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On phobias

A phobia is a deep, irrational fear that can take over someone’s life. Common phobias include heights, spiders, snakes, small spaces… and my personal phobia, needles.

Thanks to this fear, I’ve never had a flu shot, I avoid blood tests like the plague, and I’ve even shied away from traveling to countries that require certain immunizations, which, for a travelaholic like myself, is a really big deal. It’s no use trying to argue me out of it, either; I know full well that there’s no logical basis to the fear, but then, with a phobia, that’s not the point.

Lindsay pointed me to this article talking about a study she worked on that suggests that the simple act of distracting kids can alleviate their fears. But I’m skeptical. A kid – or even an adult – who is truly phobic of needles is likely to just remember the attempt at distraction and be even more distrustful the next time around.

Instead of researching distraction techniques, I’d suggest to the medical and scientific community that they find a way to administer vaccines or take blood that doesn’t involve any kind of needles. Yeah, I know, not too likely… but it would be nice.

(By the way, in case you’re wondering, I’m perfectly fine with heights, and skydiving is awesome.)

Update: Lindsay informs me that, actually, the studies she reviewed excluded kids with actual phobias. That makes much more sense. A run-of-the-mill fear is probably easily alleviated by distraction, but a deep phobia wouldn’t fit that pattern.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • RN2B 10.26.06, 3:25 AM

    hehe, poor you, surrounded by us, friends in the medical profession! If it helps any, when I get my RN you can come to me and I guaranti it won’t hurt! (so far all my patients say they didn’t feel a thing… though I start paediatrics Friday!)

  • amevoy 10.27.06, 5:52 AM

    And acksherrrly Sari:

    They have been working on this sort of stuff for years. And they are getting there with some, slowly but surely. Oral vaccines, non-invasive blood glucose monitoring (when it’s a matter of several times a day, I doubt it gets to be less stressful), high pressure syringe “pumps” without needles. Not necessarily for the needle-phobic in particular, but a good side benefit. It’ll be a happy day when we can travel without the very sore arms that come first. For example, check this out.


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