Hemophobia is an intense fear of blood. The word is comprised from the two Greek words “hema” (blood) and “phobos” (fear). This fear of blood is also known as hematophobia and hemaphobia. If a person has a more general fear of any bodily injury, this would be called traumatophobia. If a person is afraid of injections, this is called trypanophobia.
Hemophobia is classified as a blood-injection-injury type specific phobia within the Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR). This phobia is characterized by an intense or unreasonable fear that is cued by the thoughts or actual experience of seeing blood. Some people may even react to seeing depictions of blood (e.g., photos, movies, crime shows). Initially, most people will have an immediate anxiety reaction (e.g., heart racing, feelings of dread, shortness of breath, sweating, hyperventilating), which may include panic attacks. However, unlike most other specific phobias, many people with hemophobia also have a vasovagal response, a drop in blood pressure and heart rate in reaction to the injection, following the initial anxiety response, and this drop in blood pressure can cause fainting. Those with hemophobia may also feel light-headed, nauseous, hear ringing in their ears, and/or break out in a sweat. People with a fear of blood, may limit or avoid medical procedures and may be particularly cautious of getting into situations where they may be injured (e.g., extreme sports). this fear may cause significant distress and lead to impairment in their social, occupational, and/or academic functioning. This can lead to serious problems as people may limit needed medical procedures to avoid the sight of blood and may choose to avoid careers within healthcare facilities. They may also have a lot of difficulty helping other people who may be injured and bleeding (e.g., children, patients, spouse), and women may have a difficult time handling menstruation (i.e., their monthly periods).
Fear of blood is fairly common and hemophobia is often acquired in early to middle childhood. The phobia often begins after a person faints or almost faints at the sight of blood, after a particular painful or traumatic experience involving blood, or from having a diagnosis of a blood disorder such as hemophilia. Findings are mixed as to whether there are gender differences in the prevalence of hemophobia. People with a phobia of blood report that their fears are generally focused on the fear of physical symptoms, primarily the concern of fainting. Depression, other anxiety disorders (e.g., agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder), and substance abuse are among the most common disorders that may co-occur with hemophobia.
Scientists have suggested that hemophobia and the vasovagal response to blood may have served as an adaptive response in our evolutionary history. Given that blood is a sign of injury, it is a natural fear to be afraid when we are bleeding as we are generally weakened and at higher risk to be tracked and harmed by predators. Fainting in response to injury may be helpful in serving to show an enemy that a person is defenseless so that the enemy will hopefully stop attacking, and may also slow the process of bleeding to death. Also, those with blood disorders, such as hemophilia, are at higher risk of dying from small injuries and bleeding, and are more prone to have a fear of blood.
Exposure treatments, such as systematic desensitization, can be helpful as well as cognitive behavioral therapy. Due to the unique physiological reactions of people with blood-injection-injury phobias, standard exposure-based treatments are often augmented with applied tension techniques (teaching patients to tense their muscles to increase blood pressure) to decrease chances of fainting during medical procedures. If a fear of blood is causing you significant distress or impairment, please consult with a healthcare provider about possible treatment options.
Treatment of Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia
For many individual who are suffering from blood – Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia. Don’t always feel the need of treatment because they can just avoid the object of their fear. This gives people suffering from Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia a feeling of control on the problem. But sometimes avoiding blood might not be possible or enough.
It is important for someone to always seek professional help when possible. This way you don’t lose time and do a better job and understanding what is happening. With understanding you can next move on to overcoming your fear of blood.
While most phobias are curable, there is no single treatment available for all of them, or guaranteed to work. It strongly depends on the person suffering and severity in which that person is experiencing Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia. There are cases that a combination of treatments might be more effective.
Please be advised that you should not take treatment on your own! Always consult with a doctor before hand. The treatments mentioned below are for informational purposes and not specific to Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia. The treatments below are used on most phobia cases.
Talking Treatments for Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia
Talking treatments or talking therapies, which include counselling, might be very effective at treating fear of blood or Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia. Talking therapies are very laid back treatments and physically non intrusive which involve talking to a highly trained and proficient professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. There are many different types of talking therapy, but they all aim to:
- help you recognise unhelpful patterns in the way you think or act, and find ways to change them (if you want to).
