Fear of needles is very real and even can cause health issues based on fear. The fear has nothing to do with tattoos. Keep in mind, when getting a tattoo, you have to be conscious and you have to be sober. I’ve heard common stories all over with someone asking to get a tattoo drunk or would ask them if they could pass out first. Thirty or forty years ago, it may have been more commonplace, albeit, still wrong. It today’s modern age, no reputable tattoo artist will even let you get near a tattoo if you’re drunk or become unconscious. What they will do is call 911.
Common symptoms of these phobias can be anxiety, panic, crying, trembling, fainting, losing consciousness, heightened high blood pressure (hypertension) and/or irrational behavior. Many people dislike needles. However, there is a massive difference between disliking needles and falling into one of these symptoms.
My 13 year old daughter, who has not been officially diagnosed with a phobia, I believe, has Trypanophobia. Whenever we go to a doctor’s office, when she sees a needle, her eyes will go in the back of her head; she will pass out. On another occasion, she kept yelling for her mom saying she can’t see; before passing out. It’s pretty scary to see that of your daughter.
Usually my wife take’s her to the doctor or hospital. On one occasion, I went with them to the hospital when she needed some tests. Before the nurse came in to give her a shot, I took the nurse aside to explain to her the situation with needles. After telling me she understood, she proceeded to shoot saline out of needle right in front of her to test it out. My daughter started to shake and cry. Needless to say, I politely escorted the nurse OUT OF THE ROOM. Some people…
There are 4 phobias that can either directly or indirectly apply to a fear of needles and getting a tattoo:
Trypanophobia or needle phobia is an absolute fear with needles in medical situations. Simply put it is the greatest fear of injections. This phobia can be very dangerous. Unlike other phobias this one can actually kill. The fear is so great that people have been known to ignore all medical help and treatment. Can you imagine a fear so great that you consciously disregard your own health? It’s very real. Historically, some psychologists believe it stems from an evolutionary drive for survival. Stab wounds, puncture wounds, etc. could prove deadly before antibiotics became commonplace in the world.
Aichmophobia or fear of sharp objects encompasses Trypanophobia and more. Any type of sharp object: needles, knives, nails, needles and even pencils. For most individuals with this fear it is not widespread over all sharp items. It’s much more specific than that. Someone may be OK with nails but not screws. Knives might be OK, but not a carving knife. That doesn’t mean they it’s limited to one item and not multiple different objects – that is very real and possible. It means simply that it is not a general fear of sharp objects. The largest danger in this fear lies with improper use of sharp objects one is fearful of.
Belonephobia is an abnormal fear of sharp pointed objects with an emphasis on needles. Like Trypanophobia, the fear can make a person irrational enough to not seek medical help when needed because the fear is so great.
Enetophobia is an irrational or abnormal fear of pins specifically and is related to Belonephobia.
Almost 20% of the world’s population has a fear to some degree of needles and injections. You aren’t alone in this and you can get help if needed. Everyone is different, so what works for someone may or may not work for someone else. Do your research.
If your fear is more of a strong dislike, there are things you can do to get your mind off it while getting a tattoo or even forms of self-meditation that can help. However, if your fear is at the highest levels and you find yourself crying, fainting or trembling, you seriously might want to reconsider a tattoo as it may become a private torture for you. I love tattoos but the first thing I would say is to overcome your fears first.
The more relaxed you can become during a tattoo the better it will work out. Keep in mind; getting a tattoo is a completely different needle then going to a doctor’s office or hospital. They are nothing alike. A tattoo needle barely breaks the skin and you’ll never see someone come at you with this massive hypodermic needle.
In your research of tattoos and phobias, you might want also to bring this concerns up to the artists you talk to and make sure you find someone sympathetic to your concerns.