What is Hemophobia or Fear of Blood?
Hemophobia refers to a medical condition where an individual develops fear of blood. Sight of blood coming out of their own body or from any other person or animal can easily scare a person with hemophobia or fear of blood. They tend to relate blood to severe injury that would lead to death.
Some people with hemophobia or fear of blood can show sudden increase in heart rate and blood pressure (B.P) as part of phobic reaction to blood while others may show drop in heart rate and blood pressure. The latter case of phobic reactions is more severe as it can cause weakness or even fainting. This increases the risk of developing fear of fainting.
Hemophobia or fear of blood is recognised as one of the phobias resulting from “blood injection injury” segmented in DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition.)
Causes of Hemophobia or Fear of Blood
Fear to blood comes naturally as we see bloodshed in most Halloween events and Horror movies. A series of movies during 1980’s also contributed to this and exhibited fear of blood. One of the scenes in 1960’s Psycho involving a bloody shower also showed that how our mind can create everything. It was a black and white movie where there was no piercing or red coloured blood but still it is considered to be a masterpiece and still it created an illusion of real knife attack with lots of blood.
Even though our mind has fear of blood but when faced with blood spilled all over, sufferers of hemophobia or fear of blood cannot take away their eyes. A lot of television shows like CBS’ Survivoroften’ also added to the fear by showing injuries with blood in High Definition and sometimes zooming them on to create more fear.
Hemophobia or fear of blood is clearly linked to our natural fear of blood and it can easily turn into phobia. Hemophobia or fear of blood is often associated with other types of phobia such as needles phobia, phobia of doctors and dentists etc…
- It would not be wrong to consider that fear of medicine and other fields related to pain, injury, injections, blood etc… can also cause hemophobia or fear of blood.
- Hemophobia or fear of blood can also be caused by movies, TV and images depicting serial killing, murders, bory blood movies and similar stories or scenes.
- Bleeding is mostly reflection of a situation where someone is hurt or injured. Thus, hypochondriasis or nosophobias is closely associated with hemophobia or fear of blood as both the conditions are related to phobia of sickness or diseases.
- Hemophobia or fear of blood can also be linked to pre-existing fear of germs termed as Mysophobia.
- Another commonly associated phobias is Thanatophobia, which is fear of death.
- People suffering from hemophobia or fear of blood have the tendency to fainting when they see blood. This is actually the reaction of the body, a sort of self protection mechanism to avoid further damage or stress to body.
- Like most other cases of phobia, hemophobia or fear of blood can also has some connection to any traumatic event that may have occurred during childhood with an individual.
Signs and Symptoms of Hemophobia or Fear of Blood
Common signs and symptoms of hemophobia or fear of blood are as follows:
It is completely natural to have some discomfort or fear of blood but it can become a concern when an individual allows his fear to grow. Hemophobia or fear of blood people not only have fear of their own blood but other’s blood too. This hemophobia or fear of blood can grow with time people and person can develop fear of blood of other animals and creatures. In extreme cases of hemophobia or fear of blood, a person can easily get frightened by just a mere idea of blood or an image of blood. It is important to take this phobia seriously and seek proper treatment as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
Complication of Hemophobia or Fear of Blood
Hemophobia or fear of blood is a serious phobia and has a high risk of leading to other complications. Some of these complications can even be life threatening or at least dangerous. Hemophobia or fear of blood can make an individual can avoid going to doctor of pathology for blood check-up. Hemophobic people are also afraid of dental treatment and surgery that can make the situation worse.
It can be very difficult for a parent with hemophobia or fear of blood to take care of any wounds of their child or even apply a bandage and would ask your spouse to handle such things. Hemophobic people would often react weird to minor injuries and make them look very serious. They may call emergency room unnecessarily for small incidents that can be easily taken care of at home.
An individual may also start to stay away from activities where he feels that there may occur an injury. This can make him segregated and stop from participating in activities such as running, camping, hiking etc… Even a simple sport or carnival ride can seem dangerous. Such behaviours can easily lead a person to an isolated living. It can gradually turn into social phobia and agoraphobia in extreme cases. It can even start to hamper your relationships and personal life and make you feel depressed for no reason.
