Needle Anxiety

Needle anxiety: Injecting insulin in public

Do you have needle anxiety when it comes to taking your insulin in front of other people? Do you run into the bathroom and quickly take your insulin when your food arrives at the restaurant? Do you risk having hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) because you take your insulin before you go to the restaurant (too early) and the insulin is working before your dinner is served?

Or, are you comfortable in your diabetes management and realize it’s best to take your rapid insulin when the food arrives for adequate meal coverage on your insulin program.

Please read in the following statements of what other patients are thinking.

“I do inject insulin in a restaurant, although it is only in the last few years that I have started to do so. I find that if it is done discreetly it is not even noticed by others. I generally ask people at my table if they mind, or suggest that they look the other way, but I have never had a comment or noticed a reaction from others in a restaurant. On the other hand, when I do use a restroom to inject, I often get comments (generally “is that insulin?”, or “my brother has diabetes” or something like that). But I find that many restrooms are so small that if someone else is in the restroom it is very difficult to find the space. Anyway, I have had diabetes for 44 years and it’s only the last 10 years or so that I inject at the table, or on a park bench, or in some other public spot, and I have never had a problem doing it.”



“I used to run to the bathroom, but I finally got over that. Now I just inject at the table. Most of my friends just ignore it and say nothing. My mother gets a little upset- and offers to go to the bathroom with me, but I say no and do it at the table. I never see anyone else doing it though. But the other week I was at the mall foodcourt- and finally saw someone else doing it. It made me feel so good to know I’m not alone!

– Collie


“The first time I eat with a person, I explain about the insulin shot and ask if they are comfortable. If not, I wait until my food arrives, ensure it’s correct and take my shot – I have never had anyone tell me they were uncomfortable. Although, once, while eating alone in a food fair, I took my shot, ate and in the middle of eating a security guard came in. He stared at me, I looked at him, he looked around and then he left. It took me a moment to realize that someone had reported a junkie shooting up in the food fair, and since I am a middle age, overweight woman, I just didn’t match his image of a junkie. It was funny, but clearly some education is required.”

– Nina