Discover techniques and tips that have helped others
Do I really need injections?If your doctor has prescribed a Low Molecular Weight Heparin (LMWH), then the answer is yes. LMWH cannot be taken orally. That’s because if this type of medicine, in its current form, were to be ingested, it would be broken down by stomach acid before it had the chance to be absorbed into the blood stream. If your doctor has prescribed this treatment, it’s important to use it as directed and stick with it.
Where does needle phobia come from?This relatively common fear can have a number of causes. It could be the lingering memory of a particularly painful injection, or a traumatic childhood experience that you consciously or subconsciously associate with needles. Whether caused by a past stressful event or the fear of a future painful injection, a phobia can become quite intense, and could manifest itself in a number of physical and emotional responses, from rapid heartbeat to breathlessness and dizziness.
Why it is important to get past the fear, and how to do it.Needle phobia is a legitimate response to an unpleasant situation and it is nothing to be embarrassed about. However, the condition itself can worsen over time, to the point where people begin to avoid important medication routines or doctor visits altogether. However harmless needle phobia may seem at first, it’s a good idea to try and face it rationally, or better yet, conquer the fear altogether.
A good way to start is by getting in touch with how you feel and use it to your advantage. You can ask yourself questions to zero in on what makes you feel both afraid and brave or relaxed. Would a certain type of music help you gather courage or feel calm? Would it help to talk to a friend or even to yourself, or would talking only make it worse?
Here are a few more questions you can ask yourself:
- Start by identifying the worst part about needles. Is it the hours of anticipation or the moment you see the needle? Is it the feeling of the prick or the memory of a sterile hospital room that unsettles you?
- Does it help to have someone distract you? Should this person be a stranger or a friend?
- What about distracting yourself? Does it help to think of something else, like a challenge you are trying to solve? Can you reward yourself by looking forward to a small treat when it is over?
- Do you need a calm and relaxed environment or intense focus and a bit of adrenalin to work up the courage?
- Do breathing techniques help? What about holding your breath, taking a deep breath in or slowly exhaling?
- Think back to another tough or scary situation, anything from a tough injury to a challenging exercise. What or who helped? What made it worse?
Turn your insights into a routineOnce you’ve had a chance to think about your fear and identify triggers and calming methods, you can develop an injection routine that caters to them. For example, you could start by getting help from a friend when you inject yourself, until you feel more comfortable taking over. Here are a few more tips for making your routine more comfortable.
- Identify a point in your day that is typically calm. Allow 15 minutes to relax before you use your medicine.
- If anticipation is a problem, use your medicine as soon as you wake up so that you have less time to think and worry about it.
- If you had a bad experience with a needle once, try to create a new memory by administering your injections in a pleasant environment. Each time you have an injection, think back to your new memory.
Fear is a perfectly normal and deeply emotional reaction, so let yourself explore what is going on to find what works for you. Then you can begin to think practically about how to put your natural responses to good use, and do what it takes to feel like you are the one in control, not the needle.