Needle Phobia Facts
The Fear of Needles Has Many Names and It Is Very Real
Trypanophobia? If you’ve ever tried to search for “needle phobia” or “fear of injections,” you’ve probably come across some very odd and confusing terms, yet this condition is very real, and a whopping 20 percent of people have a fear of needles. There are a lot of 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 forgoing medical treatment because of a fear of needles puts people at a greater risk for illness and even death. For example, diabetics who skip glucose monitoring and insulin injections can put themselves in danger of serious complications.
HERE ARE THE SIX MEDICAL TERMS THAT ARE RELATED TO FEARING NEEDLES:
- Aichmophobia: an intense or morbid fear of sharp or pointed objects
- Algophobia: an intense or morbid fear of pain
- Belonephobia: an abnormal fear of sharp pointed objects, especially needles
- Enetophobia: a fear of pins
- Trypanophobia: a fear of injections
- Vaccinophobia: a fear of vaccines and vaccinations
OTHER IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT FEARING NEEDLES
Approximately 20 percent of the general population has some degree of fear associated with needles and injections. Traumatic experiences in childhood form the foundation of these fears—like seeing an older sibling cry when getting their shots.
As much as 10 percent of people suffer from a phobia called trypanophobia, which is a fear of needles and injections. Of those who have a fear of needles, at least 20 percent avoid medical treatment as a result.
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 the age of four to six.
Below is my research into studies conducted using hypnosis to reduce or remove the fear of needles and injections.
Study 1: Hypnosis Assists to Enable Patients to Receive Essential Injections
Fear of injections: the value of hypnosis in facilitating clinical treatment
Results: Successful outcomes for the three patients described showed that hypnosis, adaptably adjoined with mainly behavioral and cognitive methods of counseling, can be of very great assistance in enabling patients to receive injections essential to treatment, and can usefully be made part of multidisciplinary team provision.
Notes: The present paper describes three patients with different problems who had high levels of fear or anxiety about receiving injections in botulinum toxin clinics. Individual differences in causes, history and personality made an integrated approach the logical choice.
Contemporary Hypnosis, Volume 18, Issue 2, Pages 100-106, June 2001
By: David Y. Medd
Study 2: Hypnosis Effective for Needle Phobia
Desensitization Using Meditation-Hypnosis to Control “Needle” Phobia in Two Dental Patients
Results: The researchers conclude that these case studies are of interest for the following reasons: (1) They show the effectiveness of meditation-hypnosis for “needle” phobia. (2) Meditation-hypnosis is a rapid, effective antianxiety technique that can be used in systematic desensitization. (3) Even long-standing “needle” phobia cases can be effectively treated with this combined technique. (4) The meditation-hypnosis technique is helpful in generalization to other anxiety-induced situations.
Notes: Two case studies were conducted.
Case Study 1
Meditation-hypnosis was induced. Within a few minutes, the subject was deeply relaxed. At first, the patient exclaimed “I’m afraid” but after a few repetitions of her mantra (meditation word), she was again deeply relaxed. While the patient was meditating, the following items were presented and well tolerated: placement of dental towel; turning on of unit light; backward inclination of the dental chair; having the patient maintain an open mouth for thirty seconds; insertion of author’s (DM) index finger into floor of mouth; insertion of saliva ejector into same area; placement of author’s index finger over alveolar mucosa of upper right central incisor; placement of topical anesthetic into same site; and finally giving one-third of a capsule of local anesthesia into that same region. As the patient did so well, at this and at the following visit, other items were added including, running the ultra high speed contra angle in the vicinity of the tooth for fifteen seconds; releasing water spray into the mouth and aspirating it; maintaining an open mouth for fifteen minutes and finally running the contra-angle for a complete minute with water spray in the mouth. The patient was then able to go to her dentist for subsequent treatment.
Case Study 2
The patient was taught meditation-hypnosis and was able to achieve good relaxation within seven minutes. She was then instructed to practice the technique by herself at home. She stated that it helped her reduce her overall anxiety with good results. The patient did not return for more hypnosis, but she spoke the researchers by telephone. She said that she was able to go to her general dentist and have the local anesthetic injections for the tooth extractions. Dentures had been made and she was very pleased. The patient apologized for not making the final hypnosis appointment but she said that it was not necessary as the relaxation technique allowed her to have the necessary injections and dental work done.
Anaesthesia Progress, May/June 1983
By: Donald R. Morse D.D.S., M.A. (Biol.), M.A. (Psychol.), Bernard B. Cohen Ph.D. Professor and Research Director, Department of Endodontology, Temple University School of Dentistry, 3223 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, West Chester State College, West Chester, Pennsylvania
Study 3: Hypnosis for Needle Phobia of Child
Brief hypnosis for severe needle phobia using switch-wire imagery on a 5-year old.
Results: Following a 10-minute conversational hypnotic induction, the 5-year-old was able to use hypnotic switch-wire imagery to dissociate sensation and movement in all four limbs in turn. Two days later the boy experienced painless venepuncture without the use of topical local anesthetic cream. There was no movement in the ‘switched-off’ arm during i.v. cannula placement. This report adds to the increasing body of evidence that hypnosis represents a useful, additional tool that anesthetists may find valuable in everyday practice.
Notes: This was a case study of severe needle phobia in a 5-year-old boy who learned to utilize a self-hypnosis technique to facilitate intravenous (i.v.) cannula (a tube that can be inserted into the body, often for the delivery or removal of fluid or for the gathering of data) placement. He was diagnosed with Bruton’s disease at 5 months of age and required monthly intravenous infusions. The boy had received inhalational general anesthesia for i.v. cannulation on 58 occasions. Initially, this was because of difficult venous access but more recently because of severe distress and agitation when approached with a cannula. Oral premedication with midazolam or ketamine proved unsatisfactory and hypnotherapy was therefore considered.
Paediatr Anaesth. 2007 Aug;17(8):800-4
By: A. M. Cyna, D. Tomkins, T. Maddock, D. Barker, Department of Paediatric Anaesthesia, Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Adelaide, SA, Australia
Study 4: Olfactory/Smell Hypnosis for Needle Phobia
Hypnotherapeutic olfactory conditioning (HOC): case studies of needle phobia, panic disorder, and combat-induced PTSD
Results: The authors present 3 cases, patients with needle phobia, panic disorder, and combat-induced PTSD who were successfully treated with the hypnotherapeutic olfactory conditioning HOC technique.
Notes: The authors developed a technique, which they call hypnotherapeutic olfactory conditioning (HOC), for exploiting the ability of scents to arouse potent emotional reactions. During hypnosis, the patient learns to associate pleasant scents with a sense of security and self-control. The patient can subsequently use this newfound association to overcome phobias and prevent panic attacks.
International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis 57.2 (2009): 184-197
By: Eitan G. Abramowitz, Lichtenberg, Pesach, Hadassah Medical School, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel