Fear of Needles

Around 10% of the population is said to suffer from a fear of needles, or belenophobia.

fear of needles

“I can put my head in a guillotine and play with a snake. But no – no needles!”

Rock singer Alice Cooper has joked that a needle is the only thing that truly scares him. Around 10% of the population is said to suffer from a fear of needles, or belenophobia. It mostly affects children but if left untreated can continue into adulthood where panic and fear can lead sufferers to refuse vital medical treatment.

In severe cases it can develop into a fear of all things associated with needles, like blood, syringes, doctors and hospitals.

Using a combination of hypnotherapy and NLP, I am privileged to have been able to help a lot of people – adults and children – overcome their fear of needles. The techniques that I use are safe and fast-working and designed to help sufferers to help themselves. If you or your child suffers from needle phobia, please be reassured that help is available and that people can rid themselves completely of this upsetting condition.

Dear Karen
I have to have a blood test for quite a serious condition but I have a bad fear of needles. When I was very young I had an awful experience at hospital when some nurses held me down in a chair to give me an injection and put their hand over my mouth because I was screaming. I haven’t had an injection since.

People without phobias say “don’t worry – it doesn’t hurt!”. Well I don’t care about pain – it’s the thought of the needle going through my skin that disgusts me and fills me with horror. At the moment I would rather die that have that happen to me.

I’m a very sporty person and consider myself to be a risk-taker but this makes me feel like a failure. I need to get rid of my needle phobia and have this blood test. I’ve tried reading books about needle phobia but they haven’t helped. Can you please tell me what I should do.

Thanks Sam

Hi Sam
It’s pretty alarming that medical professionals would treat a frightened child in such a manner and not surprising that the experience had a lasting impression on you. In these kind of circumstances, it’s possible for the patient to subsequently develop what’s described as ‘white coat phobia’. This is a catch-all for fear of those providing treatment in clinical environments like hospitals and doctor’s surgeries.

There may be an element of this in your phobia which would make it more complex than a basic fear of injections and perhaps require a few hypnotherapy or CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) sessions. There are other strategies that can be used to deconstruct the trauma of what’s described as the ‘initial sensitising event’ which a qualified practitioner would be able to employ.

Resistance to anything which punctures the skin is a primeval instinct and perfectly understandable in terms of the way our body interprets danger. The skin is the first line of defence in the face of injury and disease so our automatic response is to repel invaders!

There are some simple strategies which help override this natural response by dissociating you from the immediate situation, desensitising you to the triggers of your fear and distracting you so emotions can be positively redirected.

The way this is done on my ‘Overcome Needle Phobia’ and ‘Releasing Phobias’ sessions is to help you achieve the following:

  • Create a series of positive distractions like a piece of music, perfume or place you can focus your attention on which has happy, positive memories of feeling safe and comfortable
  • Use simple breathing techniques to relax physically so muscles in the area injected are relaxed instead of resistant
  • Enable you to feel happy and calm by focusing on the benefits of the tests or treatment being received
  • Helping you to experience time passing very quickly so the procedure is over in no time at all
  • Changing the sensation of the injection from ‘hurt’ to ‘slight tickle’ – making it much more tolerable

All these techniques work in a powerfully effective way and make the whole experience much more comfortable. Your pleasure in sport and the competitive characteristics often associated with the risk-taking personality type you described can be used to take on the fear, beat it, score points over it and gain the prize of overcoming a seemingly insurmountable challenge to become a winner. You’ll perhaps be surprised at how much that success mentality can be transferred into many different areas of your life to help you overcome anxiety and adversity by using all your best and highest resources.