- Lindsay Brown y Luxmy Gopal
- BBC Newsbeat
Adam really wants to get vaccinated against covid-19, but an extreme fear of needles paralyzes him.
The 23-year-old from Gainsborough, in the center-east of the United Kingdom, says that it is not the pain that he is afraid of but the idea of the injection itself as the needle pierces his skin.
“It feels like the world is going to end”, describe Adam.
“It feels like you have no outlet, you can’t do anything, your heart rate hits 200, you can’t concentrate. It’s a pathological fear of needles“, Add.
In the United Kingdom alone, more than 85 million doses of the covid vaccine have been administered.
And a recent Oxford University survey of more than 15,000 adults in the country found that needle phobia accounts for approximately 10% of doubts about the covid vaccine.
Over 68% of 18-29 year olds in England received the first dose, while 88.6% of all UK adults were also vaccinated with one.
The survey also reveals that refusal to receive the covid vaccine is generally slightly higher in young people and in some ethnic minority groups.
Adam has a severe anxiety disorder and believes his needle phobia developed after his ear was pierced when he was 8 years old.
It took weeks for him to dare to get to a vaccine center to try to receive a dose of covid.
But when he saw that his local hospital posted a message on Facebook offering support for anyone nervous about the injection, Adam decided to attend.
At her appointment, she was given a continuous room with a nurse where she could discuss her fears.
He tells the BBC that after hours of “severe panic”, he felt he had made some progress, but was not yet ready to receive the vaccine.
Three days later, Adam spent another three hours in a private room with nurses. They used techniques like slow breathing and distraction to help him overcome his fears.
Adam said he was close to getting the stick this time, but was scared at the last minute and the needle did not inject the dose.
What is needle phobia?
Needle phobia is the fear of medical procedures that involve needles or injections.
It affects about one in 10 people, according to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS).
Fear is usually the result of bad memories with needles in childhood.
“It is possible that seeing others react (badly) to an injection means that you learn that response from them,” says psychologist and phobia specialist Robert Edelman.
“Needles are also associated with blood and, for many people, this triggers an anxiety response that, with an increase and then a decrease in heart rate, can lead to fainting,” he adds.
There are many ways to help people overcome needle phobia, such as cognitive conduct therapyal.
Treatment may include gradually exposing someone to needles and injections, showing them pictures and videos to begin with.
And there are methods to help prevent people from passing out from fear, such as teaching them to recognize the first signs of a drop in blood pressure.
Other insider tips we’ve talked to include:
- Before your vaccination appointment, think about why you are concerned.
- Talk about those reasons with other people.
- Learn some breathing techniques that will help you feel calm
- Tell the person who will give you the vaccine that you are afraid.
Psychiatrist Andrew Iles says it’s good to remember that it’s natural to feel unpleasant to get a vaccine.
“Punctures are awkward and strange, so It is absolutely normal to be afraid of needles, but it is important not to let that put you off to receive the vaccine, “he says.
Despite failed attempts, Adam is optimistic about trying again and has signed up for the same vaccination for an appointment in a few days.
“Let the game begin!” Hopefully he’ll get over it and get the vaccine, he says confidently.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.