Fear of Blood

haemophobia, fear of blood, faint or panic at the sight of blood, blood phobiaHaemophobia is an extreme and irrational fear of blood.

Many people are scared by the sight of blood, whether is be their own blood or someone else’s. The fear of blood for some phobic individuals their dread can be so extreme that they may faint at the sight of blood.

Fear and panic can create other extremely uncomfortable reactions such as dizziness, nausea, palpitations, shortness of breath, trembling and shaking.

Similar reactions can also occur with trypanophobia (extreme fear of medical procedures involving injections or needles) and traumatophobia (injury phobia). For this reason, these phobias are categorized as “blood-injection-injury phobia.” It is estimated that 3-4% of people suffer from some form of blood injection phobia.

Risk of fainting associated with haemophobia

Severe cases of haemophobia can result in fainting, uncommon in most other phobias.

Most types of specific phobia cause the heart rate and blood pressure to rise. Haemophobia and other blood-injection-injury phobias frequently cause a drop in blood pressure and heart rate. The sudden drop can lead to fainting, a relatively common response to the sight of blood

In recent years, the technique known as applied tension has become increasingly popular.  This is the technique of applying tension to the muscles in an effort to increase blood pressure. Applied tension has increasingly gained favour as the most effective treatment for fainting associated with fear of blood.

The applied tension technique is learned by working with a therapist. The fear response is triggered and when feelings of light-headed occur the muscles in the arms, legs, and body are tensed for about 10 to 15 seconds to raise blood pressure and prevent fainting. Once the technique  of applied tension has been mastered the patient is exposed you, step by step, to the situations that trigger the phobia.

Haemophobia may lead to medical conditions going untreated

The sight or even the thought of blood can be very upsetting to some people. People suffering from haemophobia will avoid donating blood and will use excuses such as not having time to spare or enough blood to donate.

There are also health risks associated with the fear of blood. It can prevent people from going to the doctor, getting routine blood tests, or following prescribed treatments.  Modern medicine is making increased use of blood tests and injectable medications. Avoiding or forgoing medical treatment completely because of a phobia puts people at a greater risk from illness and even death.

Treatment for haemophobia

De-sensitisation is a standard approach for haemophobia, as for many other phobias.

De-sensitisation or incremental acclimatisation means gradually exposing someone to the sight or thought of the object of their fear, in this case blood.

De-sensitisation while in hypnotic trance is a common hypnotherapeutic intervention that causes little distress and is safe as the client is seated in a chair throughout. Therefore fainting, if it occurs, presents no problem to health and safety. Since the blood is imagined the risks of this happening are greatly reduced and most people find hypnosis and hypnotherapy to be a pleasant and relaxing experience.

Haemophobia is a specific phobia, and responds well to hypnosis and hypnotherapy.