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Trypanophobia (Fear of Needles)

Updated: Jan 4

A fear of needles and related medical procedures falls under the category of trypanophobia. Fear of needles can get in the way of receiving needed medical care, attending appointments, and assisting others with care. At times, specific fears may arise from an experience in the past, but not always. A specific fear may seem to have no origin event and has always been with the individual, which increases in intensity throughout an individual's life, leading to overwhelming fear. Interestingly, fear of medical appointments, injections, and needles can be associated with an automatic vasovagal (situational syncope) fainting response.

Trypanophobia is common and often appears more frequently in childhood. Some research shows up to two to three children fear needles, and one in ten adults. Needle phobia may cause people to avoid, even abruptly leave, medical care. Other signs of Trypanophobia may include dizziness, heart racing, insomnia before appointments, nausea, and a temporary increase in blood pressure.

When considering whether or not you met the criteria for a specific phobia, an assessment with a trained professional can better understand the severity of symptoms such as how long the fear has been present, reactions to feared object or situation, how long the feelings last, and how much it interferes with your life.

Treatment of Trypanophobia that has been proven to be effective includes, but is not limited to, exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. If you feel exposure therapy would be a good fit for you or would like to learn more about my approach to exposure therapy, please reach out.


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