A Harvard Medical School study states that as many as 25% of the American adult population has a fear of needles. Called trypanophobia, this condition can make health procedures more complicated and can even prevent people from getting the assistance they need to feel better.
If you have trypanophobia and want to get IV therapy, can you do so? Learn more about trypanophobia below.
What Is Trypanophobia?
Trypanophobia refers to an extreme fear of medical procedures that involve needles. It may also be a fear that spills over into non-medical settings and can involve pins and other sharp objects.
It is common for children to experience severe fears of needles, but most adults grow out of that fear. For others, it only gets worse.
Although what causes the development of phobias is not clear, many aspects of medical procedures that use needles can make the phobia worse. Some factors can include having had a negative experience after a procedure with a needle, like fainting.
Someone who experienced a lot of anxiety or pain while getting a medical procedure with a needle is more likely to develop trypanophobia. Someone with a higher sensitivity to pain can also suffer from this phobia.
Additionally, there are genetic factors that can influence whether you have this phobia. Someone with a close relative with trypanophobia has a higher risk of developing it themselves.
If you experience a vasovagal response to needles and feel your blood pressure drop, it’s a fear reflex that can also be genetic.
People with obsessive-compulsive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder have a higher chance of developing trypanophobia as well. People who have hypochondria or a fear of someone restraining them can develop this phobia too.
There are a few symptoms that accompany trypanophobia, though you may not have all of them.
Symptoms of Trypanophobia
The symptoms can range from mild to severe, and many people cannot receive treatments that involve a needle because of these debilitating outcomes:
- High blood pressure
- Racing heart
- Panic attacks
- Nausea and vomiting
Symptoms can also present themselves when you hear about a medical procedure involving a needle or when you see one.
How Do You Know If You Have Trypanophobia?
If you have noticed feelings of extreme anxiety when you think of a needle or when you see one, it is possible that you have trypanophobia. You may experience heart palpitations, nausea, or dizziness when you know you have to undergo a procedure like a blood draw or an injection.
The only triggers for trypanophobia are needles, so if you experience extreme anxiety at other moments, you may have symptoms of another condition.
To help diagnose this condition, your doctor may want to rule out physical illnesses, and then they may recommend that you see a mental health specialist.
Your therapist or doctor may ask a few questions, including how long you have experienced a fear of needles, what your symptoms are when you see a needle, how long the symptoms last, and whether your fear interferes with getting medical procedures.
The diagnostic criteria for trypanophobia require your symptoms to:
- Be excessive and unreasonable
- Occur in immediate response to your fear
- Lead to avoidance and distress
- Limit your ability to function normally
You must have had the symptoms for at least six months and no other illnesses or conditions should cause them.
How Common Is Trypanophobia?
Trypanophobia is most common in children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that two in three children and one-fourth of adults have a fear of needles.
It is a condition that may prevent you from getting vaccinations or other vital medical procedures, so it’s important to know how to treat it.
There are a few treatment options to help you overcome trypanophobia. Some are more effective than others for certain individuals, so trying a few methods could be most helpful.
Exposure therapy is one effective option. It involves introducing the fear slowly into your life with the help of a therapist.
For someone with trypanophobia, exposure therapy might start with the therapist showing you images of needles and progressing to you standing near a needle and then even holding one. The goal of exposure therapy is to change your response to what triggers your fear.
One newer form of exposure therapy involves computer-based exposure. It can help you familiarize yourself with needles and their use without coming into actual contact with them.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or talk therapy, is a type of treatment that involves speaking with a therapist about your fears. During CBT sessions, you learn how to face your fears instead of avoiding them, how to calm your body and mind, and even how to use roleplaying to prepare for stressful scenarios.
CBT can also involve exposure to your fear triggers while analyzing the thoughts that come with them. By delving into the thoughts and actions that the trigger causes, you can learn how to modify your reactions.
Medication can also help if you have extreme anxiety and need to get medical procedures that involve needles. Your doctor may prescribe anti-anxiety or sedative medications to help reduce your symptoms.
It is important to note that not everyone can completely overcome trypanophobia and that learning to manage the phobia can be the best thing. To help you with this phobia, there are some strategies that can lower your stress levels when getting a medical procedure.
You can avoid looking at the needle. You might also consider having a support person there for you. You can distract yourself by chatting with someone else, listening to music, or looking at your phone as the procedure begins.
If you have fainted in the past while getting a medical procedure with a needle, you can reduce some anxiety by lying down. Practice deep breathing techniques as well.
While you are receiving an injection, try to relax your muscles. You may also ask for a numbing agent so that you do not feel the needle at all.
Something important to remember is that you want to let the person who is providing the medical service know that you have a fear of needles.
Getting IV Therapy with Trypanophobia
Most people can benefit from getting IV therapy. IV therapy allows you to get the nutrients your body needs without waiting for them to pass through the digestive system.
When you take supplements of any kind orally, you involve your digestive system. Not only does it take more time for you to receive the nutrients, but the process also makes the absorption of the supplements less efficient.
IV therapy bypasses this process and instead delivers the nutrients right into your bloodstream. This, however, means that the procedure involves needles and that can be a serious concern for someone with trypanophobia.
One of the best things you can do if you want to get IV therapy is to avoid the clinic and instead have the therapy at home. In-home IV therapies can lower stress levels by taking place in a comfortable environment.
Boost Your Well-Being with IV Therapy
Although you may not be able to benefit from IV therapy if you have trypanophobia, if you decide to see a therapist or use techniques to lower your anxiety levels, let us know.
We understand that many people fear needles and our nurses work to provide quick, gentle services to help alleviate anxiety. Our professionals are highly trained and ready to answer any questions to address whatever concerns you have.
The benefits that IV therapy offers make the procedure worthwhile. If you have a fear of needles, speak with our nurses to discuss the issue.
Don’t miss out on everything IV therapy has to offer. Reach out to the experts to learn more.