July 8, 2013
Why Are People So Terrified Of Needles?
Thousands of people suffer from phobias. We all know phobias are almost always extremely irrational fears that people create for themselves. What if, however, certain phobias, such as the fear of needles, came from our human evolution?
First let us determine what needle phobias are and how they are formed. There are four types of needle phobias: Hyperalgesic, Resistive, Associative and Vasovagal. Out of these four, the most common type, affecting 50 percent of people with a needle phobia, is Vasovagal. The people affected are frightened by the sight, thought and/or feeling of needles. People with Vasovagal tend to suffer from low blood pressure when faced with a needle. Most phobias can be dangerous, but not lethal. This phobia, however, can be due to the extreme drop of blood pressure from the shock of the injection of a needle.
Associative fear of needles affects 30 percent of people that are afraid of needles. This is the phobia in which the patient has undergone, or has witnessed someone else undergo, an extremely painful or traumatic experience with needles, and therefore associates all other experiences with needles as such.
Another form of needle phobia is Resistive. Patients with this type of fear are usually not solely terrified of the needle itself, but also the idea of being controlled or restrained. This phobia usually develops after someone has been forced, either physically or emotionally, to submit to the needlework being done to him or her.
Hyperalgesic is another form of needle phobia that doesn’t solely involve the actual needle. Patients with this fear have inherited a hypersensitivity to pain. Patients find injections extremely painful, so painful in fact that they for the most part cannot comprehend how other people can handle it.
As crazy as these fears maybe, according to Dr. James G. Hamilton, these fears have a strong basis from evolution. He says that we come from a civilization where the ones that avoided getting stabbed or any other wounds that involved pierced skin and flesh were the ones that survived. There is a theory that states that the reason most people with the fear of needles, or other objects that can be used against a human being as a weapon, faint when faced with a sharp object, is due to the fact that thousand years ago, a person that fainted ceased the appearance of being a threat, and was therefore left alone. So maybe through the evolutionary process, the reason we humans have developed a fear of needles is so we may avoid them and therefore live longer to pass on our genes.
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