Blood phobia: symptoms and causes of hematophobia
Why do some people faint when they see a drop of blood?
The blood phobiaalso known as hematophobiais one of the phobias that generate the most interest, possibly for a rather simple reason: there are many people who do not like the sight of blood, and therefore may wonder whether they are experiencing hematophobia or not.
However, the fact that there are not too many fans of blood and wounds does not mean that blood phobia is widespread, far from it. The very definition of what is meant by phobia indicates that they only occur in cases where the levels of stress and discomfort associated with a type of stimulus impair the person's quality of life and prevent them from carrying out everyday activities naturally. That is why hematophobia has much more serious implications than simply trying not to hurt oneself..
Ultimately, blood phobia is a psychological disorder that is sometimes a reason for psychological intervention. psychological intervention. This type of phobia can become a problem, but in most cases the symptoms can be mitigated to a point where they hardly interfere with daily life. But in order to know through which mechanisms the phobia can be can be "cured" blood phobia first you need to understand what it is and on what psychological processes it is based.
What is blood phobia?
Hematophobia is a fear of blood (and situations that are perceived as directly or indirectly related to it) that is disabling to lead a normal life. Thus, the phobia of blood can appear at the sight of this substance, but also at the sight or imagination of a vaccination prick or a wound in which a person has or a wound on which a scab has formed, among many other situations. In short, the symptoms of blood phobia have to do both with the most basic and "raw" perceptions related to blood and with the somewhat more abstract ideas related to it.
But in addition to being associated with fear of one's own or other people's blood, hematophobia is based on another aspect of panic: the fear of the symptoms themselves that generate these crises.. That is why blood phobia is based in part on the phenomenon of the fear of fearcharacteristic that it shares with phenomena such as agoraphobia.
Therefore, the fear behind blood phobia has nothing to do with the physical pain itself, but with the idea of blood flowing in the body. the idea of blood flowing and spilling. It is a a more irrational than practical terrorIt is a terror that is more irrational than practical, since what we flee from is not the situations that endanger our life or someone else's, but the signs of these potentially dangerous situations.
Symptoms of hematophobia
What is unique about blood phobia is that the crises that it produces end up leading to fainting quite often, something that does not happen in other types of phobias.something that does not occur in other types of phobias. Although fainting is related to panic attacks, the truth is that this is not a typical symptom of most phobias, which manifest themselves through a sudden increase in tension, the appearance of extraordinarily high levels of stress and the feeling of needing to leave the place and move away from the stimulus that has triggered the episode.
Blood phobia, however, the phobic episode has two phases, rather than a single phase.. After the heart rate and the entry into alertness, there is a sudden drop in Blood Pressure that sometimes leads to fainting because not enough oxygen reaches the brain. Thus, the second phase of hematophobia cancels out the effects of the first phase and even causes the blood pressure to plummet.
Thus, the symptoms of blood phobia reflect the diphasic functioning of this phenomenon. Typical symptoms of hematophobia include dizziness and fainting, panic attacks, nausea and a feeling of profound disgust.
What are the causes of blood phobia?
The reasons for the appearance of blood phobia are not known exactly, although it has been found that blood phobia can be caused by a variety of causes.However, it has been shown that whether or not one descends from a family in which someone experiences hematophobia is a very powerful factor in estimating the chances of having phobic episodes of this type; blood phobia is partly explained by genetics.
It is also considered that hematophobia can develop as a result of past experiences, i.e. from learning and memories. It is not strange to consider that hematophobia can arise as a consequence of experiences, considering that this substance usually appears in painful or unpleasant occasions. Thus, from the behaviorist perspective, blood phobia can be caused by associating this stimulus to the pain generated by an accident, health treatments, etc.
Can blood phobia be useful?
Also it has even been proposed that the phobia of blood could be based on a survival mechanism which can sometimes be useful. After all, the sudden drop in blood pressure means that less blood is lost in the event of the substance bursting from one's own wounds. However, this hypothesis based on the adaptive potential of blood pressure lowering remains rather a speculation that is difficult to prove.
In any case, it should be made clear that the main defining characteristic of blood phobia is that it is not useful at all, quite the contrary. Although evolution may have favored the spread of certain genes related to hematophobia, the living conditions of modern humans are very different from those of hundreds of thousands of years ago. Today, blood tests and vaccinations are of utmost importance, and the fact that every day we interact with many people and are exposed to all kinds of activities (including seeing real or fictitious images in which blood appears) makes blood phobia a problem that, depending on its intensity, can become very disabling.
Combating blood phobia
Can blood phobia be "cured"? There are multiple treatments and strategies for dealing with hematophobia, but none are based on reading texts; curbing blood phobia requires a live approach to the subject and the performance of certain exercises under the supervision and personalized treatment of an expert.
Among the most useful tools when it comes to making hematophobia disappear are those that are usually used in the course of cognitive-behavioral therapies, which are based on the behavioral approach and emphasize desensitization so that we become accustomed to blood.
One of the most commonly used techniques in this and many other phobias is gradual exposure to the phobic stimulus, in this case blood.in this case blood. Throughout several sessions, the person with a diagnosed phobia is gradually exposed to situations that produce anxiety, going from the mildest to those involving a more direct and close contact with blood.
Another useful tool is the learning of instructions that must be followed mentally in a sequential way and that have to do with the implementation of relaxation techniques and routines of approach to what produces fear.
It is worthwhile to look for a solution
Experiencing dizziness when having blood drawn is a relatively common occurrence, but does not have to be synonymous with hematophobia. Blood phobia can be more or less severe and can present itself in a more or less severe and annoying manner, but it always entails problems related to day-to-day life and not so much to specific experiences..
Experiencing blood phobia means going through problems related to avoiding medical treatments and vaccinations, refusing help to injured people, avoiding performing tasks where there is a minimal possibility of causing injury (cooking, hiking, etc.) or, in the case of women, not being able to consider giving birth. That is why it is worthwhile to turn to certified specialists and receive their personalized attention and a diagnosis that allows treatment planning.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)