Trypanophobia is an extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles. It often starts at childhood but can be passed down from one generation to the next.


The type passed down is called vasovagal needle phobia. It’s believed to be a genetic trait passed down from early man. It served the person will to avoid being attacked, so fainting meant playing dead and surviving. The rise and fall of blood pressure in this type, often means people faint. You can overcome some of these problems by having all injections laying down.

Hypnotherapy can be helpful for Trypanophobia

Associative needle phobia

Associative fear of needles developed because they underwent a very painful medical procedure, and so make connections to future events which causes anxiety to rise. In extreme cases, a person may suffer from sleepless nights worrying about the procedure and may even cancel appointments and important operations.


People suffering from this fear have an inherited hypersensitivity to pain. The pain of an injection is unbearably great, often made worse by tensing up muscles.

Resistive needle phobia

Resistive fear of needles can develop if one is held down to have the injection. An association with the restraint, not the needle itself can develop and people can end up fighting off medical staff. Sometimes it develops if the person is under the influence of analgesia or medication which alters perceptions. If the person has dementia or Alzheimers and doesn’t understand the doctors and nurses are only trying to help.

Case Study

I’m going to use myself as a case study here because for years I struggled with a fear of needles. It wasn’t until I trained as a hypnotherapist and understood the different types of needle phobia was I able to tackle it.

I inherited vasovagal needle phobia from my father. I would feel faint and sick and would collapse when I had to have an injection.

I also suffered from Associative needle phobia. When I was 5, I went into the hospital for the removal of a sty on my eyelid. The nurse sent my mother out of the room, forced me onto my stomach without telling me what she was doing and stuck the needle into my bottom. I screamed the place down and it was the beginning of a lifelong fear of needles.

I also suffer from hyperalgesic fear of needles as my pain threshold is very low.

So when I need an injection or blood taken, here are the steps I take.

  1. I lie down
  2. I relax and imagine my arm is a slab of marble, cold, without feeling.
  3. I imagine I am on my favourite beach and the sun is warming me. The sound of my breathing is the sea. Once my arm is numb I indicate to the nurse to give me an injection.

So if you need help with your Trypanophobia then give me a call today. Free online consultation is available.

Also see A-Z list of phobias