Many people have been seen to have several phobias, and while some are completely normal, the others might be a little bit unusual. There are several people who don’t like the idea of being pricked with needles and pins; however, in some, their fear is more exaggerated than others.
If you have an incapacitating fear of needles and pins, then you just might be suffering from belonephobia.
Belonephobia comes from two Greek words; “Belon,” meaning pins or needles, and phobia, meaning fear. Hence, Belonephobia is the irrational fear of needles and pins. In some cases, this fear can quite debilitating and destabilizing to the patient.
According to research, more than 10% of the total population in America and Europe who have presented with phobias have been seen to present with belonephobia. People suffering from belonephobia will most often refuse to go to any hospital when they are sick or injured to prevent being pricked with needles and syringes during treatment.
This phobia, just like many phobias, presents itself when the patient is confronted by his or her triggers, which in this case are the sight of needles and pins. People who suffer from belonephobia will avoid vaccinations and treatments at all costs.
While some experience the symptoms of this phobia occasionally, others may experience it often. For example, imagine a diabetic who has to have shots of insulin injected into him at specific hours of every day. If the person is also suffering from belonephobia, it will be very difficult for such a person to cope with his or her diabetic condition.
Belonephobia is a specific phobia hat belongs to a certain group of anxiety disorders. It is often associated with trypanophobia, which is the fear of injections. In certain cases, it is easy for a medical doctor to easily confuse the signs of belonephobia with symptoms of other related phobias such as hematophobia or aicmophobia.
It is important to note that one doesn’t necessarily have to see these needles, pins, or sharp objects to begin to experience the symptoms of this phobia. In some people, just the mere thought of needles, pins, and sharp objects is enough to trigger an anxiety attack and, in severe cases, a full-blown panic attack in the patient.
Causes of Belonephobia
According to research, this phobia has no specific cause. However, these fears can occur due to certain events that can altogether be grouped under a sort of learning system known as classic conditioning.
Classic conditioning is often known as a forced learning system, which most times occur after a traumatic event. For example, if the patient has had an unpleasant experience with needles and pins or has seen where another person(possibly a close family member) experience such unpleasant situations with pins and needles, the person will likely develop belonephobia.
However, it is also important to note that not everyone who has had unpleasant experiences with pins and needles would have such irrational fears. Most people who develop this condition do so because they already have the genes that increase their risks of developing belonephobia.
People who already have genes that are predisposed to developing anxiety attacks or mental illnesses can most likely develop belonephobia after having an unpleasant experience with needles.
Every human is made up of genes, and these genes are gotten from the parents of the child. In any situation whereby either the mother or father or any member of their family has developed mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or anxiety disorders such as levophobia and so on, the person have higher chances of developing this disorder.
It is important to note, however, that although your genes may put you at a higher risk of developing a phobia when you have a parent who has a mental or an anxiety disorder; this doesn’t necessarily mean that you would develop the same phobia as that of your parent or family member.
It means that, if, for example, your parent developed a phobia such as autophobia or thanatophobia, you may not necessarily develop this same type of phobia. You may end up developing a completely unrelated phobia such as belonephobia; however, this largely depends on your triggers.
Another possible factor that can contribute to the development of belonephobia is brain chemistry. Although some psychologists don’t agree with this factor, however, some other psychologists have speculated that an alteration in brain chemistry and balance can result in the possible disruption of a certain process in the brain.
Once these processes are disrupted, it can cause an imbalance in some centers of the brain, including emotional centers such as the center for pain, pleasure, and fear.
Symptoms of Belonephobia
Phobias are very problematic conditions which oftentimes must not be ignored. Once you have begun experiencing certain signs, it is imperative for the patient to seek help from a professional who can help him understand what is happening to him or her and possibly help the person manage his condition.
One common sign a person is suffering from belonephobia is complete avoidance of their triggers. Most people who are suffering from belonephobia try to run away from their triggers.
This often gives them a false notion that they are in charge of their situation. However, what they often don’t realize is that they are ruled by their fear, and it is limiting their life and productivity.
As it was earlier mentioned, in some cases, the patient may not need to be brought close to his/her triggers. Just the mere thought of their triggers can immediately cause the patient to have full-blown panic attacks.
Panic attacks, although they are a thing related to the brain but can cause the patient to have real physical symptoms.
