Stupid Needle Phobia! (TMI)

I’ve had to have many shots over the years (the course of allergy shots made it a regular thing for me). I’ve found that as long as I have something to eat shortly before hand I have no problems, but give me an injection on an empty stomach and I’m apt to pass out. Can you ensure you have something to eat before hand? A (CDN) Snickers Bar will do even. Of course, fasting bloodwork is seven kinds of hell for me. (Near fainting issues with two tetanus shots, 1 measles booster, 1 radiolabeled B12 shot, and 1 round of fasting bloodwork with another to be done in the next month or two for my annual physical.)

So the best advice I can give is this:

  1. Food (if possible).
  2. Don’t watch it happen.
  3. Be somewhere you can keel over and get your legs elevated if you do feel woozy.
  4. Explain to the prctitioner that you have a bad involuntary reaction to needles and that they should keep an eye on you.
  5. If you can, have fruit juice/cookie available immediately afterwards (to keep blood sugar up).
  6. Make sure that you stay relaxed through the course of the injection, it will result in fewer problems with the shot itself.

Yes, this happened to me too. The doctor drew some blood for a test. I wasn’t terrible scared at all. Then a inute later I felt faint and the doctor had to quickly get me to lie down, which I just about managed without loosing consciousness.

Wonder if any of the nurses/doctors around here know why that happens. I mean, I’m a little afraid but if that level of fear would make me pass out I would be passing out when seeing a spider which, btw, I don’t. So I wonder if having your blood taken can make you faint in a non-fear related way. Maybe that’s even what happened to Lefthand as well as he said he felt relieved and but felt weak after the fear had already gone.

THanks to everyone for the responses! First the good news: I don’t have to go back for a measles shot. Yayyyyy! The nurse called me yesterday afternoon to ask if I wanted the doctor to prescribe a Xanax (sp? anti-anxiety drug that’s worked for me in the past) before I came in to get the blood drawn for my cholesterol/iron levels checks. I stammered something about how I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to come by for that and that I’d let them know, but I was thinking, “Jesus Christ, lady! I threw up all over myself about six hours ago because of a shot you gave me–you think I’m read to be contemplating another needle?”

Shodan, thanks for the good wishes and the quote. When I was a kid, I went on an Outward Bound trip, and my closest friend on the trip had a deathly fear of heights. I used a similar train of thought to convince her to go through with the rappelling part of the trip, but felt obscurely guilty for my hypocrisy: I could only wax poetic about overcoming fears because Outward Bound doesn’t include a let’s-get-stuck-with-needles component :). It’s helpful for me to remember that when it comes down to it, I too can go through with the things that terrify me.

Okay, now to get all my paperwork in order so I can register for classes…


Another completely wild-assed guess about what’s going on…

This morning I was reading an anthropologist’s account of universal human traits, things that appear across all cultures. Most of them were things like, “humorous insults, marked interest in sex, division of labor by sex, involvement of senior kin in child rearing,” and so forth. But one stood out to me: “fear of snakes.”

And I thought back to my first manifestation of the needlephobia, which was reading a children’s book with a vivid account of a snakebite in it (it was a book by Betsy Byers, I think, though I forget the name). I wonder if there’s any chance I have cause and effect mixed up–if what I really have is a genetic phobia of snakes that I’ve generalized to any hollow pointy object injecting something into me, instead of having a fear of needles that I’ve generalized to snake fangs?

In this thread, cher3 suggests that needlephobias have a drop in blood pressure. It seems like this might be a good response if you’re bitten by a snake, since it’d slow the toxin’s spread through your body.

Anyway, just a completely wild-assed speculation that I thought I’d throw out there.


I am still scared of needles. About five years ago I had to start shooting myself in the butt twice a month with testosterone. With a needle. A big one.

I think it is another attempt at humor by The Big Guy Upstairs.

I won’t make fun of your needle phobia at all, tho’ I myself don’t share it. On the other hand, I’m terrified of spiders. Snakes are fine, but spiders are out of the question.

Phobias suck.

Imagine the fun I had after my last eye surgery, when they had to remove a small piece of scar tissue from the inner corner of my eye (near the tear duct). The dr. proceeded to give me a shot of novacaine RIGHT IN THE CORNER OF MY EYE SOCKET while I was still very much awake. “You may want to try and look as far to your left as you can,” she said. Sorry, didn’t do a bit of good. The needle kept getting BIGGER AND BIGGER AND BIGGER until whammo - right in my eye.

