Overcoming Needle Phobia: Strategies for Stress-Free Diabetes Management
Time to read 9 min
Time to read 9 min
Do you or someone you know have needle phobia? This type of fear can be so intense that it causes adverse consequences during needle-based medical care.
Patients may be so scared that their blood pressure may increase, and they may end up with a panic attack.
While many medicines are available through oral routes, injection therapy is sometimes unavoidable. With such a severe fear of needles, needle-based therapy can be a nightmare for these people.
In this article, we’ll discuss several methods to help in overcoming needle phobia. Spoiler: The last tip is guaranteed to work for everyone!
Needle phobia, or Trypanophobia, is an overwhelming fear of needles. While regular people might find an injection a mild inconvenience at best, people with needle phobia may experience panic attacks and severe anxiety just by seeing a needle.
It’s unclear why some people develop needle phobia. There are some assumptions that it’s genetic, but the more acceptable theory is a previous traumatic experience during a medical procedure.
In many cases, it may also result from anxiety disorders or be acquired because someone within the household has a needle phobia.
While not everyone can completely overcome their fear of needles, the majority of those who undergo the right therapy learn pain management and, therefore, can get the treatment they need.
However, it’s important to understand that treating needle phobia isn’t like treating a regular sickness. If you’re sick and you hate the medicine, it’ll still help you overcome your sickness.
The same can’t be said about needle phobia. If you’re not mentally ready to undergo needle-phobia therapy, the treatment will have less success chances.
The first step to solving a problem is admitting that there is one. Please understand how big (or how small) your fear of needles is.
To do this, utilizing a fear ladder or scale can be an effective approach. You have the freedom to put anything on that scale, but a practical approach can be something like:
Using this scale, you can understand how impactful a needle is on you. For example, if fear levels one and two are acceptable or okay with you, then you’ll have better results with overcoming your needle phobia.
On the other hand, if you’re tensed just by reading the first two levels, then you might have to work a bit harder to overcome your phobia. It’s never impossible, though.
Exposure therapy is among the most effective treatment methods for needle phobia. It involves gradually being exposed to needles in a controlled and safe environment.
Exposure therapy can be done individually, but it achieves a lot better results if done in a group setting. That’s because many people will feed off each others’ motivation, allowing them to receive that extra push in dealing with needles.
A group will achieve even more results if they’re all diabetic, which can be a huge step in the right direction while handling needles during diabetes therapy.
The therapy is often conducted by a therapist or a mental health provider who specializes in treating phobias. The therapy often begins by gradually introducing the needle to the person.
The therapy starts by looking at pictures of needles and then watching pictures or videos of injections. This will gradually continue until the person can watch someone else taking a needle and eventually taking the needle themselves.
The “pace” of how fast the patient will transit from one level of the therapy to the other is decided by the therapist according to the patient's responses.
Relaxation techniques like controlled breathing, relaxation exercises, and yoga can be a great supplementation to exposure therapy.
These relaxation techniques can go hand in hand with exposure therapy. They’re not an absolute must, but they can make your life a lot easier.
Diabetes is one of the most difficult diseases to handle. It doesn’t help that it’s also one of the most common diseases in the world. Add to that, despite having some predisposing factors, the true cause of diabetes is yet to be known.
Further, insulin-dependent diabetic patients, like some of type 2 and all of type 1 patients, need daily injections to keep their blood sugar levels in shape.
Imagine telling a person with extreme fear of needles that they have to take multiple needles a day for the rest of their life. To them, that’ll be nothing short of a nightmare.
Because of that, several solutions emerged for diabetic patient management. We’ll discuss them all in the following section.
If you have an insulin-dependent type of diabetes, then there’s no way around daily needles. You have to inject insulin every day to control your blood sugar, or you’ll risk having hyperglycemia.
As such, you’ll have a few options that you can take.
The first option you have is to overcome your needle fear. This won’t only help you with diabetes management but also with other conditions. For example, annual check-ups, blood tests, and occasional intravenous fluids must be administered through needles.
If you overcome your phobia or at least learn to control it, any needle procedure will be much easier for you.
In addition to the steps mentioned earlier, you may also try distracting yourself from the needle during medical procedures. Don’t stare at the needle as you get the injection. The intense fear and anticipation can actually increase your pain.
