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7yo needle phobia - advice needed


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#1 AJPM

Posted 20 May 2019 - 05:15 PM

My 7yo is needle phobic. I don’t know why. He was upset having his 4yo needles and it’s just got worse and worse. I took him for his flu shot today and after 1.5 hours of intense “fight or flight” we came home without getting it done.
He has since said: why couldn’t I just do it! I’m so hopeless, I’m so pathetic, now I’m going to die and I deserve it (???). He feels like such a failure but said there is just no way he could do it.
I’m wondering where I go from here? Are there any behavioral therapies that are successful for kids with phobias? The feeling like a failure thing is probably a separate issue, and I can help him work through that, but I just don’t know how to deal with the phobia. Any suggestions? Psychologists opinions would be particularly welcome 😊

#2 .Jerry.

Posted 20 May 2019 - 05:20 PM

DD had a needle phobia at about the same age.
She would obsessively talk about it, even though she didn't need a needle.  She would also be frightened going to doctor, in case a needled was required.

We enrolled in a needle phobia program at the local University (Griffith Uni in Qld).  They do a de-sensitisation program over six weeks.  Starts with looking at pictures of needles and talking about them and culminates in the student having needles. :)   All run by the psychology department of the uni.

Unfortunately for DD, the fact she had a generalised anxiety disorder diagnosis made her ineligible for the program.
A friend's daughter did the program though and all went very well. :)  

Perhaps check out your local uni psych department.

(side note, DD is now not needle phobic aged 13.  She got over it all on her own, even fine with cannula insertion and all!)

#3 AJPM

Posted 20 May 2019 - 05:26 PM

Oh Jerry! Thanks for giving me some hope. I was so sad for my little man today. I don't think I have ever in my life seen someone so genuinely panicked.
I will talk to the uni and see if they have a program and if not suggest it as a great study to start 😜

Edited by AJPM, 20 May 2019 - 05:27 PM.


#4 MooGuru

Posted 20 May 2019 - 05:36 PM

How needle phobic is he?
Is it at the sight (even a picture) of a needle or on preparing his arm etc?

A child I observed at the hospital was fine with the sight of the needle but the alcoholic wipe before the needle made her completely hysterical - screaming, shouting fighting to the point of kicking nurses and the kidney tray away from her.

They were working on trying different orders i.e. wipe without anything after just playing. Using a disinfective that the parent rubbed over whole arm whilst the other parent moisturized the other arm. I don't know whether it worked or not but it was fascinating to see the needle phobia was closer to an alcoholic wipe phobia in some ways.

#5 *Marty*

Posted 20 May 2019 - 06:16 PM

emla is fantastic - no feeling at all.  Wont help with the phobia but will help getting the needles (or blood tests).

Its not cheap but it is a life saver.

Edited by *Marty*, 20 May 2019 - 06:17 PM.


#6 AJPM

Posted 20 May 2019 - 06:49 PM

MooGuru, he can look at a picture of a needle, but not a picture of a hand holding a needle. It’s too real. So I think it’s specifically a needle phobia. We don’t get to the point of preparing the arm 🤦‍♀️

Marty, I bought the emla and he wouldn’t even try it. He lost the plot just thinking about it. $ down the drain.

#7 José

Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:04 PM

I’d see a psychologist rather than try to manage this on your own.

#8 bertbub

Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:15 PM

If you are in a capital city you could visit one of the specialist immunisation clinics at a children's hospital. They are very experienced at assisting children who are challenging to vaccinate and have a variety of age appropriate aids.  My daughter is needle phobic (ironic as I work in immunisation) and we have had success having her immunised by our clinic nurses, using a Buzzy Bee (https://www.buzzy4shots.com.au/) and distraction toys (eg. https://www.playopol...nd-it-original/). Her big test is next year when she needs to have her vaccines at high school!

#9 Grassyrat

Posted 20 May 2019 - 08:45 PM

This was me as a child!

From about 7 until 16. My GP was pretty tough and told me he was sick of chasing me around the room and sent me home with a needle to "get over it". Over a couple of days I just put it through the skin on my hand and realised it wasn't anything to be worried about.....don't think this would be the desensitisation program that would be recommended today though.

Your son won't be like it forever, I now give about 20 IV injections a day, and friends also get me to administer their whooping cough, travel vaccines etc!

#10 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 21 May 2019 - 01:01 PM

View Post*Marty*, on 20 May 2019 - 06:16 PM, said:

emla is fantastic - no feeling at all.  Wont help with the phobia but will help getting the needles (or blood tests).

Its not cheap but it is a life saver.

I have used Emla on myself and have to say for me it does NOT work (even with eyes closed).

I stopped trying to use it on the kids after my terrible experiences.

#11 Veritas Vinum Arte

Posted 21 May 2019 - 01:08 PM

I should add my kids know how much I hate needles (from hospitalisation as a child and given unnecessary needles). I now have to suck it up every 12wks for 31 injections (which I still hate).

DS(11yrs) was fine until we got into the room then he freaked out (once again hates all things medical stemming from 2 operations grommets and adenoids as preschooler). I told him to watch me as I had mine and to try and match the tune I was tapping with my feet and singing. We thought we would have to physically restrain him in the chair, he was getting so distressed, but repeating the tap your feet challenge worked. Ironically he actually had a look of “was that it?” Once it was done.