Some of these symptoms are associated with panic attacks caused by belonephobia, and they include;
- Trembling and tremors
- Uncontrollable sweating
- Chills and/or hot flushes
- Intense difficulties in breathing
- Shortness of breath in extreme cases
- Tachycardia (which is characterized by rapid beatings of the heart)
- An uncontrollable urge to go to the toilet.
- The tightness of the chest
- Chest angina which is mostly characterized by severe chest pains.
- Dizziness and severe headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
- Feeling faint and dizzy
- Pins and needles sensations in both hands and feet
- A constant ringing in one’s ears
- Confusion and rapid disorientation
- An increase in blood pressure
- An increase in pulse rates
In severe cases, the patient may also experience some other symptoms which are not physical in nature, but rather psychological. Some of the psychological signs the patient may experience include:
- Fear of fainting
- Fear of ever losing control
- Fear of death or dying slowly
- Fear of sickness and harm
- Withdrawal from others and self-exclusion
- Shame, self-blame, and guilt
- Difficulties in concentrating and confusion
- Irritation, mood swings, and anger
- Fear and anxiety
Treatment of Belonephobia
Most people who have belonephobia often think that they do not need treatment. This is because they often feel that they are in control of their phobia once they avoid it. However, this is not true.
Avoidance is often not a solution to the problem. It is only a means to prolong their phobia. However, it is important for anyone who is suffering from belonephobia to seek the help of a professional that would help them understand their phobia and why they behave the way they do.
There is no known sequence of treatment or treatment plans for belonephobia. However, over time, there is a combination of treatment plans that have been tried and seen to help patients who are suffering from belonephobia.
It is important to note that these treatments have no guarantee to work individually as well as no form of treatment should be taken on your own. A professional psychiatrist or therapist must supervise all treatment plans.
The following are the treatments that are available for belonephobia. They include;
Just as the name implies, talking treatments has to do with the patient having a discussion with his/her psychiatrist concerning their phobia. These sets of therapies are often considered to be laid back treatments and physically non-intrusive.
There are several types of talk therapies; however, they all have four common goals which include:
- Helping the patient see and recognize certain harmful patterns which can be traced from the way the patient thinks, behaves, and acts as well as helping them find ways to change their thought patterns.
- Helping the patient to find and resolve complicated feelings, and if they can’t be resolved, help the patient find ways to live with them.
- Helping the patient make sense of the things that are happening to them as well as allowing them to get to know themselves better.
- Giving the patient a place they feel safe to talk to a seasoned professional who won’t judge them, make light of their condition, and someone they can trust with certain personal pieces of information.
In most cases, according to research, talk therapies are considered effective. However, not all talk therapies can help in resolving belonephobia. There are majorly two forms of therapy that are effective, and they include:
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, also is known as CBT, is a form of talking treatment that helps the patient to understand why he or she acts the way they do. This form of therapy usually stands on the concept that our behaviors are constantly influenced by what we see, think, and perceive.
The major purpose of Cognitive Behavioural therapy is to help patients dealing with belonephobia to identify their fears and compare them to reality. This way, the patient Dan accurately see the distortion and also get ways that can help them change their perceptions.
For example, for a person who suffers from belonephobia, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy can help him or her identifies if the fear of pins and needles is an accurate interpretation of reality and if it isn’t, help them identify ways to change their distorted perception.
Often Exposure therapy comes after the patient has been able to understand their fears. Just as the name implies, exposure therapy deals with the gradual exposure of the patient to his or her fears, which in this case is belonephobia (fear of pins and needles).
If you are undergoing exposure therapy, your doctor will gradually introduce you to your fears and watch for your body reactions and language. At a gradual pace, the patient is brought to a comfortable place with his or her fears.
It should be noted that for exposure therapy to be carried out, it must be done in a controlled environment and must be carried out by a therapist or psychologist.
The use of medications
It is important to note that medications will not treat or cure your belonephobia; however, all that the drugs will help do is to relieve the symptoms that come along with your belonephobia. It should also be noted that these drugs must not be used without the supervision of a doctor.
Although therapies are a definitive solution for phobias, however, medications can help provide temporary relief. Some of the medications which can be prescribed by your therapist include:
To avoid any phobias or to overcome the difficulties that can arise when any phobia such as belonephobia arises is to ensure that one takes care of oneself. It is important that you should know how to help yourself as well as control your phobia, especially if you know that you are at risk of developing belonephobia.