In A Better You, Phobias & Fears

Hemophobia or Fear of Blood

Hemophobia is the fear of blood and in some teens and college students it causes serious problems. The sight of blood from a cut or accident causes the individual to experience anxiety, nausea, vomiting, and fainting It is normal to feel some anxiety when seeing blood but this condition is excessive. This phobia means even blood from animals or photos upset the individual to the point of depression and fear. It occurs in both boys and girls.

The cause often is a traumatic event where the person or someone they know had an accident with blood or died. They may have been in serious accident with lots of blood or witnessed an accident. Someone they know may have died and lost blood. They person may get pale, feel weak and dizzy when viewing blood. They may go to great extremes to avoid situations with blood.

Those with phobia of blood might fear needles which are used to take blood sample and needles in general. Horror movies are often graphic and violent exploiting this fear. This fear can cause a person to avoid medical treatment when they need it. They may refuse medical and dental treatments when they are needed.


Sometimes children and adults bleed profusely this cause panic when it actually is not that serious. Even nosebleeds when someone is not used to them can be frightening. The problem is that often treating nosebleeds, cuts and bruises is avoided which can lead to a serious problem.

Some doctors think there might be a genetic cause for this phobia. Others think it is genetic and environmental factors that make individuals afraid of blood. Fear of blood often begins in early childhood. Kids often scream at the doctor’s when getting needles and seeing blood from their own cuts and bruises.

Kids with hemophobia tend to curtail activities. They might avoid hiking, biking or play contact sports for fear of injury. It might lead to isolation and the feeling of being cut off. The fear of giving blood and getting blood taken for medical tests often is another cause of hemophobia. Still, the most common causes of fear of blood phobia is seeing someone injured or being injured yourself.

In some cases teens or younger kids might develop the fear from parents or guardians that send negative messages that blood is frightening and filled with bacteria. Adults often convey the message with their own reaction to cuts, wounds, and blood. They hear message like if you lose too much blood you will die. What happens if you cannot stop the bleeding?

Nosebleeds are often caused by kids picking their nose Other reasons are a dry house, colds, and allergies. When the nose bleeds stops it forms a scab. So if a child keeps picking the nose it can keep bleeding. This leads to a fear of blood one has to teach the child to stop this habit. Behavioral therapy might be effective in this case.

Treatments for Hemophobia

Often treatment involves getting the teen or child on anti-depressants. Often those with the disorder receive counseling with a qualified social worker or therapist. Talking about the problem often helps the child cope better with it. It is better not to rely on medications for long periods of time as a way to deal with this fear.

One type of behavioral therapy used is desensitization. This means helping the child to learn to cope and get over the negative feelings associated with seeing blood. Often feeling are associated with a negative event or message that were learned from the family. They may expose patients to a drop or blood or photos letting them get closer and closer to the trigger. Controlled breathing and rewards such as candy or gifts are ways that the therapy works. This treatment is effective but takes patience and many sessions to be effective.

This might start with the patient thinking about blood without seeing any siting in a room. After that they may show the patient photos with blood so they eventually get used to looking at photos After that the patient may be exposed to seeing a few drops of real blood in a room at a distance. Eventually the patient will be required to look at the blood close up for longer periods of time. Over time the exercise might include being exposed to patients with cuts and wound with blood in a normal situation not emergency.

Another therapy used for those scared of blood is cognitive therapy. This therapy looks for thoughts patterns that create the fear. Negative thoughts are replaced with more positive thoughts that you repeat to yourself when the negative thoughts arise. This therapy is less traumatic then desensitization but often not as effective. Other procedures involved in cognitive therapy are writing in a journal, biofeedback, and controlled breathing.

Medications that may be prescribed by the doctor for this illness are beta blockers. They block the effects of adrenaline in the body and its effects. It make the heart pound and the body sweat. Short term use of this drug can be effective with desensitization therapy. Other medications prescribed are anti-depressants for mood and mild sedatives.

Exposure therapy is the premise of exposing the person to the fear to get them to learn to cope with it. There are a number of different exposure therapies for treatment of hematophobia. The reason the child, teen or young adult stays afraid is that they avoid situation with blood. These type of therapies make the person enter situations where they must see blood and deal with it. In vivo exposure the therapy involve confronting the phobia gradually over time. Desensitization therapy is a good example of in vivo exposure therapy. Participants modeling is another therapy where the therapist guides the person and tells them how to interact or handle the fear. This is another form of exposure therapy.

Applied muscle tension is often used for those that fear needle injections and taking blood samples. It uses muscle tension exercises to decrease blood pressure which often leads to feeling faintness or fainting when seeing blood. Before deciding on the best course of treatment for your child or teen talk with your doctor. They can often recommend a qualified doctor, or therapist for treatment of this disorder.

Check with your local hospital psychiatric unit for possible treatments and therapies for hemophobia. Since they deal with blood as large part of their work they may have treatments for hemophobic individuals in the hospital. Don’t let your child’s fear of blood become too severe. If it disrupting their life get treatment so they can cope with the fear effectively. Both boys and girls suffer from hemophobia and it often starts in childhood.

Early treatment is often the most way to deal with hemophobia so it does not become a major problem in later years. Seek out reliable treatments from doctors, social workers,and psychiatrists.

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