Needle phobia is a very common condition estimated to affect 3 to 10 per cent of the population. The issue with needle phobia is that those who suffer from it will tend to avoid healthcare settings and so could be missing out on important medical care.
It is not known exactly what causes some people to experience needle phobia and others to not suffer from this condition but there is some evidence that a genetic link may be at play. Those who report severe needle phobia symptoms are more likely to have at least one first degree relative who experiences the same. Such symptoms include a vasovagal response to needles – whether injected into the body or just by way of seeing a needle – which includes a lowered blood pressure, dizziness, and fainting or near-fainting. This can then set up an anxiety response due to fear of fainting such as sweating, a dry mouth, shaking, and over-breathing whenever even the thought of a needle arises.