Anxiety, a common condition, often manifests in a variety of ways. One of the subtypes of anxiety is specific phobia. Specific phobia is an intense and irrational fear of a particular object or situation that poses little to no actual danger. While conditions like agoraphobia and claustrophobia are quite common and well-known, there are also some relatively unknown phobic conditions. Two of them are belonephobia and trypanophobia.
Both belonephobia and trypanophobia are phobic conditions involving fear of needles. Thus, most of the time, these words may be used interchangeably as well. However, there are thin but crucial differences between the two. In this article, we will look at both of these conditions in depth while also looking at how they differ from each other.
If you feel anxious at the thought of needles or sharp objects, you are not alone. Belonephobia is an intense fear of needles. People with belonephobia experience high anxiety or fear at the sight of needles. This can lead them to avoid any medical situations that involve injections or blood draws. The fear, however, is not limited to just medical needles or injections; it is about needles in general. Thus, objects like sewing needles, an unopened syringe, or even cactus thorns can trigger an anxious response.
Although the exact cause of belonephobia is unknown, it can be a result of negative or traumatic childhood experiences involving needles. Another reason for fear could be the worry about getting injured due to needles.
Trypanophobia is similar to belonephobia in many ways, but they have a key difference. While belonephobia is the fear of needles in general, trypanophobia is a fear of medical procedures involving needles. Thus, people with trypanophobia might try to avoid procedures such as getting a blood test, vaccinations, or dental procedures. The fear in this context is only limited to medical procedures and is unlikely to interfere with other tasks involving needles.
Trypanophobia can be triggered by thinking about needles, medical appointments, seeing needles, or seeing someone get an injection. Sometimes, even waiting in an appointment room can trigger anxiety symptoms
How Do They Differ?
|Belonephobia is a general fear of needles
|Fear of medical procedures involving needles
|Thought of needles or any task involving needles like sewing, etc.
|Thoughts of medical procedures with needles, seeing someone get an injection, etc
|Impact on Everyday Life
|Avoidance of any tasks involving needles, like sewing or taking an injection. Thus, belonephobia has a much broader impact on everyday life.
|People with trypanophobia may avoid any health procedures involving needles, leading to negative health consequences. Thus, trypanophobia is likely to impact only health-related areas in a person’s life.
Treatments For Belonephobia and Trypanophobia
Since both belonephobia and trypanophobia are subtypes of anxiety and phobia, there are a few common treatments for both of them. They are:
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a common treatment for anxiety and phobias that involves challenging the negative and irrational thoughts related to needles and then substituting them with more realistic and helpful thoughts.
Exposure therapy is a subset of CBT that involves gradual exposure to needles in a controlled and supportive environment. This exposure can be done through visualization, pictures, or, eventually, in-person experiences and can help people confront and eventually overcome their fear of needles. Exposure is usually done with the help of a therapist.
While both belonephobia and trypanophobia involve a fear of needles, both of them differ in key ways. Trypanophobia is the fear of medical procedures with needles, while belonephobia is the fear of needles in general. Both of these conditions can be treated with a combination of CBT and exposure therapy.
- Belonephobia (Fear of Pins and Needles): Causes, Symptoms & Treatments. (2020, September 25). Healthgrades. https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/anxiety-disorders/belonephobia-fear-of-pins-and-needles
- Trypanophobia: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and Coping. (2021, September 29). Psych Central. https://psychcentral.com/anxiety/trypanophobia