If you fear shots, injections, or medical needles in general, you may be suffering from trypanophobia—and an estimated 10 percent of Americans share the same aversion. The general public calls it “needle phobia” but the DSM-IV classified it as a specific phobia of medical needles as of 1994.
Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr understand these fears, and Walker-Barr DMD treats patients dealing with them every day. We do everything we can to keep your dental treatment as comfortable and stress-free as possible, but it’s good to be aware of needle phobia and its effects.
Negative Effects of Needle Phobia
- Dreading medical care, especially shots and injections
- High blood pressure, elevated heart rate, anxiety
- Extremely low blood pressure, fainting
- Avoiding the dentist to avoid possible injections, even routine checkups
Causes of Needle Phobia
The short answer: scientists aren’t sure. It does seem to be inherited—about 80% of sufferers have a close relative with the same phobia. It is possible, however, that it is a learned fear rather than a genetic one. Some evolutionary psychologists maintain the fear may be rooted in survival before antibiotics, when puncture wounds could be deadly, concluding fear of puncturing the skin was an evolutionary adaptation.
Treatments for Needle Phobia
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven an effective treatment for phobia, as have exposure therapies like systematic desensitization or therapy involving hypnosis. Many dentists offer “painless injections”, and if you’re really having trouble relaxing, ask Dr. David Walker or Dr. Sarah Barr about sedation dentistry options.
Your Brandon dental team will do everything we can to help you overcome any dental anxiety or fears. Get in touch with us today and we’ll talk you through it!
The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.