• Quote of the Day
    "In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived,
    and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you."
    The Buddha, posted by David Baxter

Salpeter

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I am highly sensitive in certain areas of my body, the most extreme at the place where they usually take blood (arm vein).

I have an appointment with the doctor in a couple of days because I highly suspect I have diabetes. Of course, he's going to take my blood and this is my greatest fear. If you know 1984: It's like Room 101 for me. Two years ago, I had a huge panic attack and I almost passed out before the doctor was taking my blood. Every time I even think of it I feel like vomiting and I become cramped and uncomfortable.

I can bear physical pain as much as the average person.
I don't fear injections much (more than average, though).
But I get extreme fear and panic when somebody is taking blood from my veins.

I can?t identify the cause of this phobia.
It might be an experience from my childhood when my father was donating blood when I was with him once. He had those thick veins that stuck out of his skin visually, and the sole imagination of a needle going though, staying in, and coming out makes me so anxious... I cringe as I write this. I also have childhood memories of people saying that blood squirts out of these blood transport tubes when they have a leak. I know that isn?t true, but the imagination is still there.
Another cause might be a low psychological resistance. I doubt it is the pain, since I can bear physical pain as much as the average person. Still, I also have problems with swallowing pills (I never swallowed a pill in my life) or even with the pure idea of a laparoscopic surgery. I?m also highly reluctant to wear contact lenses or to allow an operation on my eyes. I don?t know if I fear other kinds of clinical surgeries as well.
A connection to the unconsciousness is also possible.
It might as well also be none of these mentioned hypotheses.

The appointment with the doctor is in a couple of days.

What do you recommend me doing to overcome my fear/phobia and its associated panic attack? What do I need to think when the doctor is about to take my blood? Nothing?
 

David Baxter

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Your particular phobia is actually fairly common, Salpeter, and can be helped with various cognitive behavior therapy techniques. However, with the visit to the doctor only two days away, you've left it a bit late for that.

A couple of things that might help immediately:

1. take someone with you when you go, so that if you are feeling faint or ill there will be someone there to assist you

2. when the doctor/nurse is actually getting ready to take the blood sample, look in the opposite direction or close your eyes - most people with this phobia have the greatest difficulty when watching the needle go in or the blood going into the vial

3. call your doctor - check to see whether it would be possible for you to take a mild tranquilizer before the tests (this may not be possible without messing up the blood tests but your doctor can tell you)
 

sister-ray

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Have you asked at your surgery to see if anyone does relaxation techniques, that could help a little with the panic. Would listening to some music on headphones, distract you a bit? just a couple of thoughts, wish I could be of more help.
 

ThatLady

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If your fear is most extreme when they draw blood from the antecubital space (at the inner elbow), ask if blood can be drawn from elsewhere. There's a vein on your inner wrist that can be used, and others in other places on your arms that can be used. Most phlebotomists are used to drawing from the anticubital space, but a good one can adjust.
 

Retired

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I am a person who has difficulty with blood tests. My uneasiness goes back to when I was five or six, and needed a booster. The pediatrician stabbed me with a needle that must have been a foot long and I remember being so frightened and tense the confounded needle bent in my arm.

Well a few years later and I still dislike pointy objects being stuck into my body.

When I need a blood test, I tell the technician I am uneasy, and ask them to warn me just before sticking me.

At that moment, I squeeze my nose as hard as I can.

The technique works for me as the nose squeeze overcomes the sensation of the needle.

Another technique that was suggested to me was to exhale through my mouth at the moment of impact...in the way one would blow for a lung volume test.

Technicians are sensitive to persons who have difficulty with blood tests and are usually willing to work with you to overcome your concerns.

Like all health professionals, communication is your best tool in achieving a satisfactory result.

As Dr.Baxter suggests, having someone accompany you will provide added support.

Please keep us posted on how it goes in your upcoming test.

Good luck!
 

Salpeter

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Thanks for all your helpful suggestions.
Is it beneficial if I prepare myself by imagining the blood test repeatedly to decrease my inhibition threshold or is that counterproductive ("more imagination, more fears")? Accept or distract from the pain?
 

