This is part 2 of a two-part series on injection phobia. It covers tips and tricks that you can use at the time of the injection to make it easier.
Part 1 (published last week) covered possible causes of needle phobia, and what you can do in advance of the injection to make it easier for you to get the vaccinations etc. which you need. If you have not read it, please do refer to it, as there are many actions that you can take beforehand to make the experience of an injection easier.
So… what can you do if you need an injection? Read on for some tips of how to make the actual event easier…..
Bring a friend or family member along.
- Ask someone you trust to come with you when you get the shot. Having someone you know with you could provide you with a confidence boost.
- Ask them to hold your hand tightly during the procedure.
Express your fear.
- Tell your doctor or nurse that you are scared.
- Talking about your fear can let that person know to treat you with extra care.
- He or she might even be able to talk you through it and offer you tips to help you relax and keep things in perspective.
- If you would like to donate blood you might find it less scary if you tell the person drawing your blood that he or she has one chance to get it right. Doing this can help you feel more in control of the situation.
Remind yourself the pain will be over quickly.
Even if you are afraid of needles, reminding yourself of how short the pain will last can help. You can say, “It may hurt, but the pain will be over and done within a few seconds. I can deal with that.”
Ask for the best practitioner.
If you’re worried that someone won’t do a good job, ask for a technician to do it, particularly if you are at a large facility. If you’re afraid, most people will understand why you want an expert who can do it quickly.
- Many people focus on getting the shot, but taking your mind off of the injection by, among other things, looking the other way, can help allay your fears.
- Remember that the injection is part of your treatment – it will contribute to your health (e.g. blood tests, vaccination, delivery of a required drug).
- Strike up a conversation with someone else in the room, be it the doctor, the nurse, or the family member or friend who has accompanied you.
- Research has found that doctors who talked to patients about something other than the injection itself were able to significantly reduce the patient’s anxiety levels.
- Concentrate on something else in the room. Try rearranging the letters of a sign to make as many new words as you can.
- Play a game on your phone, listen to some soft music, or read a book or magazine
- Listen to music and/or snuggle your favorite stuffed animal
- Think about how fast the needle will be in and out and realise the needle will be so small.
- If you’re a parent and your child is afraid of needles, then tell them that you’ll take them out for ice cream or get them a few toys after they are vaccinated. If you’re an adult and are afraid of needles and injections, reward yourself too.
Position your body correctly.
- You might find that lying down or having your legs elevated while you receive and injections can help to ease your fear and symptoms. Lying with your head down and feet slightly elevated will lessen the chances of fainting. Even after the injection stay prone for a while, and don’t try to jump up and run out. Take your time and listen to what the doctor or nurse is telling you.
- When you are lying down, place one hand on your stomach and concentrate on your breathing.
Try to relax
- Tensing up during the injection will make it hurt more later. Relax your arms, shoulder, and jaw. Look away, focus on your breathing, and take deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- When the shot is about to be administered, take a deep breath and slowly count down from ten before breathing out. By the time you get to zero the procedure will be done!
Breathe through it.
- One way to cope with anxiety is to learn breathing techniques you can use while having blood drawn or getting an injection. Try closing your eyes, and breathing in through your nose. Take a deep slow breath, and hold it for four counts. Breathe out slowly through your mouth. Repeat four more times.
- Use this technique several times a day, so you get used to doing it. Then, when you are faced with a needle, you can use it to calm yourself down.
- Meditation can help calm you down, and using visualisation to meditate can help distract you. To use visualisation, you first need to pick a place that makes you feel happy. It should be a stress-free place, such as park, a beach, or your favourite room in your house.
- Close your eyes, and imagine yourself in that place. Use all of your senses. What do you see? What do you smell? What can you feel? What can you hear? What can you taste? Build your world with intricate detail.
- For instance, if you are imagining the beach, think about the sight of the blue waves, the smell of the ocean air, and the feel of the hot sand beneath your feet and the warmth of the sun on your shoulders. Taste the salt in the air, and hear the sounds of the waves crashing on the shore.
- The better you are able to picture the place, the better you’ll distract yourself.
Decrease the pain
- Some people who are afraid of needles are very sensitive to pain and the normal small amount of pain experienced when getting an injection will be heightened.
- In life, there are so many things that hurt more than a needle; such as a scrape, a pimple, or a bee sting. Most people who are afraid of shots and needles aren’t afraid of the pain, they are afraid of the anticipation, so try to relax.
- Don’t tense up or the needle will hurt your muscle and will make your pain and fear worse. If this is the case, you can ask the doctor or nurse to give you numbing cream, or apply an anaesthetic cream or warm compress to the area 20 minutes before you expect the receive the injection.
- Relax your arm while getting an injection, so you will feel a bit more comfortable.
- Research shows that coughing once before and once during the injection can help some people feel less pain.
- Injection blockers work well and ease the pain sometimes.
- If you are injecting yourself (e.g. for diabetes), first scrape the needle where you’re going, so you know it’s not painful.
Request a thin needle
- Request either a thin needle or a butterfly needle. Butterfly needles, which can be more precise than standard needles, are often used on patients with needle phobia.
Take anti-anxiety medication.
- Sometimes your doctor may recommend anti-anxiety medication for acute cases of needle phobia. If someone faints uncontrollably at the sight of a needle, anti-anxiety medication may be necessary in the short-term. You should never consider this unless your doctor suggests it, concentrate on combating your fear without medication.
If you currently have needle phobia, fear of injections, etc. and would like to find out more about how hypnotherapy can help, please call me (Lisa) on 0403 932311. We can chat about how I can assist you, and there is no obligation to proceed if you do not wish to do so.