I have always worked on a no nonsense, bribing and try and distract techniques. After DSs actions for Flu shot this year we will be doing Grade 7 vaccinations at Dr rather than in front of classmates.... don’t want him to wigg out that badly at school.

Goodluck

#12 AJPM

Posted 21 May 2019 - 07:15 PM

Thank you all so much for your help and stories.
One of the doctors mentioned that his response was definitely more than a normal needle fear and so I am going to take him to a psychologist, as a number of you have also suggested. It also looks like he is going to need a blood test in the coming months for possible Coeliac disease, so I really need to help him ASAP.
Thank you again for all your advice.

#13 MooGuru

Posted 06 June 2019 - 04:58 PM

One of my Facebook friends just shared this

https://sydney.edu.a...-phobias-.html?

Edited as link not working

Edited by MooGuru, 06 June 2019 - 05:00 PM.


#14 LittleMissPink

Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:14 PM

My 15 yr old is needle phobic. Has been since a toddler. No idea why.

We dont talk about them before the day. When we arrive at the GP she always asks if she is having one, some days when we are just driving past!

She is fine to go into the nurses room, but then has to be bear hugged. I sit in the chair with my arms around her, pinning them down. 1 nurse holds her arm still the other does the needle from behind. She cannot see the needle before or after the event. She cries, I cry, she needs a lolly and an icepack, and then we go home.

Its just the way it is. It helps we have sympathetic nurses who are happy to do what works for us.

#15 Squeekums The Elf

Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:22 PM

View PostGrassyrat, on 20 May 2019 - 08:45 PM, said:

.

Your son won't be like it forever, I now give about 20 IV injections a day, and friends also get me to administer their whooping cough, travel vaccines etc!

Not always true

My needle phobia started about the same age as the OP DS. It all depends how it's handled now if one will get over the phobia or if it gets worse.
My parents thought punishment and having many people hold me down was the answer. It wasn't i broke a DR nose one time, I was 10.
I'm now 31 and have never had a blood test, no vax after 10 yr old. Even when pregnant I had none as it was deemed unsafe due to my phobia, my reaction risked prem labor. I need sedation yet it's impossible to get done, I'm deemed a hassle. DP takes DD to get vaxxed as I can't be in the room.

OP, get him help, this is bigger than you can manage, i mean this in the nicest way.
Cream won't do anything, the typical b.s. tips of look away, listen to music won't do anything.
He knows it's coming, his body is ready to run and it will. He knows the setting, the sights and smells. They would be triggers. The smell of a DR office makes me anxious, sweaty palms, feel sick.
Please don't let him think without needles he will die or is a bad person, he is too young to worry about that and have it add to his fear.  
I wouldn't even bother about trying to get another done until you've sought help for him.  Each time just compounds the fear, especially if there a lot of fear, trying to flee, screaming, crying. I still remember like it was yesterday

I hope you can find someone who can help.

#16 AJPM

Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:33 PM

MooGuru - I love it! Thanks for thinking of me and posting 😊
NS - we had our first appointment with a psychologist this week. Hopefully it works. It is well beyond a fear, as the doctor pointed out, and I don’t want it get worse. Thanks for sharing your experience.

#17 Squeekums The Elf

Posted 06 June 2019 - 05:54 PM

View PostAJPM, on 06 June 2019 - 05:33 PM, said:

MooGuru - I love it! Thanks for thinking of me and posting
NS - we had our first appointment with a psychologist this week. Hopefully it works. It is well beyond a fear, as the doctor pointed out, and I don’t want it get worse. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Awesome, I hope it works.
Year it's no fear. It was hard to describe as a kid and when I would say it feels like I'm being killed people laughed.

I mean, it may or may not be the same for your ds, I dunno  but even being in the room feels like I'm trapped, about to be killed, I'm unsafe, I can't trust anyone there.
The walls close in like you see in the movies, you feel like you shrink down and its people standing over you.

Your ds probably wont thank you right now lol, but from a now adult who was that kid.
Thank you for believing him, getting help and not just punishing him like my parents did

#18 AJPM

Posted 06 June 2019 - 06:28 PM

NS, that description of being trapped rings true. It was incredible to watch his fight or flight response kick in. It was really primal. He was absolutely terrified. It was awful to watch and so intense. The poor little dude 😔

#19 Squeekums The Elf

Posted 09 June 2019 - 01:09 PM

Poor kid, I know exactly where he at. It's scary
My own dp didn't believe how strong it was until they tried to take blood from me during pregnancy.  I was deemed unsafe and a risk of early labor cos it was that intense.
I ran for the door, after i woke from hypnotism he says like the exorcist. They didnt even touch me but were only a cm or 2 away when i flipped. When I came to I was cowering by the door cos I couldn't work out how to open it in the hysteria.

#20 Mmmcheese

Posted 09 June 2019 - 01:50 PM

View Post*Marty*, on 20 May 2019 - 06:16 PM, said:

emla is fantastic - no feeling at all.  Wont help with the phobia but will help getting the needles (or blood tests).

Its not cheap but it is a life saver.

We tried those patches recently... Pulling the patch off hurt more than the needle would have! It's much stickier than a band-aid, so if your child doesn't like pulling off bandaids, then they probably won't like the patch.




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