Needle-phobia - Please Help!

Hey everyone,

I'm 18 years old and I'll be leaving for college for the first time in 7 weeks. I am an independent person- I am very organized, manage my time well, know how to take care of myself, act responsibly, etc. The only thing I can't do is press the buttons on my Quickserter to insert my infusion set.

I've been on the pump for more than 3 years. That's over 370 insertions. And for probably 365 of them, my mom has done them. I can do everything else, and she pushes the buttons for me. I've done it a few times, but when I try to do so, I panic. I don't feel faint/lightheaded/nauseous, but I get very stressed out. My heart starts beating very fast, and I start sweating a lot. When I get my hand all ready to push the buttons, I freeze and I just can't do it.

I know I'm thinking about it too much, and I just have to do it. I am really struggling though. I've tried the whole pep talk idea, but that doesn't work. I don't really even know why I am so afraid, I just hate the idea of a needle going into me.

Now, I'm all ready to go to college. But my mom can't come with me and push the buttons for me. I'll be 7 hours away from home. The Health Services people are there on weekdays, but most likely not weekends, or if so then a few hours on Saturday. I don't want to have to truck all my stuff over there and change my set there. Furthermore, what if I get a bad site during the night?

I need to get over this fear. It's very frustrating. And I've only got 7 weeks. I want to be independent!!! So badly!

Please, please, please, do any of you have any suggestions? What can I do? Should I try and get some mental help, like from a psychologist or hypnotist? Or is there another way out?

Thank you in advance for any advice.

Do you check your blood sugar yourself?  Could you try to fake yourself out by thinking about that when you push the button?  What about trying it in the dark???  I don't know.....wish I had some other suggestions......maybe a hypnotist could help?  You really have to do this for yourself......Maybe try inserting it manually???  I wish you the best in trying to free yourself from this stress....... 

Yes I do. That doesn't bother me at all. Maybe I'll try it in the dark. One problem is that the serter has two buttons, which makes it twice as hard to just push them because you have to do it at the same time. If it only had one button, it wouldn't be so hard because it's only one finger, one reflex.

Thanks for the suggestions :) I may try a hypnotist, I've heard that people have been cured of needlephobia by going that route. I feel like I need to train myself to calm down and feel indifferent about inserting a site, so maybe that would help.

Maybe you could try looking into a new inserter........When I was on a pump, mine only had one button!  I don't know what kind of infusion sets you are using, but my inserter is laying around in container somewhere.....

The only ones I've found that are compatible with my Minimed Paradigm 722 have 2-button inserters. If it isn't too much trouble, could you tell me what kind of sets you were on?

Phobias are highly treatable. You should see a therapist to help you with this. Anxiety can also be treated effectively with medications. Antidepressants

can turn phobias off like a light switch. Especially one like yours. Hypnosis is merely highly effective relaxation techniques and a therapist should be able to 

help you with that too. The cure for phobias is desensitization. That means you need to be exposed to your fear gradually while practicing relaxation until it doesn't bother you anymore. It works and isn't so hard. It can be accomplished pretty quickly. 


I'm guessing you use the Quicksets, like I do.  Are you afraid of the needle hurting when it goes in?  You could try switching sites since some areas have fewer nerves so it would hurt less, if that's what you dislike.  If it's more of the idea of pushing the buttons, I liked the idea of inserting it in the dark or convincing yourself you are sticking your finger.  Any way to distract yourself from what you're doing would help. 

Good luck and enjoy your summer!

We use the Inset Infusion sets from Animas. There is no button, you squeeze the sides to insert it and the tube is already attached. I looked it up and it IS compatible with your pump, but it says you have to have a certain reservoir. (?) So here's the link:

I was afraid of needles until I had an allergy test done when I was 14. I got 15 shots in each arm and needles never bothered me again.



Have you considered changing the infusion set that you are using? I know with the MiniMed Paradigm 722 you can use a Silhouette infusion and it is a one button inserter(Sil-serter-MMT-385 i don't know if it's the same order # in the US i got the info from the canadian website). I don't know if you have ever used a GSM with your pump but the inserter looks the same, I have used it when i wore the silhouette infusion sets and it made it very easy.  I also know from experience in the past yrs that Minimed would send me a set or 2 to try to see if i like them and i just had to purchase the inserter. I just call the customer service line and told them what was happening and they were able to help.

The only other advice that I could give to you about the feeling that you experience during insertion, my dr suggested that I start doing yoga to help with teaching me to focus on my breathing and to empty my mind and body of the feelings that I have at the time. I found online a video that helps it's called YogaZone Total Body Conditioning.

Hopefully these things might help you and you can still be as independent as you want to. All the luck and let us know if you find something that works for you.

"If it's true that we are what we eat, then I am fast, easy and cheap" -- Barbara Johnson 

Amanda.....I used the Medtronic Paradigm Quick Set Infusion Set.....and I have a Quick-Serter  by Minimed........Not sure if what you are using is compatible with this inserter or not???  I have the inserter just sitting in my medicine cabinet.....I could send it off to you, if you would like to have it....or wouldn't mind using it??? 

Hi Amanda

What college are you going to? I was the exact same way- and still have a bad phobia to this day (after over 6 years). I dont know if you have ever done yoga- but what helps me is shutting my eyes focusing on my breathing and relaxing all of my muscles, especially in my shoulders, and after a little while of focusing on my breathing i am able to press the buttons ( i have the quickserter as well)- it can take a while especially at the beginning- but if you dont rush yourself it really does help.


Also i dont know if you would ever want to switch pumps- but i know that the inserter for the omnipod is hands free. all that you do is press a button on what looks like a PDA and it does it all itself.

let me know if i can help!


here's another


the only way to get over that is repetition.  wish there was better news.

I was in the same boat untill I was about 16, then I got a few piercings and lost the fear, and by the time I was diagnosed I had lost my phobia. Not saying it's for you just giving you my example. All in all, I strongly advise you to face your fear on your own. It's such a great confidence boost.

Maybe as you work through this try practicing without actually inserting an infusion. Just putting the inserter on your skin and practice pressing the buttons. If that causes anxiety, you could keep doing that for a while, maybe combined with some of the yoga/relaxation ideas others mentioned. Maybe it will help???

I wish you the best of luck though! I went to school 5 1/2 hours from home, so being able to do everything on your own was definitely a priority.


Thank you all for your advice. I'm really going to try the next few weeks to make this happen. You've given me a lot of great ideas (as you always do-- that's why I love this place!). Also, I'll be setting up some appointments with a counselor very soon, to try and settle my anxiety so I can stay calm during the whole set-change process. I'd like to just get over this while using the same set I've been using (the Quickset) instead of changing sets or even pumps-- I feel like I need to get over this instead of avoid it. 

It's going to be tough but I'm determined.

Thanks again!

Oh and also, it's nice to know that there are others out there who find needles difficult to take :) I'm not alone!

here a thought but when i first got on the pump i was kinda of scared and my doctor got me some stuff to numb the skin so i didnt feel anything when the needle went in now im a pro so i dont use it 

That's true, I might try Emla cream or something.

Got an appt with a counselor tomorrow who is supposed to be able to help people with many issues, fear and anxiety being one. We'll see how that goes- hopefully she will be able to help me get over this. I need to learn how to relax.