COVID Vaccine: What’s Trypanophobia? Why Do Some Fear Injections? 

While fear of injections is not uncommon, it can be extreme in some cases.

2 min read
Image used for representation. 

India has just begun the massive vaccination drive against coronavirus. While the government and other stakeholders are trying to ally fear regarding safety of vaccines, there is a section of people who are apprehensive for another reason – their fear of injections.

While the fear is not unusual, in certain cases it is extreme and is given the name, ‘Trypanophobia.’

Here’s all you need to know about it:

What’s Trypanophobia?

Trypanophobia is an extreme and severe fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles.

According to a Healthline article, children are especially afraid of injections because they are not familiar with the sensation of their skins being pricked this way. The fear of needles usually subsides as people age. But for some, it stays into adulthood, and often turns extreme.

What causes Trypanophobia?

  • Having a vasovagal reflex reaction upon being pricked by a needle and fainting or experiencing dizziness as a result
  • Negative experiences and memories of painful injections
  • Hypochondria
  • Pain sensitivity, which can be a result of genetic factors
  • It is important to note that fear of restraint may also be confused with trypanophobia

What are the symptoms?

The signs and symptoms can be severe and could interfere with a person’s life quality. They are usually triggered at the sight of a needle or at being told they will need to be pricked by one.

Healthline mentions the following symptoms:

  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks
  • High blood pressure
  • Feeling emotionally or physically violent
  • Avoiding or running away from medical professionals

What explains phobias?

“A specific phobia involves an intense, persistent fear of a specific object or situation that's out of proportion to the actual risk,” explains Mayo Clinic.

But why do only some people develop such phobias and others don’t? Doctors don’t really have a clear and solid reasons for this.

Some factors or causes behind phobias are:

  • Negative experiences
  • Genetics and environment
  • Changes in the brain chemistry
  • Specific phobias that appear first up by age 10, but occur later in life
  • Sensitive or negative temperament
  • Hearing about negative experiences of others

Can we get over phobias?

The process of coping or getting over phobias can be different for everybody. Some people may not be able to ever do it, but they learn how to live with it.

A doctor’s help is needed in a lot of these cases. Cognitive-behavioural therapy, clinical hypnotherapy or self-help methods are some ways through which trypanophobia can be managed.

Studies on the phobia shows this type of fear is more likely to be present among children and gets better with age, says a BBC report. Ten percent of Britain’s population is understood to be affected by this.

(This was first published on FIT and has been republished with permission.)

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