Monday, April 08, 2013

Facing fear of needles

Shots hurt. Oh, the nurse or doctor can call it a pinch or a sting, but sharp metal is being thrust into your tender flesh.

Rhona Melsky writes about this in the AZ Republic, Apr 3, 2013. For some--she says--the prospect of an injection causes a rise in BP, dizziness, faintness, the whole niner.

It's trypanophobia--fear of needles.

Did you know this is sort of genetic? You probably have a first degree relative with it (mother, father, sibling).

Reactions can be "vasovagal"--faint, sweaty, nauseous--from the vagus nerve in the center of the body.

A third are from a bad past association--repeated stabbings that went wrong.

And there is a third reason, called resistive--the sufferer may have been restrained before.

Therapists try to decondition the phobic person--show them pictures of needles, then actual needles.

Patients are told to take deep breaths, listen to music, have someone hold their hand, or even suck on chocolate.

Some doctors also use a device that shows the veins in a strong light, helping them hit the target without a traumatizing mess.

Good one and the chocolate might help, too. My eye doctor, where they actually stick needles in your eye (not a joke), has candy for grownups.

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