Information, Symptoms, Treatments and Resources


Needle Anxiety: What Can I Do?


A diabetes expert shares some advice.

I’m afraid of needles. How can I relieve my anxiety about insulin shots?

Anxiety about insulin injections is certainly understandable. If you’ve never given yourself an insulin shot, it may be easier and less uncomfortable than you imagine. That’s because an insulin injection is “subcutaneous,” meaning the shot only goes into the layer of fat right below the skin, not deeper into the muscle. While abdominal injections tend to be more comfortable and convenient for most people, you should work with a certified diabetes educator to find a good injection site and the right needle size for you. For many people with diabetes, insulin “pens” can be less intimidating than a syringe. 

People with type 1 diabetes don’t have any choice about taking insulin but, for type 2 diabetes, there are other options that can sometimes help control blood glucose levels. Nothing is more effective than insulin, though.

Published on February 20, 2015.

Advice by Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE. Toby is a registered and licensed dietitian and certified diabetes educator. She also holds a master’s of science in nutrition and wellness and is the co-author of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies. 

Reviewed by Nora Saul, MS, RD, LDN, CDE on January 11, 2015
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