Does fear of needles stop you from getting vaccinated? Part 2
What do you do if you want to be vaccinated, but you have an intense fear of needles? What do you do if you have a phobia- an intense, excessive, persistent fear of an object or situation? In a recent article in the Los Angeles Times, journalist Sam-Omar Hall discusses how you can overcome fear of needles to get vaccinated. If you experience anxiety surrounding getting a shot, the CARD system may work for you. However, if you experience intense anxiety, such as in the case of a phobia, then you might need to participate in exposure therapy.
Hall reported that people who fear needles experience shakiness, perspiration, and knots in their stomach when they think about needles. They experience anticipatory anxiety, which can also be describes as anxiety about facing anxiety in the future. In order to break this cycle of anxiety, people must face their fear head on.
What is exposure therapy?
Exposure therapy is a cognitive behavioral approach in which people systematically expose themselves to situations, objects, or even physical sensations that they would normally avoid due to anxiety or other uncomfortable emotions. In the case of a phobia related to needles, someone might also experience anxiety and avoid white lab coats, healthcare waiting rooms, or medical equipment. Safe and systematic exposure to the presence of these objects and situations will increase someone’s anxiety in the short-term. However, in the long-term people will learn on an implicit level that these situations and objects are harmless.
CBT SoCal specializes in CBT and exposure therapy. If you are interested in discussing if exposure therapy is right for you, then schedule a free phone consultation.
Dr. Jason von Stietz specializes in Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Sport/Performance Psychology in Torrance, CA. He provides online therapy (telehealth) by way of the Torrance office and is available for a free initial phone consultation. Dr. von Stietz works with individuals from Long Beach, the greater Los Angeles area, and the South Bay including Palos Verdes, Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, El Segundo and all over California.