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What is Trypanophobia

What is Trypanophobia

There exist many phobias, and almost all of us do not know enough about these phobias. One of the most common phobia of the childhood is trypanophobia. Do you want to know what trypanophobia is? In short, it is the fear of needles. Find out more in this Buzzle article.
PsycholoGenie Staff
As children, we all used to dread going to the doctor because of the fear of injections and needles. This fear normally vanquishes once we grow up, but in some, the fear remains. If you still avoid going to the doctor because of the fear of an injection, you might be having trypanophobia.

Trypanophobia was first officially recognized as a phobia in 1994, and was defined as the fear of blood, injections and injuries. Fear or phobia of needles and injections, is often confused with aichmophobia or enetophobia, which is the fear of sharp things like pencils, needles, etc. It is much related to the medical aspect of needles and could lead to serious consequences if left unnoticed. In severe cases, the patient may completely refuse to undergo a medical procedure involving needles, and even the sight of needle or imagining it, could lead to panic attacks in the person. As per statistics, a majority of the trypanophobics are children, but there are also considerable amount of adults who suffer from this phobia.

Symptoms and Causes

In patients, imagination runs wild on seeing the needle or injection. They start imagining the pain that might occur and thus try their best to avoid the pain. In some, even the atmosphere in the hospital can trigger panic attacks. Also, when the person sees the suffering of some other person using needles, he/she may develop the fear. There is no specific cause behind this fear. A person is confirmed as trypanophobic when he tries hard to resist the needle situation and shows the following symptoms:
  • Abnormal anxiousness
  • Raised heart beats and palpitations
  • Giddiness and fainting
  • Shivering and panic attacks
  • Profuse sweating
  • Change in blood pressure - low or high
Treatment

Treatment changes according to the specific type in the particular patient. It is classified into four different types - vasovagal, associative, resistive and hyperalgesic, on the basis of reactions shown by the patient.

Vasovagal Trypanophobia
It is the most commonly occurring type, which has affected almost fifty percent of tryphobians. By vasovagal it means, relating to the vasovagal nerve. The patient generally gets a vasovagal syncope (fainting), when he sees the needle and other medical instruments. When the patient is conscious, he shows no fear of a needle. This type is characterized by great fear of vasovagal syncope. The symptoms shown by the patient include sweating, rapid change in blood pressure, paleness of skin and tinnitus, i.e crackling sound in the ear. Vasovagal trypanophobia is best treated by exposing patients to more dangerous stimuli, which may result in they not fearing the current medical procedure.

Associative Trypanophobia
It is the second most common type and is seen in thirty percent of all patients. The patients generally compare their current medical procedure with some other dreadful procedure they had seen or experienced earlier, and fear that same thing would happen to them too. The patients have thoughts concerning only the medical procedure, and the symptoms shown by them include insomnia and panic attacks. The treatment includes hypnosis and administration of some drugs, to reduce the tension.

Resistive Trypanophobia
As the name suggests, the patient tries very hard to resist the needle prick and often gets violent while resisting. Accompanying the fear of injections is fear of getting suppressed by people. This tendency stems from some prior experience in which the patient was forcefully pricked with the injection. The best treatment is teaching the patient self-injection methods, so that there is less pain, or at least the fear of it. This type has affected around twenty percent of trypanophobians.

Hyperalgesic Trypanophobia
More than the needles, the patient is scared of the pain that he might have to experience. Such people are very sensitive and cannot bear even a slight pain. The symptoms include anxiety and rapid fluctuation in blood pressure at the time of a needle prick. The suggested treatment for this type is administration of some kind of anesthesia to mitigate the pain.

You must agree on this, majority of us have had trypanophobia in our childhood. It cures itself with time, but in some people the fear of needles and medical procedures stays for a long time. If you doubt that you are a trypanophobic, don't worry. Any phobia is just in the mind, and can be cured with willpower and strength.

Disclaimer: This Buzzle article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.