Hemophobia: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Overview | Causes | Symptoms | Risks Factors | Diagnosis | Treatment | Tips |

Hemophobia is a type of phobia.

Hemophobia refers to the fear of blood.

Want to know more about Hemophobia? Read further.

We all know phobia is an anxiety disorder. It refers to a persistent, excessive, and unrealistic fear of an object, feeling, animal, Things, etc.

One of the many types of phobia is hemophobia. It refers to the fear of blood. The individuals having hemophobia, are experiencing extreme fear when they encounter blood. There can be many things you don’t know about it. So let’s explore hemophobia.

What is Hemophobia?

Hemophobia, which is an irrational fear of blood, can vastly impact your life if you are having this one.

Hemophobia falls under the category of “specific phobia”, and is a specifier of Blood-Injection-Injury (IIB) phobia, according to the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-D). Specific phobias often first arise in childhood, especially between the ages of 10 -13.

We all may fear a little bit on seeing blood  but that’s doesn’t mean that we all have hemophobia. A person suffering hemophobia feels extreme, irrational fear of blood. In fact, on seeing blood they may get fainted or may even need to hospitalize them. Although, hemophobia don’t include fear of needles or surgery (officially) but a homophobic patient may develop fest of needles or medical treatments because needles and medical treatments are supposed to deal with blood. Due to this, hemophobia can have a serious impact on your life, especially when you skip an important appointment of  your health care provider or quit your treatment which needs to be done.

Fainting on seeing blood is a normal reaction of a hemophobic individual. But it can lead to injuries for sure. Although, to tackle this condition (of fainting) you can opt applied tension therapy, which can prevent fainting by raising your blood pressure.

There are a wide range of treatments  available to treat hemophobia. If you don’t know, then read further to know all about it.

Fact: Around 3-4% of world’s population have IIB phobia.

Causes of Hemophobia:

Hemophobia is often related to other kind of phobias. Although, homophobia is a fear of blood, but it can also involve the fear with such substances or practices which can involve blood. For example, if a person have hemophobia, then he/she must be scared of blood. But, along with blood, they may develop fear of medical procedures, needles, treatments etc. Which can involve blood in any aspect. Some people with homophobic also have a fear of dentists or doctors. In movies and shows, they show so much spilt blood during medical treatments, which can make the patient form a perception that medical treatment must involve a lot of spilling of blood, even if it not necessary.

 These fears can have a great adverse effect on one’s health because these fears may keep the person away from any medical treatment or such, even if it is urgent.

Hemophobia is also associated with some health phobias, such as hypochondriasis and Nosophobia.

Hemophobia may be inherited sometimes and involves mostly those individuals who had a bad experience with blood, have been through a traumatic injury or illness etc.

Symptoms of Hemophobia:

  • Physical symptoms
  • Trouble breathing
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Fainting
  • Tightness in chest
  • Chest pain
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Shaking and trembling
  • Feeling nauseated around blood or injury
  • Light-headedness etc.
  • Emotional symptoms
  • Extreme fear
  • Extreme feeling of anxiety
  • Panicking
  • Anticipatory anxiety
  • Overwhelming feeling to escape situations involving blood 
  • Feeling as if you will pass out
  • Concerned about your loss of control
  • Feeling powerless in front of your fear
  • Detachment from self
  • Feeling unreal etc.

Hemophobia is unique because it also triggers or produce some conditions, which can not be found in other phobia’s cases. Hemophobia produce vasovagal response which refers to a drop in your heart rate and blood pressure, which response to a trigger such as sight of blood. It makes you feel dizzy or faint. This experience of vasovagal response is not found in any other general phobia.

Fact: According to a 2014 survey, about 80% people with IIB phobia, experiences a vasovagal response.

Symptoms in children —

  • Becomes clingy
  • Cry
  • Have tantrums 
  • Hide
  • Refuse to leave their caregiver’s side around blood etc.

Risks factors:

Hemophobia often occurs in combination with psychoneurotic disorders, such as —

  • Panic disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Animal phobia

Some additional risk factors are as follows —

  • Genetics
  • Anxious parents or caregiver
  • Overprotective nature of parents, family or caregivers
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Trauma etc.


The best thing about the diagnosis procedure of hemophobia is — It doesn’t include any type of medical equipment or needles. So, you can freely go for a hemophobia diagnosis, if you want or suspect yourself.

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and from how long your are experiencing the symptoms etc. Including your medical history along with your family history.

There is a formal manual officially recognized under the IIB category of phobias in the DSM-5, according to which the diagnosis of hemophobia is conducted.


If you fear such thing which is not a part of your daily life, then it’s not important to treat it. You can have it’s treatment but you can skip it also.

Whereas, if you have a phobia of some such thing, that you have chances of encounter with, then you must have a treatment to cure it. Hemophobia is also one of such phobias. Because it makes you avoid the treatment, doctor’s appointment, injections etc. Even if they are necessary to have.

Treatment options for hemophobia includes —

  • Exposure therapy
  • Cognitive therapy
  • Applied tension
  • Relaxation
  • Medications etc.

Along with these treatment, you must try yourself to overcome your fear of blood. For this, you can apply the following steps given —

  • Get help from friends and family to overcome your phobia.
  • Work through your fear hierarchy at your own pace
  • Start reading and research about blood tests and donations
  • Look at images of dark red dots and such images which resembles blood. On seeing these, convince yourself that these are just picture which could does not harm you and you are perfectly safe.
  • Watch videos of the blood being drawn for 10-15 seconds, stop it you begin to experience symptoms or you can’t handle it. Just practice this such that the time should be converted to 10-15 minutes, despite seconds.
  • Practice relaxation techniques while watching such videos is a must.
  • You can also watch videos of surgical treatment and procedures if you want to.
  • Go for a blood test or such procedures when you are ready.

Remember to follow these steps one by one in the given order.


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