What to do about needle phobia?

I am terrified of needles! I always have been, which puts me in a very interesting situation, being diabetic.

I have always used an inserter device for my insulin, even used the "inject-eez" when I was little and still using syringes. Now that I'm on the pump I use the Inset infusion set. While these have helped my fear a little, I still get overwhelmingly anxious whenever I have to change my pump. It's gotten to the point where I will keep my site far longer than I should just to avoid the blinding fear that comes with thinking about the needle!

I've recently gone back on the Dexcom, and that needle is the worst! It's huge! It also does not have a self inserter tool, so I have to physically push the needle in. I have to use a topical anesthetic because feeling the needle go in would put me over the top. Even with that I completely loose it, my vision blurs, my hands shake and it takes me hours to calm my breathing and get my focus back after inserting the sensor.

I've been diabetic for 18ish years now, so needles are not new to me, but I feel like my fear has been getting much worse lately, especially with that Dex needle! Even the lancet for pricking my finger gets me nervous now.

Anyone else terrified of needles? Any coping techniques you'd suggest?

yea i hate needles 2 but if u stick 2 the pump it a little bit better have u tried the straight needles dont use the 45 angle 1

I saw dexcom has an inserter ....

The only hint which comes to my mind is to do it while thinking something else good, as the next pizza o football match in tv and in the while ... tick

Sorry, that's difficult but I have no other ideas

If you're dealing with this level of anxiety after 18 years, then there is something deeply rooted that is driving this. What you describe isn't really a normal response. I find that most folks desensitize themselves and self-program their response to be one of either mild annoyance or outright boredom with the process. You are going the other way.

I'm a big believer in getting professional help when I get in over my head, so my advice would be to talk to someone in the field who helps people understand the source of their anxiety. You take your car to a mechanic, you call a plumber when the pipes leak, and a dentist when you need a filling. So it makes sense to drop a dime to a professional in this case too.

The cool thing is you've already made that tough first step. :) You know there is an issue and you want to fix it. And that fix may be as close as your phonebook.

So make a call and let us know what happens! And yeah... we're all pulling for you! :)

I'm totally afraid of needles too, though not quite to this extent. I do have to psych myself up prior to a site change, and take several deep breaths before actually inserting. I've always been afraid, and like you, used an aid when I was young. Now I'm on a minimed and use the Silouhette (one of the 45 degree angle ones) without an inserter. I find that my fear has gotten worse over the years as well, but like I say, it's not as bad as your fear. I wish I could offer more advice, but don't worry, you're not alone :)

I hate needles. I can't stand watching in a movie when someone gets a needle.

I've been using needles sine 1966. For the first year, my mother gave me insulin shots. I went to Camp Joslin in 1967. Somehow they got me to give myself shots. I hsven't stopped doing that yet. From where I kniow know, it's a lot more comfortable me getting insulin than NOT getting insulin. That's probably true for all of us.

Maybe 10 years ago one very snowy morning, a neighbor asked for a favor. Her dog got an insulin injection every morning from the veterinarian. The snow was so bad, that the dog wasn't going to the vet that day. She asked if I would give the dog its shot! It was so weird doing that. Giving myself shots was something I knew about, how to do it, what it felt like at different times. I just didn't know what the dog would feel.

The dog got its insulin that day. I was surprised about never having considered what someone felt. A lot of things about diabetes really scare me.

When I was first Dx, I still passed out at the sight of a syringe. I still have anxiety when it is set change time, or time for symlin injections, and sensor change day is the worst. Although sensor change day I think is easier with the DExcom, even though its not spring loaded like the Medtronic harpoon--it is MUCH smaller and it lasts for 7 days instead of 3.

I find music (and the type depends on my mood, but I am rather put at ease most by Angel's Flight by Shadowfax) helps..it sometimes takes me a long time to put the sensor in..the fast slap definately does not work for me.

I do have a most wonderful husband who when it is really bad can talk me through it--he always offers to do it for me if I can't

Most people end up adapting to needles and insertion sets. Simply repeatedly exposing yourself dulls the fear and anxiety. But that never really helped you. And the last 18 years must have been rough. I have to commend you for your continued bravery over the years.

Roark has a good idea about professional help. But I'd also like to add that there is a therapy that may specifically help your anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy and in particular Exposure Therapy. There are probably some deeply rooted fear you have about this, not just the insertion set. If it were just the insertion set or the needle, you would have gotten over it long ago.

I gotta agree with this. You've made the first step by seeing the problem, but now you need a little professional help.

I couldn't inject myself when I first started and always had my mom or a friend do it. I would get the insulin ready, the needle would hover over my skin and I would count in my head, "1 2 3 GO" but I wouldn't. I psyched myself out about it so bad. I got to the point where I was thinking, "1 2 3...1 2 3...1 2 3...1 2 3 GO" and STILL couldn't do it, lol. My mom tried the guilt trip thing on me, which didn't really work, but finally one day I just did it. I can't even remember now, it wasn't even a big deal.

I can still psych myself out, especially when I know I'm injecting in a place that's going to hurt (insertion, insulin, AND extraction), but I guess I've been doing it for so long that I'm at that bored place and just do it to get it over with. I'm at 13 years with this too.

I think you'll get there with professional help. Good luck!

After 36 years of dealing with diabetes I wouldn't say I have a phobia. However, a while back my doctors office got a new nurse. After a couple of visits she was doing the usual blood draw and asked me if I was afraid of needles. I looked at her with a dumbfounded look on my face and said "An insulin depedent diabetic afraid of needles? . . . I don't think so."

I asked her what prompted to ask her the question. She then proceeded to say that every time she has stuck me for whatever reason I tense up before she does the deed. I thought about and she's right, I can stick my self all day long without so much as blinking an eye or twitching a muscle, but let someone else do it and I do tense up a bit.

As for coping skills, I don't have any to offer . . . but some of the other posters have some valid ideas about the situation.

I am/was terrified of needles too. I can't quite say if, or how I've overcome it. I just go with the flow...I inject, but I don't think about it, it's become like breathing now. It's automatic. That's the only thing I can advise...be careful of course, but don't allow it any more thought that it deserves. Think of other things, even if they are small random ones.