Blood Work: How to Overcome Your Fear of Needles

About 20 percent of the population has a fear of needles. There is even a technical name for the fear, trypanophobia. The fear should be taken seriously because it could prevent an individual from seeking medical treatment or having necessary, routine blood work done. Additionally, a fear of needles might prevent an individual from taking prescribed injectable medications, particularly of concern for diabetic patients. There is hope. Below are a few techniques and strategies that may help the individual overcome the fear of needles:

1. Talk about the fear. Rather than keeping the fear inside, talking about the fear with the healthcare provider who will be using the needle might alleviate some anxiety. Simply talking about the fear may be validating. If the fear is extreme and generalized, the healthcare provider can also refer the individual to a therapist to learn ways to manage anxiety in general.

2. Take medication before the procedure. Taking an anesthetic, or pain killer, applied directly on the skin can numb the area and decrease pain. For more intense cases of needle phobia, an anti-anxiety medication might be in order. A physician can prescribe one, if needed.

3. Be in the right position. Some individuals who fear needles have a fainting feeling prior to the procedure. To avoid injury, lying down or being in a comfortable seated position is key. Also, positioning the area where the injection will occur properly is important. Making sure that the physician or phlebotomist can easily access the area to avoid having to repeat the procedure can help.

4. Think about something else. When the time comes for the “stick”, thinking about something else, or distraction, is a great technique. Guided imagery is a technique taught by counselors and can be self-taught prior to the procedure. Guided imagery involves taking yourself mentally to a different, relaxing place. Having an image in mind prior to the procedure is a good plan.

5. Learn about needles. Education is powerful. If an individual is afraid of needles, it might be out of ignorance on the subject. Consider receiving phlebotomy training to learn more about needles and blood draws. Many local community colleges offer phlebotomy courses.

For the person with a fear of needles, consequences can be physically damaging if treatment is avoided. Understanding needles and having techniques to use when blood draws must occur can help alleviate the anxiety associated with a fear of needles.


*Our content is not intended to provide medical advice or diagnosis of individual problems or circumstances, nor should it be implied that we are a substitute for professional medical advice. Users / readers are always advised to consult their Healthcare Professional prior to starting any new remedy, therapy or treatment. Your Wellness Group accepts no liability in the event you, a user of n-gage and a reader of this article, suffers a loss as a result of reliance upon or inappropriate application of the information.

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