think of this technique as a form of exposure therapy – the more time you deliberately spend around the thing or object you fear that causes you anxiety, the less intimidating, daunting or frightening it eventually seems. It’s basically a way of showing you there’s actually nothing to fear at all.

The desensitisation process of exposure therapy is best started small. For example, you can start by simply looking at a photo of a needle and then slowly progress to other steps, such as holding a needle, watching someone else get an injection – and eventually getting an injection yourself.

  1. numb the site

A big part of why people fear injections is the association with pain. Because pain-numbing creams or gels aren’t always readily available with needle-related medical procedures, it might be helpful to purchase and use your own.

To give you peace of mind, buy over-the-counter creams to help dull pain around the injection site. But remember…needles only cause a mild, sharp prick anyway. In fact, in most cases you’ll hardly feel pain at all. 

Rest assured our clinics’ nurses are highly trained and can use numbing creams during your visit if you want/need them to. We do all we can to make your appointment as comfortable and stress-free as possible.

  1. look away

Injections and blood tests are quick medical procedures and usually over in just a few seconds. Watching the needle can make your anxiety worse, so simply look away and we promise it’ll be done before you can say ‘trypanophobia’.

Trust Our Nurses

Ready to take the plunge and book the appointment you’ve been putting off? Great.

Now you know how to overcome your fear of needles and injections, it’s time to start conquering your fear. You can put full trust in our expert nurses who are highly trained in administering injections. They’ve years of experience, and their reassuring faces will see you through. 

There’s no need for needle anxiety in our clinics.

Like to book an appointment?

You can do so online – it’s simple. 

Need a question answered? 

Call us on 020 7112 5198. 

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