Can Botulinum Toxin and Fillers Help Overcome a Fear of Needles?

An estimated 5-10% of the population suffer from trypanophobia: the fear of needles and injections. This common phobia can heavily impact an individual's life and many of those affected will actively seek a solution which will rid them of their needle fears for good. Whilst the world of Botulinum Toxin (sometimes known as Botox®) and fillers may seem like the trypanophobe’s worst nightmare, bizarrely it may be able to play a part in the phobia's treatment…

How Exposure Can Help Overcome Fear

One of the most successful treatments for needle phobia is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). A vital part of this treatment is a 'systematic desensitisation' process which is a type of exposure therapy. This process involves the patient imagining themselves in a progression of feared scenarios, whilst managing their anxiety, and eventually engaging in real life versions of these same scenarios.

To begin with, patients may simply look at images of needles each day and then graduate to sitting in an environment where injections are given. When the sufferer feels ready to be injected, choosing to receive Botulinum Toxin or filler treatment could be one of the best ways to help tackle their fears.

From a purely physical perspective, the needles used in facial injectables are relatively small and therefore less threatening than the variety normally used to draw blood, for example. A good aesthetic practitioner will also routinely offer numbing spray and will understand how to inject in a way that minimises pain, thereby meaning the whole process should be minimally distressing.

Removing Negative Associations and Creating Positive Ones

The most compelling reason why choosing to receive facial injectables may help a trypanophobe is that the experience has great potential to remove negative associations with needles. In the majority of cases, a patient has developed their fear of needles due to a negative experience involving injections or by associating needles with frightening environments and feelings of illness.

Receiving an aesthetic treatment in a private, calming environment where people go to rejuvenate and improve their appearance is a markedly different experience than being given a medicinal injection when ill or having blood drawn in a hospital or doctor's surgery. By seeing and experiencing injections being used to enhance beauty and to make people feel good about themselves, the negative associations of disease, fear and pain may be lessened and even broken entirely. In this way, a patient can potentially start to view needles as simply the means to achieve positive, exciting results rather than something which should be feared and avoided.

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