Hemophobia is the extreme fear, deep dread and aversion to blood. It is The condition whereby an individual elicits phobic reactions to the sight of blood which might be his own or that of others.
Although the fear of blood is closely related to the fear of needles, they are different. A person may be afraid of getting his blood drawn with a needle (trypanophobia) but does not fear blood.
Truely, this common specific phobia is actually categorized broadly as blood-injection-injury phobia.
And unlike other specific phobias, hemophobia leads to some rather different symptoms which shall be disclosed later in this article.
CAUSES OF FEAR OF BLOOD:
As discussed formerly, many phobias are closely associated with hemophobia. Most combinations are seen with individuals that have both trypanophobia (fear of needles) and this leads to a general fear of doctors, dentists and even hospitals.
Other causes include;
* In general, the fear of blood phobia is triggered by a fear of the field of medicine as it is often related to blood, injections, injury, pain and/or death.
* Media, TV and movie, images can also contribute to this fear. Halloween culture, gory and bloody movies, serial killer murder stories etc have also been known to cause this phobia.
* Bleeding is often a sign or indication that there is something wrong with the body. Hence, hypochondriasis or nosophobias are also linked to Hemophobia. Nosophobia and Hypochondriasis are both characterized by a fear of getting ill or developing specific illnesses like diabetes , cancer etc.
* The fear of germs or Mysophobia can also trigger Hemophobia since the individual is afraid of acquiring germs from someone elses blood.
* Fear of blood is also closely linked to the fear of death or Thanatophobia.
* The sight or images of blood often causes the individual to slip into unconsciousness: he or she may fear embarrassing oneself by fainting, which is actually the body’s defense response to protect itself from further stress caused by the phobics reaction to blood.
* As with other extreme phobias, the fear of blood can be brought on by a prior negative or traumatic childhood experience with blood either directly or indirectly involving relatives or friends.
SYMPTOMS OF HEMOPHOBIA:
The fear of blood brings on some rather varying from normal symptoms than those brought on by specific phobias.
The similarities with other phobia symptoms are:
* increased heart rate or palpitations
* sweating and shivering
* trembling or shaking at the sight of blood.
* This is followed by a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate that leads the individual to faint or experience a black out, also become pale and weak, which are not commonly seen in other cases of phobial reactions.
Fainting occurs as a result of poor or inadequate oxygen supply and transport to the brain. Fainting or having a panic attack can be an embarrassment to the individual who then tries to avoid direct or indirect blood at all costs.
victims of hemophobia do not only fear seeing their own blood or that of others, in some cases, they may even have an anxiety attack upon seeing blood of animals or liquids with the colour and consistency as blood.
The phobia can sometimes debilitate to the degree that it interferes with his/her daily life.
Hemophobics might refuse to visit a doctor or dentist or even see printed or motion pictures of movies involving blood. S/he may lead a sedentary or isolatory lifestyle in order to avoid sports related injuries or coming in contact with bloody individuals.
Hemophobia can also lead to agoraphobia where the individual refuses to step out of his or her home.
TREATMENT OF THE FEAR OF BLOOD:
Experts mostly suggest the opposite of relaxation techniques which are usually recommended for conquering other common specific phobias.
In this method, rather than relaxing, the individual is asked to squeeze his large muscle groups into tense knots in order to prevent himself from fainting. This technique is especially helpful for patients who faint at the time of getting an injection.
One of the major side effects of Hemophobia is depression or anxiety.
A mental health professional can help provide a solution to overcome these conditions.
Hemophobics are also encouraged to gradually expose themselves (gradual desensitization and systemic desensitization techniques) to certain events or sports which are potential areas where blood may be present. This can help one slowly get comfortable with their fear.
Behavior and cognitive behavior therapies as well as hypnosis and talk therapies can help hemophobics lead a normal life.
Also, Neuro Linguistic Programming and group and social therapy can help in overcoming hemophobia.