FACING THE FEAR
For most people with diabetes, injections are a way of life - but that doesn't mean it's
easy. Whether you're newly diagnosed or have had diabetes for years, injecting can be very
distressing. We look at ways to help.
veryone with Type 1 diabetes
(about 350,000),and at least
500,000 people with Type 2
diabetes, inject daily. That amounts
to a lot of injections, particularly if
you're doing four to five a day (one
or two background injections, and
one with each meal).
Of course, just because we need to
do it doesn't mean there aren't any
issues with it. Getting those needles
on and off can be a problem - plus,
as they're both pointy and sharp,
there's a real chance of small
puncture accidents. Also, what
about drawing up your dose?
Perhaps twisting your pen to set
your dose is problematic? Then
there are those with needlephobia,
an unlucky circumstance if you need
to inject several times a day.
WHO IT AFFECTS
There is evidence that a small
percentage of children, in particular,
but adults too have needlephobia.
Around 8% of children have a
pronounced needlephobia (Hanas
and Ludviggson, 2005) and best
estimate at about 3% of adults,
(Bienvenu & Eaton, 1998). It is a
fairly logical fear to have - after all,
who wishes to be stabbed with
anything and then insert a foreign
material into our bodies? But, of
course, when you have diabetes,
you have little choice.
Epidemiological studies have
reported that identifiable
needlephobia has a median age of
onset at 5.5 years (Bienvenu &
Eaton, 1998) and remains quite
of the adult population (Bienvenu
& Eaton, 1998). For those of us with
Type 1 diabetes, we need to get
insulin inside us somehow, and that
is also true for many people with
Type 2 diabetes, some of which may
need other injectable medications.
There are three main options for
insulin delivery - disposable
syringes, insulin pens - that may be
prefilled - or insulin pumps. These
will get the insulin into us
subcutaneously (i.e. into the layer
just under the skin). If you need a
helping hand, there are products
can help make injecting more
comfortable, with less pain.
common in adulthood (Nir et al.,
2003). For instance, in a sample of
young adult travellers attending a
vaccination clinic, 21.7% reported
that they were afraid of injections
and 8.2% described their fear as
excessive (Nir et al., 2003).
In an older study, fear of blood
and injury was found to be present
in approximately one-third of
children 6 to 12 years old (Lapo use
& Monk, 1959). However, studies on
blood-injection-injury phobia have
been hampered by a lack of precise
definition for the disorder, but it's
estimated as affecting around 3%
" Extinguish irrational fears"