What is hemophobia and how to deal with it

For many, going to take blood, go to the dentist, having to give an injection or see a wound can be unpleasant, uncomfortable or indifferent; but for some people it is intolerable to the point of leading them to faint.

Hematophobia is a specific phobia that can be described as an intense, irrational and persistent fear of seeing blood, suffering a wound, receiving an injection or any cruel medical act. It is one of the most frequent specific phobias in the general population and affects men and women in a similar way. This fear can generate a series of avoidance behaviors that affect health care, since it constitutes an obstacle to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases. These people tend to systematically postpone clinical studies, vaccinations, visits to the dentist and may even affect the people in their care, such as children or older adults, since it is impossible for them to accompany them in these activities.

To this situation is added the belief that its difficulty is "a way of being" and not usually see it as a specific disorder that has treatment. It can even affect the choice of jobs or professions; The expression "I would have studied medicine if it wasn't because I can't see blood" is more frequent than we imagine. In the case of women, it can be an influential factor when it comes to thinking about a pregnancy because of all the studies that this state entails and the possibility of facing a delivery or a C-section.

The phobias in general lines have three characteristics: first, the high level of anxiety generated in the presence or anticipation of the stimulus or feared situation; secondly, the uncontrollable desire to flee or escape, and finally the ability to recognize outside the phobic situation the exaggerated nature of such fear. But how do you experience this particular fear?

A specific psychophysiological response appears within phobias and anxiety disorders in general, which is what we call "biphasic response" where the person experiences an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and breathing becomes rapid and superficial; and a second moment where these levels decrease sharply, the heart rate slows and the blood pressure decreases and can lead to fainting.

These symptoms are usually accompanied by dizziness, nausea, confusion and weakness, and a feeling of "disgust" may occur in some people.

Some hypotheses that explain this peculiar reaction are based, from an evolutionary perspective, that the fear of blood as well as the fear of some potentially harmful animals would have an adaptive and favorable sense of the survival of the species by ensuring a rapid reaction. in situations with vital risk. The presence of blood would be one of them, indicating the presence of a danger to the integrity of the individual.

This type of fear and in particular fainting could be seen as an adaptive reaction to the possible loss of blood, since the abrupt decrease in blood pressure would reduce the alleged bleeding and facilitate coagulation

Regardless of whether this explains the specific type of hemophobia response, in it as in the rest of the phobias, the assessment and interpretation of the person's threat to the situation or the depositary object of their fear is crucial.

There are currently teffective ratations for this disorder that fundamentally include training in coping strategies, exposure to the feared situation and training in the technique of applied stress.

Degree in psychology

Specialist in cognitive behavioral therapy

The registration number is 25907

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