The fear of needles is an extreme fear of medical procedures used in injections or hypodermic needles. Younger children can be especially susceptible to fearing needles because they are not used to being pricked by needles and they typically have less body fat. By adulthood, most people are much more accepting of receiving needles.
However, for some people, an extreme fear of needles persists beyond childhood into adulthood.
What is the Fear of Needles Called?
The fear of needles is called Trypanophobia.
What is Trypanophobia?
Trypanophobia is a mental disorder that causes a person to be extremely afraid of needles used in injections or hypodermic needles. Phobias like Trypanophobia can cause extreme amounts of anxiety and can significantly interfere in normal activities like going to the doctor or receiving treatment.
Symptoms of Trypanophobia
Here are some common symptoms of Trypanophobia:
- Difficulty breathing
- High anxiety
- Excessive fear
- Panic attacks
- Excessive sweating
- Avoiding or running from medical care
- Racing heart rate
- Choking sensation
- Screaming or crying
- Feeling emotionally violent
- Chest pains
- High blood pressure
DSM-5 Criteria for Specific Phobias: Diagnosing Trypanophobia
According to the DSM-5, specific phobias, such as Trypanophobia, are diagnosed by a medical professional when someone meets the following criteria:
- Unreasonable, excessive fear: Marked fear or anxiety about a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, seeing blood, or in this case, fear of needles).
- Immediate anxiety response: The phobic object or situation almost always provokes immediate fear or anxiety.
- Avoidance or extreme distress: The individual goes out of their way to avoid the object or situation, or endures it with extreme distress.
- Life-limiting: The fear, anxiety, or avoidance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
- Six months duration: The fear, anxiety, or avoidance is persistent, typically lasting for 6 months or more.
- Not caused by another disorder: The disturbance is not better explained by the symptoms of another mental disorder, including fear, anxiety, and avoidance of situations associated with panic-like symptoms or other incapacitating symptoms (as in agoraphobia); objects or situations related to obsessions (as in obsessive-compulsive disorder); reminders of traumatic events (as in posttraumatic stress disorder); separation from home or attachment figures (as in separation anxiety disorder); or social situations (as in social anxiety disorder).
Treating The Fear of Needles Phobia
Let’s review some common treatments of the fear of needles phobia:
The best treatment option for the fear of needles phobia is a form of psychotherapy called exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is a type of psychotherapy treatment that focuses on changing a person’s response to the object or thing they fear. Gradual, repeated exposure to pictures of needles, talking about needles, and eventually, exposing you to a real needle. This technique is excellent for treating phobias, such as those suffering from the extreme fear of needles, or Trypanophobia.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, is another way mental health professionals treat phobias such as the fear of needles. CBT combines exposure therapy along with other techniques to teach a sufferer to learn ways to view and cope with needles. CBT also teaches a sufferer new beliefs about their needle fear so that they can develop a mastery and confidence over their thoughts and feelings rather than feeling overwhelmed by needles.
Typically psychotherapy such as exposure therapy and CBT are enough for most fear of needle phobia sufferers. However, sometimes medications can help reduce some of the side effects like anxiety or panic associated with a person’s phobia.
Some medications include:
- Antianxiety medications
Overcoming Your Fear of Needles Phobia
Thank you for reading our post on Trypanophobia, or the fear of needles. If you have a fear of needles phobia, it may seem like a daunting task to overcome. But there is hope!
Many mental health professionals focus on treating phobias through exposure therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy.
If you’re searching for treatment, look no further than mental health professionals listed on TherapyByPro. Find mental health professionals that treat phobias.
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