Aichmophobia (pronounced [īk-mō-fō′bē-ă]) is a kind of specific phobia, the morbid fear of sharp things, such as pencils, needles, knives, a pointing finger, or even the sharp end of an umbrella. It is derived from the Greek aichmē (point) and phobos (fear). This fear may also be referred to as belonephobia or enetophobia.
Sometimes this general term is used to refer to what is more specifically called fear of needles, or needle phobia. Fear of needles is the extreme and irrational fear of medical procedures involving injections or hypodermic needles.
The use of hypnotherapy which is a combination of hypnosis and therapeutic intervention, may help to control or improve the fear of sharp objects, specifically needles. A technique called systematic desensitization exposes patients to the feared stimuli in gradual degrees while under hypnosis. This technique has met with mixed levels of success.
Direct conditioning is a process used to associate desired behaviour in the subject with positive stimuli. Mary Cover Jones conducted an experiment in which she treated a patient with a fear of rabbits, by gradually moving a rabbit closer to the patient in the presence of the patient's favorite food. This continued until the patient was able to touch the rabbit without fear.
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