12 tips to alleviate the discomfort of inserting a needle (insulin) into the body
Many people feel discomfort and discomfort at the thought of inserting a needle into the body during the routine finding of drawing blood from the body. Diabetics in particular may have an uncomfortable feeling when they get used to “giving insulin” (inserting a needle into the body) on a daily basis. Feeling a certain amount of discomfort is normal. There is also an irrational fear of “needle pricking or so-called needle phobia” which sometimes causes nausea, fainting, dry lips, shallow breathing, a feeling of paralyzing illness and similar inconveniences. This is a big problem for insulin addicts because the therapy means injecting insulin and checking blood sugar (several times a day). This phobia is not incurable, it only takes time to overcome these fears. Phobia is otherwise a strong uncontrolled and persistent fear of something that is not objectively dangerous. Phobia is unjustified and differs from the feeling of fear (which any person can feel if faced with an objective threat).
- Feelings of panic at the very thought of needle-phobic fears are disproportionate to the reason that causes these fears. They do not abate when they try to persuade, but over time they spontaneously weaken and disappear. Sometimes they reappear in adulthood and can become a problem. Pathology occurs when, due to fear, life habits and daily activities begin to change, which affects the quality of life of an individual. Fear will not go away on its own and attempts to avoid it lead to a vicious circle that further exacerbates the problem. People who are afraid of needles need to accept the fact that they are not the only ones with this problem. Research says that every 10 people are afraid of needles.
- Change the way you think – focus irrational thoughts about needles on reasonable and positive thoughts. For example, instead of “these needles are terrible” you mean “a needle sting can hurt but that sting makes me healthier” or “I’m afraid but I will overcome all fears”. Speak out loud because it will make it easier to change your mind. Write all the irrational thoughts in one column and then write all the positive thoughts in the next column.
- Exercise with photos-photos of needles, pens, injections can counteract fear. Find 20 photos online and print all photos on a printer and in color. Look at each photo and rate it from 1 to 10, with 0 being fearless and 10 being great fear. Inhale lightly and deeply. Spend at least 10 minutes looking at photos. Start with a photo that causes the least fear. Repeat the exercise daily until you get bored of the photos and stop causing the feeling of fear.
- Pen in hand-take a pen and sit with the pen daily for 20 minutes. Observe the pencil. Face the fear. The next step is to pretend to inject insulin. Place the pen against the puncture site. Replace every irrational thought immediately with a positive and reasonable one. Breathe lightly and deeply. The fear may be great in the beginning, but it will decrease over time and every day.
- Fighting panic – One of the best exercises in an individual’s fight against panic attacks (which can cause a person to be unconscious) is to practice this “natural tension”. Sit comfortably. Tighten the muscles in your arms, legs and upper body. Hold all muscles tense for 10 to 15 seconds, then release. After 30 seconds, repeat the process. Repeat the exercise 5 times.
- Do relaxation exercises against feelings of panic — sit comfortably in a chair. Close your eyes. Inhale lightly filling your lungs with air. Hold your breath for 3 seconds. Exhale as fully as possible, counting to 5. Repeat 2 more times. Open your eyes. With a little practice over time, each person will learn to let go of fear when fear arises.
- Injecting insulin quickly and without thinking — this method can also be helpful. This prevents the appearance of unwanted thoughts and negativity. Find a puncture site and inject insulin quickly while watching TV or through a window. Talk about fear. You often talk about needles, fear, injections, the purpose of the injection, the purpose of the injection throughout history, and even the dangers that injections can produce.
- Sensitivity to pain– Some people are afraid of needles because of their sensitivity to pain. Try using an anesthetic cream, ice cube or thumb to press on the area for 20 seconds to reduce blood supply and stab less pain. Keep the muscles relaxed during the injection.
- A new needle for each insulin-pain administration will be less if the person uses a new needle each time. A needle that is used several times may become numb and cause more pain the next time insulin is given / injected.
- New insulin bottle – it is preferable that the new insulin bottle you have just opened is warmed to room temperature. Injecting cold insulin (from the refrigerator) can cause discomfort.
- No discontinuation of insulin therapy – A person with diabetes and prescribed insulin therapy should not discontinue therapy for fear of needles. It can worsen diabetes and damage nerves, eyes, blood vessels and kidneys.
- It takes time, practice, dedication and courage to overcome your fears. Life is longingly free from stress and fears once an individual overcomes fears and phobias.