Hemaphobia (Hemophobia or Hematophobia)Tweet
What is Hemaphobia?
Hemaphobia - Fear of blood.
Studies have indicated that a high proportion of blood-injury phobics (about seventy per cent) also suffer from injection phobia. However, a lower number of those who have injection phobia as their primary problem additionally report blood-injury phobia (about thirty-one per cent). Hence, although injection phobia can exist alone, it is quite common for it to be associated with blood-injury phobia. Also the majority of people with blood-injury phobia also have injection phobia as part of their condition. It can be readily appreciated that blood-injury-injection phobia has a significant and potentially dangerous effect on normal life.
Symptoms of Hemaphobia
A more or less unique characteristic of blood-injury injection phobia is the high incidence of fainting experienced by sufferers upon exposure to the feared stimulus. In any particular BII phobic sample, seventy per cent, or more, of the sufferers report fainting, which has usually occurred several times. In medical terms, this type of response is known as vasovagal syncope or 'emotional fainting' and it occurs as a result of reflex-like activity in the parasympathetic nervous system.
In essence, electrical activity in the parasympathetic fibres of the vagus nerve which supply the heart causes bradycardia (a fall in heartbeat rate), hypotension (a lowering of blood pressure), cerebral ischaemia and hypoxia (a lessening of the blood supply to the brain and consequent momentary lack of oxygen), all of which results in a brief loss of consciousness. In a small number of people, periods of cardiac asystole (no electrical output from the heart recorded on an ECG) lasting several seconds have been reported during the faint.
Diagnosis of Hemaphobia
In order to diagnose blood-injury-injection phobia, a preliminary interview takes place in which the person is asked a series of questions about their condition. The questions cover the nature of the fear experienced in relation to particular circumstances, whether the person faints or nearly faints, the degree of avoidance and the extent to which normal life is disrupted.
Treatment of Hemaphobia
In the case of blood-injury phobics, slides and video films would normally be used, possibly along with surgical instruments. For injection phobia, slides and films along with surgical needles can be employed to gradually increase the degree of exposure. In both instances, the patient usually starts by lying down to reduce the risk of fainting and then gradually progresses to sitting and standing as treatment continues.