Hemophobia is the subjective term for an irrational fear of blood. It is the aversion and fear that a person experiences at the sight and contact of blood. The aversion may be so extreme that the person suffering from blood phobia, may exhibit signs of extreme anxiety and terror even on looking at pictures and videos, where blood or bloodshed is depicted.
The physical manifestation of such a weird phobia may take the form of abnormal decrease in the heart rate, decreased blood pressure, cold and sweaty palms and soles, nausea, unconscious spell, etc.
Among all bodily fluids, blood has always held a significant position in all world cultures since ancient times. Blood was believed to be the carrier of life force and vitality and as such, a loss of blood was often considered as a partial loss of vitality and life force.
Also, in many cultures, which have ancient roots, blood is associated with the dark arts and witchcraft. Therefore, blood has both positive and negative cultural connotations and as such, is considered to hold mysterious and magical qualities.
The fact that man fears what he does not understand is an axiomatic truth. Due to this ambiguous stand on the nature of blood, mankind has never quite been comfortable when exposed to blood - whether such exposure is visual, olfactory, or tactile.
Therefore, at a chromosomal level of psycho genetic development, this discomfort with regards to blood, has been carried down through all generations of human and civilization's evolution.
We all have our reasons for feeling uncomfortable in the presence of blood. Most of it arises from deep-rooted psychological concerns over hygiene and fear of infection. However, when such fear crosses the limits of rationality, there is much more to it than the aforementioned causes.
Most of the time, this morbid fear and inexplicably strong aversion towards blood is a result of witnessing any gory or violent incident (accident, murder, violent death, physical torture, etc.) in one's early childhood.
The image of such an incident may have got deeply imprinted upon the subconscious of the juvenile mind and the incident itself may have been pushed out of the conscious memory, but its existence in the subconscious mental realm, often manifests as an irrational disgust or fear of blood.
Many a time, such a fear may stem out of an irrational fear of death or dying (thanatophobia), accident, or injuries. Genetic predisposition may also be a significant cause of the same. Though, not one of the most common phobias, hemophobia is a serious psychological condition and may have serious implications upon a person's life and habits.
How to Get Over It?
Hemophobia is a clinically treatable condition and can be successfully overcome, with the help of psychotherapy tools, such as, cognitive behavioral therapy, desensitization, and anxiety treatment. Hypnotherapy is also considered to be extremely effective when dealing with the fear of blood.
The first step towards overcoming hemophobia is to convince yourself that, blood is just a body fluid, which is present in all animals. It even runs in your veins and there is nothing sinister about it.
Just like water would flow out, if a water balloon is cut or burst, similarly, blood flows out when the skin or flesh is cut due to an injury or during a surgical process, or when the capillaries burst.
There is nothing unusual about this thick red fluid - on the contrary, it does a whole lot of good to the body by carrying nutrition to all its parts, assisting in delivering oxygen to them, and carrying the wastes out of the body. Learn to see blood in a positive, scientific, and realistic way, and you'll no longer have any reason to fear it.