- help you resolve complicated feelings, or find ways to live with them
- help you make sense of things and understand yourself better
- give you a safe time and place to talk to someone who won’t judge you
Talking therapies are in most cases the same as counselling, therapy, psychotherapy, psychological therapy, talking treatment. There is usually a very little difference between what’s meant when talking about any of these.
(CBT) Cognitive behavioural therapy
CBT treatments stand on the concept that what we thing and perceive are constantly influencing our behaviour. Experiencing anxiety and distress are in some cases distorting and bending ones perception over reality. Cognitive behavioural therapy aims to identify if they are an accurate depiction of reality, and, if they are not, employ strategies to challenge and overcome them.
For example when someone is experiencing Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia. Through the help of Cognitive behavioural therapy you could identify if the fear and anxiety experienced from blood is an accurate depiction of reality. And if not working on ways to change that.
Medication should be never taken without asking a doctor first. In general medication is not recommended for overcoming phobias. Therapies have resulted to be a definitive way to overcome fears. However some types of medication are prescribe as short term solutions to the side effects of phobias. Which include anxiety or depression. There are three general types of medication recommended for treating anxieties.
Self-help with Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia
One of the best ways to overcome any difficulty or be prepare if any might arise in life, is to take good care of oneself. Being able to know how to help yourself is vital not to just be able to control your fear of blood, but also other phobias and anxieties before they get more severe.
Symptoms of Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia
Phobias are to be taken seriously. If they aren’t given proper attention and treatment, might start to limit the sufferers life. In some cases up to the degree of extreme anxiety and depression. Knowing how to manage thoughts and anxiety will not only help a person live or overcome the fear of blood. But also manage to live will all phobias in general.
People who suffer from fear of blood. At most times are purposely avoiding coming into contact with what it is that triggers them to experience fear or anxiety in the first place. This might seem like a good quick fix but truth is as mentioned above, if not completely understood what you are experiencing might start hurting or limiting your life in the long run.
Sometines, the people suffering from Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia, which is a Blood Injection and Injury phobia, try to avoid not only the exact objects (in this case blood) or situations that trigger it but sometimes in severe cases the thought of those thing all together.
There have been a lot of cases in which an individual has develop a phobia from blood where they become fearful of experiencing anxiety itself because it would make them feel very uncomfortable in the moment they are in contact with any of those. Panic attacks can be very discomforting for the main reason that they are felt in a physical level. People experiencing panic attacks commonly feel a pounding heart, palpitations or accelerated heart rate.
A person doesn’t necessarily need to be in a situation exposed to blood to experience Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia. The brain doesn’t have to be in that situation to experience the symptoms of panic. A persons brain is capable of creating a reaction to fearsome situations even when the subject is not actually in that situation.
People are different and so are all the types of phobias someone might suffer from. So the symptoms also vary strongly on the severity in which an individual is experiencing these fears. But generally speaking, Blood Injection and Injury phobias and fears such as Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia fall under the category of anxiety disorders. Meaning that a person can experience any if not all of the below mentioned physical and/or psychological symptoms.
blood sufferers, often experience panic attacks. These panic attacks can be extremely frightening and distressing for the person suffering from those. These symptoms most of the time happen suddenly and without any prior signs or warnings. No matter how overwhelming feelings of anxiety, a panic attack can cause real physical symptoms, such as but not limited to the ones below:
- hot flushes or chills
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- a choking sensation
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- pain or tightness in the chest
- a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
- headaches and dizziness
- feeling faint
- numbness or pins and needles
- dry mouth
- a need to go to the toilet
- ringing in your ears
- confusion or disorientation
- tightness in the chest/chest pain and difficulty breathing
- rise in blood pressure
In some very severe cases, a person suffering a panic attack triggered from Hemophobia or Hemaphobia or Hematophobia. Usually when exposed to its triggers such as blood. Can have one/or all of the following symptoms.
- fear of losing control
- fear of fainting
- feelings of dread
- fear of dying
- fear of harm or illness
- guilt, shame, self-blame
- Withdrawing from others
- Feeling sad or hopeless
- Feeling disconnected
- Confusion, difficulty concentrating
- Anger, irritability, mood swings
- anxiety and fear
On some very special cases, there may be people experiencing intertwined phobias. Or what may be called complex phobias. These can often have a detrimental effect on a person’s everyday life and mental wellbeing. Because they may limit someones life so much that they become uncap-able of leading a normal personal and social life. Hence triggering a chain reaction of the above mentioned symptoms and lastly depression.