Tips for Overcoming a Fear of Needles When You Have Diabetes

This content material initially appeared on diaTribe. Republished with permission.

By Susannah Chen

From blood exams to self-injections and know-how, needles are an inescapable half of diabetes care. If you may have a concern of needles, there are a number of anxiousness administration methods you should utilize to beat this concern.

Carol Gee remembers shuddering when her mom was recognized with diabetes late in life and placed on insulin. “I couldn’t imagine ever having to do that,” she mentioned, referring to her lifelong concern of needles.

Fifty years later, Gee herself landed within the hospital with a analysis of sort 2 diabetes. “I was hospitalized with blood glucose so high that for four days the nurses kept saying that I was lucky to not be in a coma or worse,” she recalled. “I was told I would need insulin. I was frightened to death.”

Gee, an Atlanta-based writer who has now lived with sort 2 diabetes for 14 years, has since realized to handle her concern of utilizing needles. For her and so many others, it was a necessity. Because diabetes requires fixed monitoring of blood glucose, for each kids and adults with the illness, which means dealing with sharp objects like syringes, lancets, injection pens, infusion units, and steady glucose displays (CGM) are an unavoidable half of life, as are common blood exams.

By addressing some of the psychological roadblocks round self-injection and self-testing, and with the assistance of anxiousness administration methods, you’ll be able to handle and even overcome a concern of needles.

Know that a concern of needles is comparatively widespread

If you reside with a concern of needles, syringes, and medical injections, it might be useful to comprehend that you simply’re removed from alone. As many as 2 in three kids battle with some degree of both needle concern (anxiousness about ache instantly previous to dealing with a needle) or trypanophobia (a concern of needles that’s extreme sufficient to influence high quality of life).

But a concern of needles can have an effect on anybody, regardless of age, and it usually additionally carries from childhood into maturity. So, should you’re feeling embarrassed about a concern of needles, do not forget that as many as 1 in four adults round you struggles with the identical factor.

Remind your self of your ‘why’

It’s useful to start out by remembering why you’re coping with the fast, momentary discomfort within the first place.

“Insulin needles are usually only a half-inch long, and injections last for a few seconds,” mentioned Angie Victorio, an Orange County-based registered nurse, diabetes educator and founder of, a website targeted on serving to individuals handle sort 2 diabetes. “It’s not as invasive as other injections, and [it’s] something you do in the comfort of your own home.”

Skipping injectable drugs or blood glucose checks might have a unfavorable influence on blood sugar management and enhance the danger of diabetes-related issues.

Victorio advises reminding your self of why the take a look at you’re about to manage or the injection you’re about to take is crucial and the methods during which this remedy will make your physique stronger. “These needles and injections are all part of improving health,” she added.

Gee, for one, managed to recover from the preliminary hurdle of insulin injections by reminding herself of her resilience. “Any time I’ve had to do something– military basic training, completing college, flying – I [have told] myself that I could do it,” she mentioned.

Once she overcame the primary injection with out passing out, she advised herself she may proceed to manage insulin.

“Although I still hate injecting myself, I realized not taking insulin had serious side effects, like amputations and a shortened life span,” she mentioned. “I still hate needles – I cringe at people injecting themselves in movies – but I want to live, and if injecting myself will help this, I’ll stick myself.”

Identify what exactly you’re afraid of

Determining the precise cause why you’re feeling anxious round needles may help to raised tackle the problem. Ask your self: What particular facet of the expertise causes concern? Some potential causes embody:

  • Worries that the ache of a needle might be unmanageable
  • Physical hypersensitivity to the ache, which may be inherited
  • A traumatic earlier expertise, equivalent to experiencing a number of makes an attempt to attract blood
  • Fear of an injection-related complication equivalent to bleeding, bruising, or injection
  • An affiliation between needles and a unfavorable expertise, equivalent to spending time in a hospital or being unwell

Determining the basis of the concern lets you acknowledge and tackle issues extra immediately.

The Anxiety & Depression Association of America recommends jotting your fearful ideas down on paper in a single column (equivalent to “I’m afraid I’m going to faint”), after which addressing whether or not or not they’re supported by info in one other (“if I’m worried I’m going to faint, I can always ask to lie down first”).

Be upfront about your concern with healthcare professionals

If your healthcare supplier has both not too long ago really useful blood sugar monitoring or injectable drugs, be sincere with them about the truth that you’re feeling nervous.

“Your care provider should definitely know if there’s anything that could affect your ability to take medication,” Victorio mentioned.

Let any medical professionals who’re treating you recognize if you’re feeling nervous, both about blood sugar monitoring necessities, injectable drugs, or laboratory blood exams. They can work with you to develop a tailor-made plan that meets your preferences and helps handle your fears.

This may embody providing different drugs that aren’t injectable, discovering methods to lower the quantity of needle procedures in your remedy, or answering any questions you may need to place you extra comfy.

“It’s helpful to share specific concerns you have with needles so your provider can help find different options,” Victorio mentioned, including for example: “If the person simply won’t use needles for any reason, the provider could look at other ways to take insulin without needles, including through an insulin pump or even an inhaler.”

Even a refresher on injections may assist. One world research means that merely asking a healthcare skilled to reveal the injection course of may help many sufferers higher handle a concern of needles.

Try breathwork and different calming methods

Victorio additionally suggests a quantity of self-calming methods, from training muscle leisure methods to meditation commonly to scale back general anxiousness. “Playing calming or enjoyable music to distract from the injection and taking walks before injections” may also be efficient, she added.

Practicing sure respiration methods may help you handle anxiousness round needles, too. The Cleveland Clinic recommends these with trypanophobia strive a deep respiration approach of counting to 4 on every inhale and exhale.

Another self-injection respiration approach includes taking deep breaths earlier than the injection and exhaling forcefully through the injection.

Consider assist from a professional

If your concern continues to impede your capability to take care of your well being, take into account searching for the recommendation of a skilled.

One behavioral approach that will help you conquer anxiousness round needles is publicity remedy, the place a licensed therapist can work with you to regularly acclimate to needles in order that they change into much less intimidating over time.

If different measures have confirmed ineffective, a psychiatrist might prescribe sedative or anti-anxiety drugs to assist calm down your physique and mind.

Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your issues, it’s useful to do not forget that by conquering your fears, you’re taking steps to raised your general well-being.

“When [a person with diabetes] chooses to take their medication or fingersticks, they’re actually taking control of their health and should feel good about that,” Victorio mentioned. “It can serve as a daily reminder that they in fact can take control.”

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