Hemophobia: I can’t see blood!

Hemophobia, hematophobia or fear of blood is one of the phobias that generate the most interest, since there are many people who dislike seeing blood and, therefore, wonder whether or not they experience this phobia.

However, to the extent that no one tends to like the presence of blood too much, it is necessary to give a definition of hemophobia that makes it possible to clarify which behaviors are associated with it and which would be normal.

This irrational fear can cause problems in daily life, since having an injury or having to have a blood test can be a big problem for the person who suffers from it.

What is Hematophobia

It consists of an intense and irrational fear of any event that is related to blood (own or someone else’s) and that includes syringes, wounds and hospitals.

At an objective level, blood does not constitute a real danger, but exposure to it causes a high level of discomfort to the individual.

It is important to differentiate two ideas:

  1. Rejection, fear, or the simple fact that seeing blood can be unpleasant
  2. The incapacitation that individuals suffering from the phobia that concerns us about medical care can suffer

Thus, they will avoid any situation or act such as the visualization of wounds or carrying out analytics, due to the great discomfort that it produces.

Causes of fear of blood

The causes that trigger blood phobia are not exactly known, although two are considered as the most common:

  • By simple learning from someone close to it. A family member or friend with a fear of blood may be the source of a mimetic performance
  • Due to the experience of a traumatic situation in relation to blood (own or someone else’s)

What symptoms does a phobia have, the basis of which could be a survival mechanism

If there is a characteristic that makes blood phobia unique, it is the fact that the crises it produces often end up leading to  fainting , a circumstance that is not frequent in other types of phobias.

Along these lines, blood phobia  is the only phobic disorder composed of two phases , instead of just one.

  1. After the heart rate and the entry into alert state, there is a sudden drop in tension that can cause fainting, as not enough oxygen reaches the brain.
  2. In this way, the second stage of hemophobia nullifies the effects of the first and causes  blood pressure to plummet .

Thus, the symptoms of blood phobia tend to reflect the diphasic functioning of this phenomenon.

Avoid situations that are related to blood and anticipatory anxiety before any circumstance related to it, increased heart rate, dizziness, sweating and fainting are some of the symptoms that hematophobic people present.

Although fainting is related to panic attacks, it is true that this symptom is not typical of most phobias.

It is characterized by a sudden rise in tension, the appearance of extremely high levels of stress and the feeling of needing to leave the place, moving away from the stimulus that caused the episode.

Some experts propose that blood phobia  may be based on a survival mechanism that is often helpful.

After all, the sudden drop in blood pressure causes that in those cases in which such a substance sprouts from its own wounds, less amount ends up being lost.

However, this hypothesis, which is based on the drop in voltage, is still a mere speculation that is difficult to verify.

Characteristics of Hemophobia

Anyway, the only thing verifiable is that the main defining characteristic of blood phobia is that it  is completely useless .

Although evolution may have favored the diffusion of certain genes that are related to hematophobia, the living conditions of modern man are very different from those that existed thousands of years ago.

Currently, vaccines and blood tests are of great importance and the daily interaction between people exposes them more to all kinds of activities, among which are the visualization of real or fictitious images with the presence of blood.

For this reason, blood phobia becomes a problem that, depending on its intensity, can be very disabling.

How to treat this strange problem

Many are the people who wonder if blood phobia can be cured.

The truth is that it is important to find a solution to a problem that may be of greater or lesser severity and that may present itself in a more or less annoying way but that in any case will lead to problems that, beyond being specific episodes, may affect your day to day.

Not surprisingly, experiencing blood phobia means experiencing inconveniences in relation to avoiding vaccines and medical treatments , refusing help to injured people, avoiding carrying out any tasks that entail a minimal possibility of injuring oneself such as cooking or going out of town. excursion to the mountain or even to reject the idea of ​​giving birth in women.

For this reason, it is convenient to go to specialists who make a diagnosis that allows a treatment to be proposed.

From the cognitive behavioral model, treatment is not only approached at the behavioral level, but apart from the relevant position that anticipatory or catastrophic thoughts occupy in relation to the phobic moment.

Since hematophobia differs from other phobias in  presenting a diphasic pattern of activation , its treatment is different.

This is due to the fact that in blood phobia, after the appearance of the phobic stimulus, there is an increase in blood pressure and heart rate, which is followed by a subsequent sharp drop in both parameters, which can lead to the stimulus.

The result is that while in the other phobias the reduction of the patient’s symptoms is sought (through relaxation or breathing), in the blood phobia it is sought to achieve the opposite, that is, to teach them to tension their muscles avoiding the fading to counteract the drop in blood pressure.

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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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