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Fear of drawing blood: this is how you can overcome it!

Does the thought of an injection scare you, too? For very few people, an injection or blood draw is a nice act, but sometimes it has to be. However, anyone who suffers from syringe phobia can prepare for it.

If you asked friends and co-workers what type of guy you are, they would immediately respond with a confident and energetic response. But what they do not know: behind the strong facade there is someone who is afraid of something that is tiny - syringes. The colloquial “spray fear” is used in technical language Trypanophobia called and describes the irrational fear of injections.

Causes of Needle Phobia

There are a variety of causes for needle phobia. Often these are based on experiences and experiences in childhood. For children it is incomprehensible why a stranger suddenly hurts them and why the parents don't protect you from it. But it can also be precisely these caregivers such as educators or parents who cause the fear. Namely when they are fearful themselves and react accordingly to needles. Then the child sometimes adopts this pattern of behavior. Long hospital stays with lots of syringes, sentences like “Don't touch syringes, they could be infected” or a message from close friends who were diagnosed with serious illness after a blood test are other possible triggers. The normal fear of injections, on the other hand, is not a phobia - almost everyone has it. One is tense before the puncture occurs. If this tension is then released, everything is fine again.

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Types of so-called "injection fear":

  • Trypanophobia: Fear of injection
  • Belonophobia: Fear of needles
  • Aichmophobia: Fear of sharp objects
  • Vaccinophobia: Fear of vaccinations
  • Hematophobia: Fear of blood

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How does the body react in such a case?

Injection can cause symptoms such as paleness, sweating, drowsiness, nausea, dry mouth, dizziness and even fainting in those affected. Blood pressure drops as the blood vessels expand and the heart rate drops. In and of themselves, these factors are rather harmless, but they can lead to complications such as an accident or a fall. It becomes particularly problematic when patients have to administer medication such as insulin or heparin themselves or only rarely use medical services due to their fear. Important vaccinations, operations or blood tests are postponed and canceled due to fear, which of course is associated with health risks. While most phobias increase the heart rate on contact with the feared object, the sight of injuries and blood causes the heartbeat to drop by 30 to 40 beats per minute after a rapid pulse acceleration - this is supposed to reduce blood loss in the event of injuries.

What should you look out for if you are afraid of needles?

Because of the drop in blood pressure, blood draws and injections should only be performed while sitting or lying down.

Is your fear well founded?

What can actually go wrong with an injection? There are actually only three things: you get bruises, the vein is not hit immediately and the practitioner has to stab several times, an infection occurs due to contamination during the blood collection.

Overcoming fear of the syringe - tips

For some, it should help to inhale vigorously before the injection and hold your breath until the puncture. Because then you feel the pain from the puncture less. The trick is supposed to work through the fact that when you hold your breath, the blood pressure rises and the heart rate falls, which stimulates certain receptors and leads to a lower perception of pain. The pain receptors are mainly located on the surface of the skin, which is why the puncture is often perceived as uncomfortable.

Behavior Therapy: Since the fear of having a blood sample is often based on traumatic experiences, behavior therapy is also used to cope with it. In small stages, those affected are accustomed to the situation step by step.

Hypnosis: Occasionally, restrictive conditioning in trance can be resolved by means of hypnotherapy and new thought patterns can be encouraged. A change in focus can improve the situation.

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This is how you can prepare for a blood draw

There are a few things you can do to make it easier and faster to draw your blood. Since the veins become more prominent when it is warm, it is worth keeping your arm warm when you go to have your blood drawn. Taking a warm shower or bath beforehand actually makes sense. Muscle movement also increases venous activity (think of the pumping movement with your hand).


Drink enough beforehand and as banal as it sounds, remember good puncture points. This means you are calmer and can look forward to the next visit to the doctor more relaxed.

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It doesn't matter whether you are simply uncomfortable with injections or you suffer from a real phobia - perhaps with this information you feel a little better prepared for your next doctor's appointment and dare to tackle the topic of vaccinations. Because this is not only relevant in childhood, but also in every phase of life afterwards.

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Marie-Theres Rüttiger

Marie-Theres is an online editor for health and insurance topics at ottonova. She designs the editorial plan, researches and primarily writes about (e-) health and innovation that make life better.

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