Tests to Diagnose Hemophobia or Fear of Blood
Hemophobia or fear of blood is different and it cannot be determined by any type of lab tests. There are specific diagnostic guidelines including clinical interviews to detect hemophobia or fear of blood. The interview consists of questions related to symptoms and medical history.
Hemophobia or fear of blood is diagnosed on the basis of the diagnostic criteria set by American Psychiatric Association in Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The manual works as a standard to help doctors in determining the condition of patients. It is also used as a standard by insurance companies.
Treatment for Hemophobia or Fear of Blood
It is always possible to find ways to overcome your hemophobia or fear of blood with suitable treatment options. However, it is necessary to find a good doctor and ask for referral to relevant health professional. Hemophobia or fear of blood can also lead to mental issues such as depression. It becomes necessary to share your problems with close friends and relatives and try to find ways to combat fears. It is a natural response of a hemophobic person to avoid any events that may involved bloodshed or injuries.
A person suffering from hemophobia or fear of blood is gradually exposed to his fears in a planned manner. Level of exposure is increased with time until a person feels confident enough to face his fears. Some other treatments options include hypnosis, periodic discussions, behavioural therapy etc… All these therapies are known to have positive impact on mind and health. Doctors also encourage hemophobic patients to face their fears instead to avoiding them. These situations can include any of the sports activities or routine activities with risk of injury. Some other therapies that are helpful in treating phobia of blood include cognitive behaviour therapies, behaviour therapies, hypnosis etc…
Prevention of Hemophobia or Fear of Blood
In case of any symptoms of unreasonable fears, it is important to refer to a psychologist as soon as possible, especially if you have children. You family members may not cause hemophobia or fear of blood genetically but watching someone having phobia can create phobia in children. Thus, it becomes even more important to get treatment for hemophobia or fear of blood and prevent it from passing to children. Even a doctor cannot define a fix recovery define initially but it can be predicted based on the rate of recovery.
Coping with Hemophobia or Fear of Blood
Coping from any type of phobia is tough but with proper professional treatment, you can easily manage the symptoms of hemophobia or fear of blood. Following methods also help an individual to cope up with symptoms of hemophobia or fear of blood:
- Preparing yourself to face fears for better coping with hemophobia or fear of blood. Seek help from your therapists, family and friends to help you face your fears instead of avoiding them.
- Another way to cope with hemophobia or fear of blood is to look for help. There are various support groups that can help you join hands with other people going through the same hemophobia or fear of blood.
- Follow your medications as prescribed for proper coping. Stopping to take medicines can result into withdrawal symptoms and thus you must refer to your doctor before skipping any medication.
- Take care of yourself. You need to keep yourself healthy both mentally and physically to help yourself fight against the symptoms effectively.
Helping your Child Cope with Hemophobia or Fear of Blood
It is common to have some fear such as fear of monsters, dark etc.. in case of children but most of them can overcome their fears as they grow up. However, if your child is having difficulty in overcoming fears, it is necessary to take help of a doctor.
You can also assist your child in coping up with hemophobia or fear of blood by following ways:
- Talking about hemophobia or fear of blood. It can be a big mistake to ignore fear of your children or take them for granted. Instead, talk to your child about their fears and help them overcome.
- Help your child to face fear instead of running away. As a parent, you need to help your child to face his or her fears instead or avoiding fears. Support your child by offering gradual exposure to fear. For example, if your child is afraid of neighbor’s dog, stay with your child and support him to give him security and confidence instead to taking other way.
- Demonstrate your child how to face fears. Children learn quickly by observing and it is important to set up a positive model to help them learn how to face fear and react to it.
Recovery Period/Healing Time for Hemophobia or Fear of Blood
Recovery period/healing time from hemophobia or fear of blood cannot be defined as it depends of various factors including severity of phobia, mode of treatment etc… It is best to seek help from your doctor to find out a tentative time period for recovery.