Who would have thought that COVID-19 would still be causing so much chaos and disruption more than halfway through 2021? The loss of life, livelihoods, freedom of movement, and contact with family and loved ones has been overwhelming. Achieving herd immunity seems to be the only respite in sight, that is when enough people globally have been vaccinated to prevent the spread of the virus.
Getting vaccinated is a personal decision. For those who do want to be vaccinated, the fear of needles or blood (or both) might be preventing you from taking the next step and booking in. This is known as a needle or blood injury phobia, and people can experience extreme anxiety, light-headedness or dizziness, and sometimes fainting. For some people, fainting occurs whenever they receive a needle, even in the absence of any other kind of anxiety. These symptoms are caused by a rapid drop in heart rate and blood pressure.
For people who experience needle or blood phobia, there are solutions at hand. A strategy devised by Swedish psychologist Lars-Göran Öst called Applied Tension Technique can help prevent fainting, as well as improve recovery after fainting. It is also really easy to learn, and to do.
Practise the Applied Tension Technique Regularly
To overcome blood or needle phobia, it is more beneficial to practise several times a day for at least a week leading up to the injection.
- Sit upright
- Tense the muscles in the arms, legs, and torso for 10-15 seconds
- Release tension for 20-30 seconds (you are just returning to baseline state rather than relaxing)
- Repeat five times
When Preparing to Receive a Needle
Prior to the injection, run through the above sequence just once. Tense the muscles for a second time holding for 10-15 seconds, then as you release the tension, ask to receive the injection.
Some patients may be able to keep the receiving arm relaxed while tensing other parts of their body. This is a preferred strategy, but the above practices will work just as well for those unable to do so.
Want more help?
The underlying message for anyone suffering from blood or needle phobia is that you can be helped. Our highly trained clinical psychologists can provide practical strategies to help you deal with specific phobias or anxiety related to COVID-19.
Should you feel that you still need assistance in coping with phobias or any stress related to COVID-19, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can assist you via video or face to face, it’s your choice. Our therapists are highly trained and properly equipped to deal with these scenarios and can work with you to find stability and peace.