The knotted throat, palpitations, an irrepressible urge to vomit, to end up falling backwards feeling unwell… Blood phobia, also known as hematophobia, can hit hard. Those affected usually experience all the symptoms of an anxiety attack. This disorder can indeed give rise to anxiety reactions that complicate – to say the least – practical life people who suffer from it. If it is not possible to “cure” it, strictly speaking, several techniques allow you to gradually regain the upper hand.
Hematophobia: what is blood phobia?
As stated earlier, hematophobia refers to blood phobia, in other words, the excessive and irrational fear of blood (one’s own and/or another person’s). According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is one of the three most common phobias in the world, after phobias concerning animals and fear of heights.
She may be triggered by the sight of blood in real life, in photos or in a film/series. A few drops of blood may be enough to cause discomfort. A hematophobic person can also be a victim of symptoms at the mere mention of blood, or even at the anticipation of a situation involving contact with blood.
What are the different degrees of hematophobia?
There is only one type of hematophobia, but the degree of “seriousness” is measured according to the impact of the phobia on social life of the patient. As a reminder, some hematophobes do not need to see blood to feel unwell, but just to imagine it. Involuntarily overhearing a conversation, reading a book or witnessing a mini-accident is enough to tickle their anxiety.
Why do I feel bad when I see blood?
The causes of blood phobia are “multifactorial” (as with all phobias).
- Hematophobia can be related to traumasuch as an impressive accident having taken place in the past, or catastrophic blood tests.
- She can also be the result of a concern transmitted by the family in childhood.
- Without forgetting the possible genetic and congenital participations.
Symbolically, blood phobia can also be associated with:
- at fear of death / the fear of bleeding out (symbolically, when the blood leaves the body, it eats away at vitality and endangers our health)
- and social myths / taboos (blood has long been associated with sacrifices, rituals, etc. From now on, we no longer see it, we no longer hear about it, everything is sanitized. Hence the fact that the emotion is increased tenfold: the Male is less used to seeing blood.
Hematophobia can be complicated to diagnose, but certain behavioral traits can alert:
- the person faints in the presence of blood;
- she is careful not to hurt herself;
- it avoids taking/transfusing blood;
- she avoids sharp objects;
The problem is that by avoiding blood tests and certain medical examinations, patients put their health at risk. A vicious circle then begins: during examinations, hematophobes have the impression of not being able to “escape” their phobia; they can also feel a sense of shame which makes them hide this problem from those around them…
What symptoms should alert?
Several physical symptoms may manifest, such as:
- great pallor,
- stomach aches,
- nausea and dizziness,
- a drop in heart rate and a drop in blood pressure (the only phobia to produce this effect),
- vagal discomfort leading to fainting,
Please note: in some patients, hematophobia may be associated with iatrophobia (fear of seeing a doctor), and/or belonephobia (fear of needles). The double penalty for subjects who regularly need injections, such as insulin injections against diabetes, for example.
Several therapies, associated with relaxation techniques, can manage hematophobia:
- a psychotherapy ;
- a psychoanalysis ;
- a cognitive and behavioral therapy (or including tax);
As with most phobias, medications (anxiolytics and antidepressants) can be used occasionally to relieve anxiety-related symptoms. The drugs used are anxiolytics or antidepressants. Other techniques can be effective on hematophobia, such as hypnosis, relaxation, mindfulness meditation or acupuncture.