Blood Phobia: A Clinical Overview

Blood phobia is a clinical term used to refer to a fear of having one’s blood drawn or seeing blood, which are both common reactions that can cause significant distress. This condition, also known as hemophobia, is an irrational fear of blood, and it is considered to be an intense and specific anxiety disorder (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). People who have a fear of blood may experience a variety of symptoms, including dizziness, faintness, a feeling of panic, nausea, sweating, and difficulty breathing (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

The exact cause of blood phobia is not known; however, it is believed to be linked to a traumatic event or experience (Klein, 2016). It is also possible that a person’s family history or genetics may be a factor in the development of this condition (Klein, 2016). Additionally, there is evidence to suggest that blood phobia may be associated with other anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (Rachman & de Silva, 1978).

People who suffer from blood phobia may experience a variety of reactions when confronted with blood. These reactions can range from mild to severe and may include symptoms such as nausea, faintness, shaking, trembling, sweating, and difficulty breathing (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). People with this condition may also have an intense fear of needles or medical procedures that involve blood (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

The treatment for blood phobia typically involves the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which is a form of psychotherapy that focuses on changing a person’s thoughts and behaviors (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Additionally, some medications, such as anti-anxiety medications, may be prescribed to help reduce the symptoms of this condition (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

Blood phobia is a condition that can cause significant distress and interfere with a person’s ability to function in daily life. It is important for individuals who are experiencing this condition to seek medical help in order to find the best treatment for their individual needs.


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Klein, R. (2016). Blood phobia: An overview. Clinical Psychology Review, 41, 72-77.

Rachman, S., & de Silva, P. (1978). Abnormal and normal obsessions. Behavior Research and Therapy, 16(4), 233-248.

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