Feeds

Why do I have an extreme fear of needles?

Needling fear!

Top three mobile application threats

Also in this week's column:

Why do I have an extreme fear of needles?

Asked by Nicole Rothman of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Belonephobia is the extreme fear of needles. If you have this, you fear getting medications via injections, vaccinations, even testing your blood. You are probably terrified of the prospect of having surgery performed on you. You may even have great difficulty going to the dentist because of what the dentist may do to your teeth and gums with needles.

Belonephobia is surprisingly common. Up to 10 per cent of people suffer from some degree of belonephobia. This is according to Dr Louisa Yim, a general practitioner from Wantirna, Victoria, Australia. Dr Yim also writes in the Australian Family Physician (August 2006) of a skin cancer patient who needed minor surgery, but the patient was belonephobic and so avoided getting the skin cancer removed. The skin cancer doubled in size.

Pregnancy poses great problems for a belonephobic since so many antepartum, intrapartum, and postpartum medical procedures involve needles. This is according to a team of five researchers from the School of Nursing at Western Michigan University led by Dr K Searing. They describe in the Journal of Obsteric, Gynecologic and Neonatal Nursing (September-October 2006) the case of a 21-year-old woman who faced great difficulties dealing with both her pregnancy and her belonephobia.

One of the more interesting theories as to why people develop belonephobia was put forward by Dr J G Hamilton of the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Keele in Staffordshire, UK. Dr Hamilton writes in the Journal of Family Practice (August 1995) that the cause of belonephobia "lies in an inherited vasovagal reflex of shock, triggered by needle puncture. Those who inherit this reflex often learn to fear needles through successive needle exposure".

Thus, belonephobia is both inherited and learned. Belonephobia often appears with both dental phobia and blood phobia (hematophobia). Belonephobia is from the Greek word "belone" which means "needle" - makes sense. The point's been made.

Interesting facts

Belonephobics face difficulties in many realms of life. For example, while driving and when stopped for suspected DUI, a driver may have to undergo a blood test. According to Drs M M Stark and N Brener of the Forensic Medicine Unit at the St George Hospital Medical School in London, writing in the Journal of Clinical Forensic Medicine (March, 2000), courts are unlikely to allow belonephobia as legal grounds for refusing the blood test.

Stephen Juan, Ph.D. is an anthropologist at the University of Sydney. Email your Odd Body questions to s.juan@edfac.usyd.edu.au

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.