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9 year old petrified of needles

(6 Posts)
Iphoney Sat 01-Aug-15 17:46:55

Injections and taking blood has been near impossible, having a vaccination last week DH had to hold him down hard, it was awful, he was petrified but it had to be done. Taking blood has been worse as it's more fiddly! Does anyone know what we can do to help him overcome this phobia?
It started a couple of years ago when he had bloods taken and he saw the needle and freaked. Thanks.

Pancakeflipper Sat 01-Aug-15 18:29:16

Do they have to have their bloods taken often or injections frequently?

Our Children's Hospital try to take bloods through the thumb/fingers, squeezing it into a test tube so that makes it less scary.

I know someone who has looked into hypnotherapy for their child who had to have a lot of treatment and was getting very distressed.

Andro Sat 01-Aug-15 20:20:37

It's tough because restraining often makes it worse - it can also do a real number on the trust between parent and child depending on the child and how they perceive being restrained (whether they find a sense of safety/comfort or whether it heightens the anxiety).

Is he ready to try and deal with his phobia? At 9 there is little you can really do if he's not ready to put in the time and effort.

Why did he freak? What was the context (bad experience that he could now put a picture to the cause of or something less tangible)? Has he had other needle stick procedures that he can remember without needing to be held down?

Exposure therapy can work well, but he would have to choose to engage.

Picklesauage Sun 02-Aug-15 08:38:07

Is there an option for him to spend time with your practise nurse at your GP?

This happened at my GP when I went for bloods once. A young boy was there on 'exposure experience'. He was spending the morning there to help his fears. He was watching, helping etc just to get more accustomed.

He apparently did this for 3 mornings. It really helped as at the end he had his vaccinations with minimal fuss!

Iphoney Mon 03-Aug-15 14:25:47

Thank you all for taking the time to reply and advise, hypnotherapy we are considering, from experience of injuries I think squeezing blood out is a no go too but worth trying, but I do like the idea of spending time with the practice nurse. Not sure what exposure therapy is?

In all honesty I'm not sure if he's ready to deal with his phobia so it's up to me to help him.

He was fine with injections until about 2 years ago when he needed bloods taken and saw the needle come towards him! He just had a complete meltdown and to this day remembers it clearly, the follow up bloods just as bad.

Andro not sure what could be less tangible? Since this incident he has had bloods taken and injections about 4 times and each experience has been really bad where we have had no choice but for DH to hold him (straddled like a small child/baby) with me on the other side soothing him, it's very traumatic for everyone let alone ds, totally agree restraining can't be helping but after he's fine, it's the thought of the needle. I think I'll see what my GP office says, thanks picklesausage

If he ends up in a medical career after this I would be shocked!

Thanks again.

Andro Mon 03-Aug-15 14:55:55

He was fine with injections until about 2 years ago when he needed bloods taken and saw the needle come towards him! He just had a complete meltdown and to this day remembers it clearly,

This is what I mean by less tangible. He didn't have a vaccination or blood test go horribly wrong and be ok until he had an image to go with it (in which case there would be a clear issue that had been triggered by seeing the needle), the image alone seems to have caused the problem. There's a good chance he saw a sharp, pointy object coming towards him and felt threatened by it.

Exposure therapy is a process of desensitisation; looking at pictures, looking at a syring, holding a syring etc. It can work really well, but the person has to engage with it. If he's not ready to engage and work through his discomfort in a staged and controlled situation it won't work.

Whatever you try and do the help him, I think at 9 you'll need him onboard with it. Good luck! Trying to get a child through a medical based phobia is hard (bitter experience of a child ending up in ICU and becoming convinced that the gp tried to kill her).

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