Instead, look away and converse with anyone around you to keep your mind distracted. That will minimize the pain.
Also, learn to look at pain as an “unpleasant sensation” rather than alarming. Have you ever noticed a wound in your body and asked yourself where it came from? You may not even remember how you got that wound because your brain was too distracted to register the pain.
If you don’t exaggerate the pain and its anticipation in your mind, this will help you greatly to overcome your needle fear.
Have you ever gone to a dentist who prepared that massive anesthesia needle right in front of you? Wouldn’t you feel better if they had it pre-prepared before your visit so you could just get over with it?
This is one of the advantages you get if you use smart insulin pens. Their needles are so tiny and conveniently hidden all the time.
When you administer insulin through an insulin pen, you’ll no longer have the visual anticipation of the needle, reducing a great deal of the incoming pain.
Further, since insulin pens come prefilled, you’ll no longer have to deal with unwrapping the syringe, inserting the needle, aspirating the insulin, and tapping to remove the air bubbles. All you have to do is position the pen on your injection site and press a button.
If your needle fear is too much for you to handle around three injections a day, how about one injection every three days? This solution is called an insulin pump.
An insulin pump is a device that constantly injects insulin into your system at fixed periods. It’s connected to your system using a cannula. With proper cleaning, this cannula can stay connected to your body for three days.
You have to change it every 2-3 days to prevent infection. While that may seem annoying, it’s still far better than daily injections, right?
You did your best, you tried therapy, you tried to distract yourself during injections, and you tried to overcome your fear. Unfortunately, you just couldn’t manage to escape your needle phobia.
If that’s the case, the only solution left is to try the needle-free InsuJetTM.
InsuJetTM decided that a radical problem needs a radical solution. If the needle is the problem, then the needle will leave the equation.
Instead of using needles, the jet-powered V5 Injector pushes a thin stream of liquid at a high speed through your skin. This allows for an accurate insulin delivery at the proper site without needle interference.
This acts as the endgame solution for needle phobia, and it’s also a much better approach, even for those who don’t fear needles but find it an inconvenience.
Besides the absence of needles, the InsuJetTM has the following benefits:
Whenever there’s blood, there’s a risk of infection. This is a standard rule in the world of medicine. You may not have a high risk of infection at home, but you can’t guarantee the cleanliness of the environment outside your home, right?
Unless you’re planning to take all your injections at home, that blood after an injection is a risk.
When there’s no needle, there’s no blood and little to no risk of infection. Not only will the injection be more comfortable, but it’ll also be safer.
The reduced risk of infection is especially effective for those who have a blood-injection-injury phobia.
The InsuJetTM is compatible with all U-100 insulins, and it can aspirate insulin from 3mL and 10mL vials with ease. It even has a cartilage to support those thin 3mL vials to prevent accidental breakage.
Further, the injector can aspirate insulin from insulin pens. So, if you decide to switch your insulin therapy to the InsuJetTM, you won’t lose any of the insulin you’ve already stocked.
The V5 injector can be used up to 5,000 times, which is the equivalent of 4-5 years (assuming you’re using it three times a day and taking care of the device).
If you’re relying on needle therapy for four years and using three needles a day, you’ll throw away over 4,000 needles in that period!
The InsuJetTM has a smart numerical system that allows you to aspirate exactly the dose you require. No longer will you have to focus on those small syringe scales and risk aspirating too much or too little insulin.
Further, the InsuJetTM is designed to inject the insulin at the proper site. Insulin should be administered in the fatty layer between the epithelium and the deep muscle fascia.
Improper angulation while using needles can sometimes result in a non-optimum injection site, something that you’ll never have to worry about with InsuJets, even with patients who have a high BMI.
Many people don’t like to be seen taking their medications in public, especially if the medicine is injectable. There’s something about loading up a syringe and injecting yourself in public that makes people feel insecure.
If you’re one of those people, the InsuJetTM can be quite helpful. The device looks neat and professional, and the entire preparation and injection process takes seconds.
Besides the practices we mentioned in this article, there are various other ways to manage needle-related fears.
However, if everything fails, you can confidently rely on the InsuJetTM to help make your daily insulin a lot easier to administer.
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