I’m 19 years old and so scared of needles and shots that when I even think about them too much, I get so scared I break down crying. I don’t know what to do!

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It’s bad enough to the point where I try to avoid seeing health care providers. I’ve tried distraction and calming methods but anytime I actually get the shot I just lose control and panic and cry for the rest of the day and even a few days after. I know I’m too old to act like this but I can’t help it and I don’t know what to do.

You’re not alone. Having a fear of needles is fairly common. In fact, plenty of kids, teens and even adults have anxiety connected with getting shots or having their blood drawn which can make them avoid seeing health care providers when they really need to. It’s great that you’ve decided to reach out for help so that you can overcome your fear. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Own your fear– Tell your health care providers (and a parent) about fear of needles so they can help you. There are ways to use distraction to get through a shot or lab test, it just takes some practice.
  • Remember the discomfort only lasts for a couple of seconds– Think happy thoughts and plan a way that you can reward yourself when it’s over such as getting a special treat like an ice-cream cone. Eventually you’ll begin to connect having shots with a special treat rather than pain.
  • Ask your provider about special numbing medicine– There is a numbing cream, that your health care provider or lab may be able to use. You’ll just need to plan ahead as it needs to be applied to the skin (where the shot will be given) about 30-60 minutes before the shot.