David Baxter

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If you imagine the situation with a positive outcome (i.e., getting through it, feeling good that you did it in spite of being fearful, feeling proud of yourself, etc.), it could help - just make sure you don't dwell on all the parts of your imaginal scenario that you find overwhelmingly frightening.
 

braveheart

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It might be good to tell the dr/nurse in advance, I know my surgery like to know in advance if a patient has some difficulty with blood tests. (I found this out AFTER the nurse had a go at me for being a difficult patient - as the make special arrangements, like having us types at the end of surgery, so as to give more time...)

I nearly passed out when I had the blood test prior to my impacted wisdom teeth op. They couldn't find a vein, and .. yeah. Anyway, despite the lack of niceties at my last blood test (requested by the psychiatrist, so no getting out of that one...) the nurse was physically gentle and I felt not a thing.
 

yellodolphin

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ya i used to hate needles too. But being poor i did some medical studies for money and they have to take your blood, so they give you alot of needles- like 30 in one weekend.

then again i guess its healthy, i mean is it a good thing to not be sacared of a needle? i dont think so unless ur a heroin addict.

anyways just remember when your scared your probably reactin to your bodies physical reaction of fear. Be mindful and remember the needle cant hurt you really it quite harmless.

good luck with this.
 

Salpeter

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I was disastrous, but we ended up having the blood drawn at the end. The report says I have no diabetes.

Next, I have a appointment with a dentist with a very high chance of having a local anesthesia administered and a mediocre chance of a surgical treatment. I'm already worried about casual, harmless checkups, now the severity is multiplied.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm generally too anxious. This might be a cause of a childhood influenced by an overly protective mother.
 

Halo

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Salpeter,

Sorry to hear that it was a rough time but I am glad to hear that the report shows that you don't have diabetes.

As for going to the dentist and being anxious, David wrote earlier something that may be of help in this situation:

check to see whether it would be possible for you to take a mild tranquilizer before the tests.

Maybe calling the dentists office beforehand and explaining the situation and seeing if you can take something to help with the anxiety may help.

Good luck and let us know how the appt. goes.

Take care
 

Salpeter

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Hi Nancy,

That's the problem. I'm afraid of tranquilizers because of
a. their side effects
b. they're manipulating my mind; I'm losing control, which I dislike
c. the way of the administration itself makes me anxious (I don't know why, probably of my imaginative/associative mind)

I'm so sensitive, I can't even swallow a pill or put contact lenses into my eyes.

Cognitive behavioral therapy takes time and if I wait, my teeth will lose bone. I need to find solutions.

Thanks for your sympathy
 

Halo

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Salpeter, it does sound like you have a bit of a situation on your hands. I understand that CBT takes time and that you really don't feel that you have that much time but I was wondering if you contacted the dentist and found out if a numbing agent is needed whether something like a novacain rub can be put on your gums or if more extensive numbing is needed whether instead of a needle then giving you a local anesthethic to slightly put you out while the work is being done.

I don't know much about dentistry but just some thoughts that I came up with.

Again, maybe calling your dentist and explaining your fears may help and they may have some suggestions of what they have used for other patients that have been in your situation

Take care
 

David Baxter

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I'm afraid of tranquilizers because of
a. their side effects
b. they're manipulating my mind; I'm losing control, which I dislike
c. the way of the administration itself makes me anxious (I don't know why, probably of my imaginative/associative mind)

a. there are no side effects from a mild tranquilizer other than possibly a bit of drowsiness
b. they are not manipulating your mind at all - they are simply taking the edge off an overreactive fear response, which is exactly what you want - your fear is out of proportion to the obective reality of what you're facing - the tranquilizer simply brings your reaction more into realistic perspective

c. I'm not sure what you mean by "the way of administration" - it's a very small tablet that you swallow (or chew if you prefer) or dissolve under your tongue.
 

Halo

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I cannot speak for David but I think the type of mild tranquilizer that he was referring to was some sort of pill form of medication that you could obtain from your family doctor to be used in times of extreme stress such as your upcoming dentist appointment.
 

sister-ray

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I have heard some dentists use hypnotism,, not sure whether they use it instead of anesthethic or with it to help you relax, it maybe something you could look into or maybe someone on here might know.
 

David Baxter

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It may depend on local legislation but I was under the impression that dentists themselves can prescribe and/or administer certain types of medication. Perhaps double check with your dentist. If the dentist can't do it, ask your family doctor to prescribe a small amount of something like lorazepam.
 

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