Fear of Immunizations

Patient

Q: Hello, I have recently decided to enter the medical field and found out that I need to get several immunizations and a PPD test before I start school. Of course, this is where the irony sets in...I get really anxious and tense when it comes to needles. So I had a few questions on how to work this out. First, Would it be possible to be anesthetized (by gas)while I have this done? Would a medical facility do it? Second, Would I be able to get most of the shots done at once or would there have to be a waiting period? I am looking at a Hep B series, PPD, and possibly a DTaP or MMR immunization as well. And third, what is the strongest prescription topical anesthetic you can recommend? Thanks you for your help!

Doctor

A:   Fear of needles is a common fear.  Unfortunately, you have chosen a career where you will have no choice but to confront your fear.
Anesthetization is not an option and will likely worsen your phobia by creating maladaptive behaviors.  These maladaptive behaviors may then extend not only to receiving needles, but to administering needles and even being around anything related to needles.  Maladaptive behaviors are often associated with maladaptive cognition's (ways of thinking) and can severely impact a persons enjoyment of life.
I suggest you see someone who specializes in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). It has a proven track record of success for individuals with your phobia.

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