Hi, I'm writing to ask for your help with my son. He's 16 and for the past 5 years has had worse and worse needle phobia, to the point where now he's completely unable to have any injection. He just shakes, cries, hyperventilates and says No, no, no, no. He has needed outpatient surgery to fix an ingrown toenail for two years now.
He actually had the surgery about 6 months ago but it didn't work. Before that he had tried twice to have the surgery using anti-anxiety medications and both times completely panicked when it was time for the injections. That time he said to go ahead even though he was terrified, and it was very traumatic. After the surgery, nothing changed, so now he needs another and now the phobia is even worse.
The podiatrist wanted him to have it under general anesthesia but the anesthesiologist won't agree to put him under without starting an IV first!
Meanwhile he also has generalized anxiety and last summer started having depressive episodes which are now coming more and more often. I am sure the chronic infection/inflammation in his toe is making his mental health worse. It's also affecting his ability to participate in sports, hikes, even just going for a walk is sometimes too painful. He's in marching band and after a competition he has to wear flip-flops for days afterwards because he can't put a shoe on.
I am at my wit's end trying to get medical help for him. I can't understand how no one seems to see or care that he needs to have the toe treated in a way that also addresses the needle phobia. He is seeing a psychologist and getting hypnotherapy but so far it hasn't worked, or at least not well enough to allow him to be able to get an injection. Does anyone have any ideas for how to proceed? Do you know of a way to have surgery when you are needle phobic, or do you know of a truly effective way to treat needle phobia? The local anesthetic injections are no joke: they hurt! I think that's why the phobia got worse after the failed procedure last time.