Needlephobia is a type of phobia about medical procedures involving needles. According to statistics, this fear affects nearly 25% of adults, of which up to 7% of adults avoid vaccination because of the effects of this syndrome.
What is the fear of needles (Belonephobia)?
The fear of needles is also known as aichmophobia or belonephobia, although these are just general terms for the fear of sharp objects. It can also be called trypanophobia, although the name and origin of the term is controversial.
Nephrophobia is an obsession for most medical procedures that involve needles. Patients will be afraid of vaccinations, blood draws, intravenous fluids and anesthesia. Persistent, intense, and irrational fear of obsessive-provoking situations.
Until now, there is not much literature and information about the origin of this syndrome. However, some theories suggest that the fear of needles may be related to each person’s survival instinct, which makes you refuse to accept the feeling of being punctured by anything. .
Dr. John Mayer, a clinical psychologist and author of Family Fit: Find Your Balance in Life, shares that when something you don’t know or can’t specifically envision is put into your body. yours it will create a feeling of fear for some people. The American Psychiatric Association also reports that needle phobia is now classified as an anxiety disorder.
Prof. Dr. Petros Levounis, chair of the Department of Psychiatry at Rutgers School of Medicine in New Jersey, says that the body’s defenses against damage can gradually develop, and it is also a factor in the onset of psychosis. debilitated spirit. Symptoms of the disease can vary from patient to patient.
However, a meta-analysis of available scientific data was published in the journal SAGE Open Nutrition. Accordingly, it has specifically listed common symptoms such as when seeing a needle, heart rate and blood pressure will increase suddenly, heart rate slows down, blood pressure drops, extreme anxiety, fainting but no symptoms. any other effects, concerns, concerns about procedures involving needles.
It is estimated that needle phobia currently affects more than 10% of Americans. However, this condition was not specifically recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) until 1994. It tends to develop in children and gradually subsides after adulthood. However, in some cases, the fear of needles continues to be severe and distressing for adults.
The reason why many people are afraid of needles
At present, it is still not possible to pinpoint the specific cause of needle phobia in many people. However, similar to other syndromes such as fear of blood, fear of the dark, etc., the obsession with needles can also be caused by different factors. Specifically like:
- Due to experience: This may be the most common factor that causes many even adults to have a fear of needles. Negative experiences involving needles or medical procedures can cause many people to have intense obsessions. In a scientific study, it was found that this syndrome tends to develop in people with chronic diseases that require long-term injections.
- Evolutionary influences: Some evolutionary psychologists have shared that fear may stem from an ancient survival technique. Puncture wounds can be painful and deadly, especially in a time before modern antibiotics were available. It is also possible that the obsession with skin punctures is also an evolutionary adaptation.
- Genetics, family history: It is estimated that up to 80% of cases of people with needle phobia have relatives with needle phobia or similar syndromes. However, fear of needles can also be learned rather than inherited.
- Vasoconstriction reflex: In some cases, people can face some kind of arrhythmic reaction when they see a needle or get stabbed in the body. At this time, blood pressure will drop suddenly, gradually to dizziness, fainting.
Symptoms of needle phobia
People with needle phobia experience anxiety and fear when getting medical care or undergoing injection procedures. When they are forced to undergo any procedure that involves injections, they experience a change in heart rate, increased blood pressure, and extreme anxiety. At the time of the injection, they will have a severe drop in blood pressure and are more likely to pass out.
Some common symptoms in people who are afraid of needles include:
- Heart beats fast
- Breathe fast, breathe fast
- Worry, insecurity
- Sweat a lot
These symptoms often appear when they deal with situations such as:
- Visit the hospital
- See a doctor
- See needles
- When you get sick and expect to have an injection
Because the obsession is so great, many people always want to avoid, hide from activities related to needles, refuse treatment due to fear of needles.
Diagnosing needle phobia
Symptoms of needle phobia can be easily recognized because the patient always has an excessive fear and obsession with needles. To diagnose this condition, your doctor will perform a physical exam so that underlying physical problems can be easily ruled out. At the same time, the patient will also be asked about a number of symptoms, including the severity, duration of the obsession, and the nature of the experience.
In order for a person to be diagnosed with needle phobia, the symptoms must meet the following:
- The fear is inappropriate and exaggerated.
- Occurs immediately when facing the needle.
- Tends to avoid and is extremely distressed when confronted.
- Life is limited and severely affects daily activities.
In addition, the symptoms of needle phobia will appear for at least 6 months and are not due to the influence of other disorders or diseases.
Effects of fear of needles
The fear of needles, if not well overcome, will cause many impacts on the daily life of each person. The negative effect of this condition is the feeling of discomfort, excessive anxiety when facing and struggling for a long time before going to the doctor, visiting and receiving treatment at the hospital or clinic. amnesty.
People with needle obsession will always want to find ways to avoid medical procedures that involve needles. Neglecting testing and recommended treatments to limit injections can lead to misleading diagnoses, and reduce the effectiveness of the treatment process, even It can even make the condition worse.
Especially in the past time, at the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the vaccination work to serve the disease prevention well. However, due to the obsession with needles being too big, many cases have refused to receive vaccinations, seriously affecting the health of themselves and the whole community.
Remedies for fear of needles
To be able to get rid of the fear of needles takes a lot of time and requires effort from each person. As suggested by experts, to overcome this syndrome, you can apply some of the following ways:
- Get help from friends and family. Words of encouragement and simple acts of comfort like holding the hand of someone close and trusted can also help you become calmer and less nervous about injecting.
- If you must perform procedures that involve needles, it is best to distract yourself by focusing on whatever is happening around you other than the needle. Think about your upcoming vacation, think of your favorite toys or notice the stain on the floor, focusing on humming a few lines.
- Feel free to talk to your doctor or nurse about your anxiety or obsession with needles. And don’t forget to tell them about things that can make you feel more relaxed and less stressed. Some people may feel calmer and more reassured when they hear about each specific step before getting an injection.
- If the fear is too great, you can also ask the medical practitioner about supportive measures, such as using an anesthetic similar to novocaine or a freezing spray to numb the skin prior to injection to reduce the sensation of being punctured.
- Limit your observation of the needle because the more you look at it, the more panic and anxiety you will feel.
- Learn to relax, loosen the body with deep breathing exercises before giving injections.
- Choose the position that makes you most comfortable, you can sit or lie down so that your body is relaxed and comfortable.
In addition to ways to help you temporarily manage the fear of having to perform injections, you also need treatment with specialized techniques to completely treat this phobia. Currently, for the fear of needles, experts will apply many different psychotherapy, but behavioral and cognitive therapy are always commonly used.
With this therapy, psychologists will also have many different treatment techniques, but in the case of fear of needles, relaxation and contact techniques are the most effective. Psychologists will talk directly with patients to gradually untie the knots in their hearts, help them better understand their irrational fears and gradually adjust their emotions more properly.
The fear of needles is a very common condition in today’s society and the treatment success rate is also very high. Hopefully, through the information of the above article, readers will understand more about this phobia and have an effective remedy to avoid negative effects on daily life.