fear-of-syringesTrypanophobia is the fear of needles, blood draws, or injections, and is often simply called needle phobia.

What Is Trypanophobia?

Few people enjoy getting injections or having their blood drawn, but needle phobia is far more than just a little anxiety or fear of pain. People with needle phobia are terrified of needles and may even put their own lives in danger to avoid an injection. Needle phobia can provoke a physical reaction that causes a person’s blood pressure to drop rapidly, and a few people have died from this reaction. Consequently, medical practitioners need to be particularly careful when treating people who have needle phobia.

Symptoms of needle phobia include:

  • Panic, fainting, or hyperventilating around needles
  • Fear of doctors
  • Fear of watching other people get an injection
  • Fear of blood or veins
  • Avoiding procedures that involve a needle

What Causes Trypanophobia?

Sometimes a needle phobia has no cause, and some doctors have speculated that the fear of sharp objects could have an evolutionary origin. Needle phobia tends to run in families, and children of needle phobic parents are more likely to develop the phobia themselves. Traumatic experiences with needles, such as being restrained or mistreated by a doctor, can contribute to the development of needle phobia. Some people with the phobia may have unusual pain sensitivity and fear the pain more than the needle itself.

How Is Trypanophobia Treated?

A number of techniques can be used to treat needle phobia, and sensitive medical practitioners who are willing to take their time and understand the diagnosis can make injections and blood draws less traumatic. Hypnosis and behavioral therapy can be particularly effective, and some people with needle phobia benefit from numbing creams and other techniques designed to deaden the sensations associated with an injection or blood draw.


  1. Hart, P. S., & Yanny, W. (1998). Needle phobia and malignant vasovagal syndrome. Anaesthesia, 53(10), 1002-1004. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2044.1998.00570.x

Last Updated: 01-17-2018

  • Leave a Comment
  • jen

    October 24th, 2014 at 7:10 AM

    what are some facts

  • Anonamous

    February 9th, 2018 at 6:52 AM

    I don’t know, but that’s what I’m looking for as well.

  • Lex

    January 22nd, 2018 at 9:31 AM

    I am doing a project for school. It would be very appreciated if I could ask you some questions.

  • Emme

    July 27th, 2018 at 7:49 AM

    I have this phobia and it is debilitating. The needles alone are bad enough, but I have been restrained during injections and blood draws before, and that has made the phobia so much worse. Half the time, medical staff are incredibly patient and understanding, which is so appreciated; but the other half, they’re dismissive and rude (which also makes the whole thing worse). It’s an awful thing to deal with.

  • Reg

    September 5th, 2018 at 1:14 PM

    I had a injection for my Prostate cancer and passed out ,was told that I had epilepsy. This was just the once was is so ,or a fear of needles?

  • Chris

    September 27th, 2018 at 5:37 PM

    This is too real :(

  • Hankal

    February 8th, 2019 at 6:00 PM

    If you have an extreme fear caused by trauma like I have I have found no cure. I have had this since I was 4 and felt a surgery, I’m 46 now. Spent a fortune and not even Hypnosis helped. My hypnotist suggested that my reactions might have become a defense mechanism and I may have waited too long to take any action over it. The only thing that has worked for me and my Dr. was pissed about was I popped a Xanax and drank about a half pint of Vodka to knock my slef out.

  • Lexie

    March 12th, 2019 at 4:33 PM

    I’m not promising it will work but you could try brainspotting. I have been afraid of needles for longer than I can remember, and my parents think it was due to an IV that was put in my head as a 9-month old. They didn’t even shave the area before inserting the IV, so removing the tape to remove the IV would have been extremely terrifying to anyone, let alone a baby who doesn’t understand what’s going on. Anyway, I’m pregnant with my first child and they really needed to do a blood draw. My ob-gyn told me if I didn’t think I would be able to have an IV put in during labor that she would have to dismiss me as a patient, since it would reflect badly on her if something happened to me or my baby. My husband suggested trying a local therapist who does brainspotting, and last week I had my blood drawn for the gestational diabetes test!!! My therapist was kind enough to meet me at the doctor and help me breathe through it, but the most recent blood draw before that was a little over a year ago and at that point I had to be physically restrained to the bed with those fabric cuffs, it has been a serious issue. I may not be perfect yet, but getting the blood drawn even with help was a HUGE deal for me.

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