What is it about needles…?  

For some people, sharp objects like needles and skin pricks can be a source for anxiety. Thinking about injecting insulin, we often remember the injections for immunization, which is done with a longer, bigger needle and given into muscle.

It is important to know the needles used to inject insulin are much smaller and finer. Speak to your health care professional who will be able to help. However, here are also some tips and tricks you can try to help you work through it:

Understand what causes your needle anxiety 

There are many reasons why you might feel anxious when faced with needles. Try to understand why you feel the way you feel about needles. Amongst other things, this might include:

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Not wanting to inject in public or in front of your friends

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The association of needles with failure or your disease severity

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The fear of pain or harm

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A fear of needles specifically

Cap being removed from needle

Determined to get to the bottom of it? Try these self-help tips and tricks 

Type 1 patient (Nicoline) reflection in the mirror
Type 1 patient (Nicoline) and two other girls sitting on bed

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Relax – Make time in your day to practice some form of relaxation technique, whether this is deep breathing or guided meditations (in the form of CDs, books or mobile apps). Once you get the hang of these techniques you can incorporate it into your injection routine

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Take control – Write down your anxieties about injecting and rate them on a scale from 1-10. Choose the least worrying aspect and practice, practice, practice until it feels normal. Then move up to the next one…

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Distract yourself – Try listening to music or talking to a loved one while doing your injection to take the edge off

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Take advice from others – Speak to other patients who have to self-inject and find out how they first coped when starting out. Search for local diabetes forums online or get in touch with your local diabetes patient group for more tips and advice

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Keep trying – Not all techniques will work for everyone. To find the one that works for you, keep trying different ways to deal with your needle anxiety or go back to your doctor or nurse

Remember, it takes time to feel comfortable with giving an injection, do not rush yourself.


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HQMMA/DV/0117/0007. February 2017.