Living with Diabetes

Fear of Needles

People with Type 1 Diabetes, and an increasing number of patients with Type 2 Diabetes, are expected to use syringes or needles to inject themselves with insulin on a daily basis in order to manage their condition. One of the barriers for adequate blood sugar level control is the irrational fear of injections. The way in which this can adversely affect blood sugar levels is three-fold:

  1. Refusal of injecting with insulin, and hence missing doses
  2. Infrequent self monitoring of blood sugar level
  3. Refusal of performing diagnostic blood tests requested by the physician

The onset of fear may be associated with a triggering event. In the case of needle-phobia, this may be related to the perception of pain, or an unpleasant experience with injections in the past. Extreme cases of such fear are rare, but can result in vomiting or fainting at the sight of a needle. However, most cases of needle-induced anxiety are not so extreme and can be surmountable. Interestingly enough, males are more prone to cases of needle phobia than women. The human body reacts to needle phobias in several ways. Symptoms can include feeling clammy, a drop in blood pressure, sweating, shallow breathing, turning pale, or feeling nauseous. In the case of children, they may cry, throw a tantrum, or cling to their parent or caregiver.

If you recognize yourself or your child as needle-phobic, you may ask yourself how can I help myself to overcome this fear? Firstly, it is important to keep reminding yourself never to give up. Your health and overall well-being should be of utmost importance, and as a person with Diabetes, you have to be able to deal with sharp objects. This month’s newsletter will discuss the different ways of tackling this fear.

Tips on how to overcome fear of needles: