Do you hate needles? Of course, it's not the only one; unfortunately, it's a fear that needs to be faced in order to stay healthy. At first, fight fear and learn some techniques for dealing with it. When you arrive at a clinic or health clinic, where you will certainly need to face fear, follow the tips below.
Method 1 of 4: Fighting Fear
Step 1. Start by trying to change your mindset
Usually, the best way to overcome any fear is to try to change the way you think about it. For example, thinking “there's nothing worse than needles” or “I'm terrified of needles” only emphasizes that fact even more.
Instead, say something like, "Even if the needle is uncomfortable, it's only good for my health."
Step 2. Write down situations that make you fearful
For some people, just seeing a photo or image of a needle is enough to make you shiver. Write down situations that make you uncomfortable, such as seeing a simple picture of a needle, giving an injection on TV, seeing an acquaintance being injected and, of course, watching the needle approach you.
- Some other situations might include: overhearing someone talk about having an injection, occasions where it will be necessary to handle needles or touch one;
- Sort the list, starting from the least frightening situations first, to the most frightening ones.
Step 3. Take your time and start with the least frightening
If it's pictures of needles, look for them on the internet. Let the anxiety build up and don't stop until you feel it's fading, which it will gradually.
After you finish, give yourself a chance to relax
Step 4. Increase the intensity
Once you get over one situation, move on to the next one, which could be watching someone get an injection on TV, for example. Watch a video or series about doctors for a scene like that to appear and practice the same technique as before, letting the anxiety rise and fall naturally.
Step 5. Keep progressing through each level
Gradually submit to the situations that cause the most fear until you are ready for an injection. First, imagine everything surrounding the occasion, letting the anxiety rise. Then calm down and when you are ready go to the place where you will have the injection.
Method 2 of 4: Learning Relaxation and Coping Techniques
Step 1. Take a deep breath
One of the ways to deal with anxiety is to learn breathing techniques to use while drawing blood or giving an injection. Try closing your eyes and breathing through your nose, inhaling deeply, holding and exhaling slowly through your mouth. Repeat four more times.
Practice the technique several times a day to get used to using it. So, when it is necessary to “face” the needle, use it to calm yourself down
Step 2. Lie down when drawing blood or having an injection
Keep your legs elevated to avoid feeling dizzy; tell the nurse that needles make you sick and that you prefer this position if it is not a hindrance.
Lifting your legs also helps keep your blood pressure steady
Step 3. Practice the mindset
Meditation can also be helpful in calming you down; visualizing the situation will help you to be distracted when the needle is injected. To use this technique, you first need to choose a place that makes you happy without any stress, such as a park, the beach, or your favorite room in your home.
- Close your eyes and imagine yourself in place. Use all your senses and see what you're mentalizing, what it smells like, what you're feeling, hearing and what it tastes like in your mouth. “Build” the world in great detail;
- For example, if you're imagining a beach, think about the blue waves, the smell of the sea, the feeling of warm sand under your feet, and the warmth of the sun on your shoulders. Taste the salt in the air and hear the sound of waves crashing on the beach;
- The better you can imagine the place, the easier it will be to get distracted.
Step 4. Use the pressure rise technique before seeing the needle
Some people are afraid of needles because they feel bad, to the point of passing out; if that's the case, try a method of increasing your blood pressure beforehand. With that, the chances of collapsing are reduced.
- Get comfortable where you are sitting. Start by tensing all the muscles in your legs, arms and upper body, holding the position for about 15 seconds. By and by, you should start to feel your face heat up; at this point, relax your muscles;
- Rest for about 30 seconds and try again;
- Practice the technique several times a day to feel relaxed and have better control over your blood pressure.
Step 5. Therapy may be an option
If you are having a hard time figuring out ways to cope with a needle phobia, a psychologist or therapist can help. Such professionals will teach techniques and ways to overcome fear, as they are specialists and trained exactly to help patients with problems of this type.
Look for a therapist who specifically combats coping with and overcoming phobias
Method 3 of 4: Communicating with healthcare professionals
Step 1. Discuss fear with a nurse, doctor or phlebotomist
Do not hold the affliction inside, and talk about it with the person who is going to draw your blood or give the injection; this is useful to distract or make you as comfortable as possible.
Communicate that you want the professional to ask you to look away before picking up the needle or to count to three before applying, for example
Step 2. Ask about alternatives
If you will be given an injection instead of drawing blood, there may be a different method of doing this, without the use of needles. For example: administering a drug present in flu vaccines through the nasal cavities instead of an injection.
Step 3. Check for a smaller needle
Unless you need to draw a very large amount of blood, you can perform the procedure with a smaller needle (the butterfly in most cases). Ask the nurse if it is possible to use it in your case, and ask him to explain why.
Step 4. Tell the person they only have one chance
Individuals with a fear of needles will never appreciate someone poking their arm with them over and over again. Tell the nurse she needs to get all the blood out in one needle.
If the procedure requires multiple needle injections, ask if you can come back another day to complete the blood draw or injection, allowing you to rest for a while
Step 5. Ask the best practitioner to give the injection or draw the blood
If you are concerned and feel that someone may not perform the procedure correctly, ask an experienced nurse or technician to do this, especially if you are in a large hospital or clinic. Employees will likely understand when the order comes from someone who is afraid of needles.
Method 4 of 4: Facing Fear in Doctor's Offices
Step 1. Remember the pain will pass quickly
Even if there is a phobia of needles, it is important to remember, at all times, that the discomfort only lasts a few seconds, saying “it may hurt, but this will pass in five seconds. I can handle it".
Step 2. Ask the doctor to apply an anesthetic cream
This product numbs the area to be injected; it should not interfere with the effectiveness of the treatment. If you have to apply it before going to the appointment, ask where it should be passed.
Step 3. Distract yourself
By distracting yourself, you will be able to better “support” the feeling of being poked with the needle; try listening to music or even playing something on your smartphone. Bring a book and read it so you don't have to pay attention to what's going on.
Step 4. Use a coping technique
Tell employees what you will do and use one of the ways to handle the injection; both the mentalizing and breathing exercises can be used when being “stuck” but wait until the nurse is finished to do the muscle tensing exercise.