There, I think I’ve probably sickened enough people. My work here is done.

I would have to be already dead and cremated for them to try that on me. And even then, my ashes would jump off the table and make a beeline for the door.

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:


There is no way I would sit still for that. Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye… oh wait, that’s sort of the point.

And no, I’m not particularly needle-phobic. Years of weekly-or-more allergy shots smacked that out of me young. I can’t actually watch a needle puncture skin. Or even look at a needle. But I can tolerate 'em just fine as long as I don’t have to look. Which would be hard to avoid, in the situation plnnr describes.

:eek: :eek: :eek: :eek: :eek:


Bizarrely, this doesn’t trigger my freakoutometer as much as a normal shot does. It’s so far out of my experience that it might not make me flip out.

Phobias are weird.


How’s this for weird:

I have a needle-phobia nasty enough that when I require a shot or a blood draw (and I’m not what my medical professional refers to as “altered” - by illness, drugs, or whatever), it typically requires a minimum of four people to hold me still for the procedure. At one point, attempting to control my phobia, I managed to rip the vinyl upholstery off a dental chair. With my bare hands. Without breaking a nail (actually I’m sort of proud of the last bit).

However, I can give myself shots without triggering my phobia.

And during one shining medical moment, I watched a doctor drill a hole in the back of my skull under the influence of nothing stronger than a local (although my head was restrained) without flinching.

My doctor thought this was hilarious. I very nearly smacked him a good one.

I was once somewhat needle-phobic, enough that I would dread being stuck. I fought for years to keep my diabetes under control so I wouldn’t have to go on insulin.

Now, I test several times a day, and have to use insulin at least twice a day. Necessity changed my attitude.

I’m sorry that you have such a hard time with this; I have no other useful advice than to “bite the bullet.” I hope you find a solution that you can live with.

:: kills himself to get the image out of his head ::

This has been a good thread for me to read.

My daughter is needle-phobic but I haven’t taken it very seriously because I can’t relate to it (I know, this is pretty lame of me, but at least I’m aware of my faults).

It’s easier for me to take this seriously when I hear other people with the same issue.

Actually, I can totally understand why you’d have a phobia about needles. I mean, no-one finds the experience very pleasant!
I used to be terrified of needles when I was a child, to the point where it took a poor nurse 2 hours to draw my blood for tests when I was 9 - I threw a screaming, crying tantrum and neither Mum nor the nurse could calm me down. :o
I’ve grown out of my fear of needles now, so I don’t think it was ever a phobia as such. Nowadays I feel anxious when I go to the doctors and know in advance that I may need a vaccination or a blood test. I just ask them to get it over with and request a butterfly needle - you can barely feel them. I look away while it’s happening, and concentrate on my breathing, and that’s how I deal with it.
I don’t know if this helps you though, as you have a full-blown phobia. Just know that a LOT of people have phobias about medical stuff, because medical stuff is certainly anxiety-provoking.

What made the situation even more uncomfortable for me is that I’m slightly claustrophobic and at first the dr. covered my face with a sterile drape with a little hole in it so that she should see the eye she had to work on. So there I am: Awake, with a drape covering my entire face except for one eye, and there’s a hypodermic needle coming toward my eyeball. I told her in no uncertain terms that she had to get the drape off my face unless she planned on knocking me out completely.

The only way they’re getting a needle near my eyes is if I’m unconscious, and I’m not needle-phobic. I’m scared of 'em if they’re going places I can’t see, so blood draws and such are not a real problem, but getting numbed up at the dentist is a huge problem. I don’t get quite to the phobic level, though, I don’t think.

I think there’s a big difference between an injection and a blood draw. Needles don’t bother me, but when I donate blood, I have to lie flat or else I turn green and start sweating and shaking. This also happened once when I had to have three tubes of blood drawn at one time. If you were really sensitive to the blood loss, drawing one tube might do it. With me, there’s no phobic reaction, just a physical reaction to the loss of blood. It might help some people to realize that the two can be separated.

I’ve never had a blood draw, but I hate needles as well–it’s more the brief and very weird sensation of “there is a needle poking into my arm” than anything else.

Fortunately, I have one of the sweetest doctors in the world, and she always puts a hand on my shoulder and keeps me facing away while she does the injections–she’s quick about it, too, very competent. Thank goodness for her, otherwise I’d be a nervous wreck :slight_smile:

Followup post: Eve, I know exactly what you mean. :frowning: