Fear of Needles

Hi Everyone-

Sorry, this is going to sound a little strange for a type one diabetic: I am absolutely terrified of needles.  I have had diabetes since I was four; I have been on the pump since I was five & I'm still scared silly of needles.  I was wondering if anyone else had a similiar fear, and if so, how they've dealt with it. 

I am planning on going on ASP, or Appalachian Service Project, this summer, & I need to be in control of my diabetes.  For some reason unknown to me, I'm still scared of my (frequent) pump changes.  I want to overcome this fear; I want to go on trips like the one with my church group, & I also want to go to college in a few years.

In order to achieve this independence, I need to get past my fear- does anyone have any advice????


Kate :)


I don't have a fear of needles, so unfortunately I don't have any first-hand experience that I can tell you about.  However, I've heard and read that hynotherapy has helped a lot of people overcome fears.  Have you considered this?  I once made a website for a hypnotherapist, and he hynotized me because I was curious about it.  It was very relaxing and not scary or weird at all.  It really just felt like I was in that stage between being asleep and awake.


sometimes, we have to think about what causes our fear. do you know why you are afraid of needles? are you afraid of pain, or bleeding, or missing and stabbing your own hand (this was my big fear)? when we are able to get to the root cause of the fear, we are better able to help ourselves overcome this fear.

if pain is what makes you afraid, there are many forms of numbing cream you can use to prevent you from feeling the poke, or make a chart of places you have tried injecting that hurt. if you fear blood, you can make little notes about what places bruise and bleed more often. or you could look up an anatomy photo of where all the blood vessels run and try to pick places that look like they have less veins.

of course, there are many, many other things you can do to help alleviate your fear. molly's suggestion is great! hypnotherapy has helped multitudes of people for lots of various reasons. as i mentioned above, try to evaluate your own fear and get to the root cause of it. this will make it easier for you to help (slowly) get rid of your fear.

good luck to you! let us know what else we can do to help you :o)

i have always been afraid of needles. I always told my friend who is a nurse that i could never be a nurse because i could never give anyone a needle. (you can imagine my reaction last year when this same friend checked ezekiel's urine and told me he must have diabetes). my husband is also type 1 and i couldn't even watch him give himself a shot. At first after ezekiel's diagnosis, i couldn't do it, but since my husband works 3 jobs, i really didn't have a choice. I did find it wasn't so bad and for us the pens really helped, but when it comes to any needles for myself i still have the fear. I can't look when i get blood taken and i always sort of scream (not loud or anything, but still). I amazed at how well ezekiel has done with all of this.

i have been researching pumps and I understand that the omnipod has an automatic insertion thing where you put the pod on then push the button for the needle to insert. perhaps something like that would help.

When i was first Dx'ed when i was 10 i was terrified of needles. when i knew i was going to be on needles until there is a cure i simply said i need to get used to it. i finally over came it.i kept telling myself nothing bad is going to happen it might hurt a little but will it kill me? nope! unless someone switched my insulin with like ammonia. lol

Thanks- I've never considered hypnotherapy- I'll try reading about it.  Do you know what is it usually used for?  Would a fear of needles be unusual to a hypnotherapist?

I am exactly the same as you, Kate!!

I have been diabetic for 4 years and on a pump for almost 3, and I still make my mom push the buttons on my Quickserter. When push comes to shove, like if I'm at school and I notice my site's bloody or something, then I can change it, but not without a lot of sweating and anxiety. I'm going away to college in August and I guess I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and stop procrastinating. I'm sorry I don't really have any solutions for you, other than to try using sets with automated insertion instead of manual (if you're not already). But just know you're not the only one out there! Just remember that it isn't so bad compared to other things other people with worse diseases have to go through (I always think about my grandma's chemo), and like the nike ad-- just do it :)

I was terrified of needles too, when I was first diagnosed.

Here are two things that helped me:

1) A nurse friend of mine suggest that I count out loud or in my head while putting in an infusion set. I have no idea why this helps, but it does. I still do it when I get a little nervous sometimes.

2) I spent YEARS pushing the needle in VERY SLOWLY. My doc advised that I try it more quickly and smoothly. It makes things much easier.

I understand your pain. For many years, it took me 20-30 mins to change an infusion set, now I have it down to about 5. It makes life easier..

Best of luck! Checking into the OmniPod might not be a bad idea for you...

AWW im sorry you have to over come that. It really isnt that bad its just not that scary after a while. you can also have some one else do it until you get over it! trust me ull feel better in  a little bit i had to over come my fear when i was 3 and now im tottaly fine with all the needles and im 12. so Hang in there! it will be fine! =)


I don't think it would be unusual to a hypnotherapist.  After all, the fear of needles is pretty common; what's uncommon is having to deal with them every day.  Here's some info from the website for the National Board of Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists regarding what hypnotherapy can be used for: "Mental health applications include but are not limited to: Addictions; allergies; anxiety; phobia; stress management; post traumatic stress; bed-wetting; depression; sports performance; smoking cessation; obesity and weight management; sleep disorders; stress related high blood pressure; self image; sexual dysfunctions; concentration, test anxiety and learning disorders; interpersonal communications; fitness; marriage and family issues; undesirable behaviors and habits; abuse." http://www.natboard.com/index_files/Page476.htm

I also found this article that talks about hypnotherapy for the fear of needles specifically. http://www.articlesbase.com/fitness-articles/hypnotherapy-for-fear-of-needles-and-needle-phobia-727823.html  It seems like the goal is to find the source of the fear and try to resolve it.  Hope this helps!


hi SmilingKate,I wish I had the answer but don't.Keep looking for the answer and I bet soon you will get past that fear :)

I don't expect my experience to help you at all, but I was afraid of needles until I was forced to have an allergy test done. I was stuck by 30 needles back-to-back (15 in each arm) and they never bothered me again after that. I think that the anticipation of the needle poking my skin was my fear and facing it head-on is what "cured" me.

When I was diagnosed at age 12, I would get hysterical when I had to give myself a shot. I can still remember that -- sitting there, sweating in fear, feeling panicky. Thinking, "I can't do this". For me, time was the solution. In time, that fear went away.

I like Molly's suggestion of hypnotherapy. I know it is used for many things such as helping people stop smoking, stop feeling fear over phobias, etc. We KNOW that this is not a physical problem, but a mental self-protection thing. The brain says: this is going to hurt, and I can't hurt my own body. Hypnotherapy can't possibly hurt and may help alleviate your stress reaction.

I completely understand this. I was terrified of needles (and blood) to the point of tears from when I was diagnosed at age 12 until just after my 18th birthday. I knew it was ridiculous when I was afraid of them, so when the blood drive came to my high school, I signed up. I almost had a panic attack right before, but my best friend came with me. Voluntarily getting a needle and giving the blood helped me overcome my fear because I did it because I could, not because I had to. I know you are too young to give blood, but try to find a way to voluntarily give/get a shot.


Good luck!!

Hi Kate,

You aren't alone in your fear of needles...I hate them, yet I still donate platelets @ Red Cross every 2 weeks and manage to change my site when needed etc. The only way to overcome that fear is to just do it. I looked at it as if I had 2 options: 1) Survive and suck it up or 2) Don't.

I'm still here so you can see that I chose #1. The only way to conquer your fear of something is to do it and eventually realize there is nothing to fear.

I know you've been pumping for a long time and have dealt with it, but you just have to keep dealing with it...how have your numbers been (glucose, A1C, etc.)?

hi kate i am also a type one diabetic and i am also afraid of needles. i am not afraid of insulin injections but when it comes to blood drawings i get very afraid. today i got my blood drawn and it was my second time getting it done all alone. i am also trying to overcome it because i want to be a nurse. today i did not cry during my blood draw but i was a little nervous i relaxed and it was over not bad...  so i waited bc i tend to get extremly lathargic  and so i waited to get up from my seat so i wait 2 minutes or 3 and i go to the bathroom for my and all of a sudden i get cold pale white and can hardly see my head starts to hurt and i fall into a chair. its almost not mental for me but im trying to overcome it because i plan to be a nurse. the best advice i can give you is just breathe relax and remember it dosnt realy hurt and it for your best intrist. i can give my insulin with out looking mabey get it ready and try looking up or to the side and think of somthing else try and distract yourself as your doing it and while uve thought of somthing else it will be over with.  let me know if this helps because sometimes just staring at it anticipating it can make it worse just close ur eyes think of somthing else and bite the bullet.

if anyone has any sugestions for me please feel free to comment i want to be a nurse but worry i wont be able to draw blood or stick someone in the arm and that can be a major hold back if thats what im planning on doing for a career.

best of luck


Can I ask what type of pump you are on?

For me, I was diagnosed at age 19, I cried so hard when I found out, not because I would live with this forever, but because of the needle thing. Every time I got my blood drawn before my diagnosis I would look away and get really tense. I got my pump in July of last year and could never image going back to shots or getting a different pump. The insets I use are the Animas 30 degree insets that you just push the button and it inserts the inset. I could never image pushing an inset into my skin by hand, these insets were the only reason I decided to go with the Animas pump.

And for stuff such as getting your blood drawn, tensing yourself up makes your blood flow slower. Relaxing and breathing really does make it easier.

I always found positive self talk always helps.....sounds silly but even now....46 years of D later, I still always say before a needle or infusion set..."This isn't going to hurt".....sounds silly , but  it has always worked for me.



Last year [when i got diabetes] i was also scared of needles. I just sucked it up and took it. I plan on getting a pump and i need some advice on pumps.




Thanks Lauren- that does help.  I can definitely relate- I was hyperventillating when they tested my blood (2 weeks ago?).  I also want to work with medicine- I dream of becoming a doctor someday, which, again, is a strange goal for someone afraid of needles.  I'll just have to face the fact that I'm going to have to deal with this disease someday- it might as well be now, right?

Courtney- I have a Mini Med pump- I love it except for the needles that come with it.  It does have an automatic inserter- all I have to do is put in the tubing & press two buttons on the sides- what messes me up is probably primarily the anticipation and getting used to the fact that there's a needle inside me afterwards.

Thanks for the advice everyone- it really helps!