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Blood phobia (also, AE: Hemophobia, BE: Haemophobia) is the extreme and irrational fear of blood. Like trypanophobia and traumatophobia, acute cases of this fear can cause physical reactions that are uncommon in most other fears, specifically Vasovagal Syncope (fainting).[1] These three phobias are often categorized as "blood-injection-injury phobia" (the phrasing used by the DSM-IV)[2] or "blood-injury-illness phobia."[3]


Blood phobia is often caused by direct or vicarious trauma in childhood or adolescence.[3] There is also a genetic component to blood phobia.[4]


In patients with vasovagal blood phobia, patients who are successfully treated with psychological interventions are seen as unique.[5] In contrast, many behavioral techniques useful in mitigating vasovagal syncope, such as applying tension to the muscles in an effort to increase blood pressure, are helpful to patients with blood phobia.[6] Medical devices, such as pacemakers, are also used to treat patients with blood-phobia.[5]


  1. The Merck Manual. URL accessed on 2007-05-19.
  2. Lipsitz, JD; Barlow, DH; Mannuzza, S; Hofmann, SG; Fyer, AJ (Jul), "Clinical features of four DSM-IV-specific phobia subtypes", The Journal Of Nervous And Mental Disease 190 (7): 471-8 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Thyer, Bruce A.; Himle, Joseph; Curtis, George C. (Jul), "Blood-Injury-Illness Phobia: A Review", Journal Of Clinical Psychology 41 (4): 451-9 
  4. Neale, MC; Walters, EE; Eaves, LJ; Kessler, RC; Heath, AC; Kendler, KS (December 15, 1994), "Genetics of blood-injury fears and phobias: a population-based twin study", American Journal Of Medical Genetics 54 (4): 326-34 
  5. 5.0 5.1 Van Dijk, Nynke; Velzeboer, Simone CJM; Destrée-Vonk, Anneke; Linzer, Mark; Wieling, Wouter (January 2001), "Psychological treatment of malignant vasovagal syncope due to bloodphobia.", Pacing And Clinical Electrophysiology 24 (1): 122-4 
  6. Peterson, Alan L. (Lt. Col.); Isler III, William C. (Capt.) (September 2004), "Applied tension treatment of vasovagal syncope during pregnancy", Military Medicine 169 (9): 751-3 

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