Needle Phobia


Well-Known Member
OK, well the last time difficult child had a blood draw (his first) it was a fiasco. This time I thought it would be okay because he knew what it was about and that it really only hurt for a second......till we got there. He finally could verbalize that it's the NEEDLE that creeps him out, not the pain or the blood. All I could do to get him through it was to have him look at me instead and hold his hand. I feel so sorry for him that he's soooooo afraid. Are there any tricks to help him through it? Bless his's just ONE more thing for him to deal with.


Here we go again!
We deal with the same fear here. difficult child 1 would have huge meltdowns and panic attacks any time he saw a needle... had to chase him in the parking lot of the lab one time and drag him kicking and screaming. Should have seen the looks on people's faces!

difficult child 1 was rx'd Ativan for the procedures, which helped, but the dose I had to give him to get his cooperation made him really loopy and he would still get very upset.

Since starting Lexapro, I've reduced the Ativan by half and he gets through blood draws wonderfully now -- no tears, no dizziness or feeling faint, no nausea, no cold sweats. We also took him to a psychologist who taught him some helpful guided imagery and breathing exercises, which he can use now on his own for these situations.

Hope you find something that works for your guy. Talk to the psychiatrist and see what he can do for you.


Active Member
our patients who are terrified of the needle use head phones and their fav music. perhaps your son would be able to look at a hand held game.


Well-Known Member
You have it good, in my humble opinion. My difficult child had such extreme meltdowns we had to leave many times without having the shot - oh she also did this with a throat culture. Had to just hope she did not have strep! Imagine that!

I am sooo glad difficult child has never had to be on a medication that required blood draws!


Here we go again!
Antsmom makes a good suggestion about the headphones and video games -- difficult child 1 will bring his Gameboy with him too, and sometimes he'll use my ipod and close his eyes then let the tech know when he's okay to proceed with the poke. I know another boy who wears a beanie over his eyes and cranks up the music -- calls it his "hat trick" :smile:

Whatever creative distractions you can use!


Active Member
Since our last headache getting difficult child 3's blood drawn, we've been told to ask for emla cream next time. To INSIST, in fact. It's a local anaesthetic cream which they can put on the site so he doesn't feel the needle. Then all you need to do is distract him so he doesn't look at it, either.

We just got back from difficult child 3 having to have a tetanus shot - nearly four hours in emergency, dealing with a scalp wound too. He did very well, but he didn't have to actually watch any of it.



New Member
My 18 yr old easy child has a needle phobia. Good idea about the music. We have to go today to get blood work done. I know he will have that thing blasting while we are there. I was going to send him by himself, but he wants me to go for moral support. Ahh.... he still needs me :smile:


Active Member
Try borrowing a needle from the Dr. and buy an orange. Let him practice putting the needle into the orange so that he can "desensitize" himself to the sight of the needle. New diabetics used this method for years (oranges have that skin that would simulate skin the best).

Just a thought!


Well-Known Member
My difficult child reacts very badly to the thought of needles too. The last time he had to have a shot, SO had to sit on him and restrain his arms, while I held his feet so he wouldn't kick the nurse.

There is a medical condition called vasovagal reflex reaction, which is often the reason for needle phobia. Here are a couple of links to information pages.

Some of the autism websites also have information about needle phobia and some good coping strategies.

Hope this helps,


Spork Queen
I have HUGE needle phobia. I was so embaressed last spring when I had pneumonia and had to have several shots in the arse...and I cried. I'm 46 and crying about a couple needle stings.

I just went yesterday and found out that the walking-pneumonia has returned, hence more shots. I'm proud to say that I didn't cry this time. :bravo:



Here we go again!
Oh yeah, EMLA cream is GREAT! Forgot to mention that we have an rx for that, too :smile: One tube has lasted us about 18mos (difficult child 2 has had many, many blood draws and IVs because of his Crohn's).

That's intereting what Trinityroyal posted about the vasovagal reflex... I'm going to look at that closer.



New Member
How did you make out with the blood draw?

Some things I've learned that help over time ~

Drink at least 8 ounces of water 30 minutes prior to the blood draw. This makes the veins "juicy".

Ever see those little warming bags you get in the camping dept at Wal Mart? You throw them in your sleeping bags to keep your feet warm? Grab a couple of those, warm them, throw them on difficult child's arm(s) before the draw. Brings out the veins.

If you're getting the draw done at a hospital (like an outpatient lab), go during the week. The weekend staff are usually not "regulars" and the girls that work during the week are usually much more experienced (been our experience).

I always take Dylan first thing in the A.M. We do the outpatient lab at the hospital, so I take him at 7 AM so that there's no wait (anxiety problem sitting there watching everyone else get their blood drawn, just waiting.....waiting.....waiting....ugh).

Hope it went okay.