What is hematophobia and trypanophobia?

Hematophobia and trypanophobia or fear of blood, needles or syringes, is accompanied by strong anxiety about situations in which blood or needles could appear. For this reason, people with these mental health conditions usually avoid medical examinations or hospital stays altogether. They refuse vaccinations, blood tests or medical procedures, which in the long run increases the risk of health problems. With this type of phobia, studying medicine or nursing is practically impossible.

Hematophobia and trypanophobia are classified as specific phobias in the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) and they often co-occur with other phobias. As such, mild fear of blood or needles is normal, with epidemiological studies showing that more than ten percent of the population is well aware of this fear. However, this mental health disorder breaks out in about two to three percent of the population. Children in particular are often very scared of syringes. It is therefore always recommended to explain to them why any procedure where there are syringes is necessary. With a clear explanation, they are more likely to cope with vaccination or blood tests.

What are the causes of hematophobia and trypanophobia?

The cause of specific phobias such as hematophobia or trypanophobia are still unclear. These conditions may be developed by negative experiences, genetics, learned behavior, or an improper social environment. Many phobias develop as a result of negative experiences or a panic attack related to a particular object or situation. There is also a connection between one's own specific phobia and the phobia of one's parents. Last but not least, changes in brain functions also play a role in the development of specific phobias such as hematophobia or trypanophobia.

Interestingly, unlike with other phobias, the fear of blood or syringes is characterized by the so-called two-phase anxiety reaction. The initial short phase of panic and increased physiological activity with a rapid pulse, increased blood pressure and sweating, can be followed by a drop in blood pressure and a drop in heart rate up to 35-40 beats per minute. This can cause paleness, dizziness, or even fainting.

In addition to the most common fear of fainting, patients also fear loss of control, a panic attack, being ridiculed by others, or a broken and remaining needle in the body. Feelings of revulsion and disgust when confronted with blood or syringes are also relatively common.

How can hematophobia and trypanophobia be reduced?

VIRTUO is specialized in reducing hematophobia and trypanophobia. We use the most effective methods supported by years of research and practice. By providing information about important processes in the human body and engaging innovative technology, we will help you enjoy your everyday life after just a few sessions. During the sessions, we use a verified and effective technique of confrontation with a stimulus that causes anxiety. At VIRTUO, the confrontation takes place in virtual reality and follows only after mutual agreement. Another great advantage is that during the exposure, you are completely safe in the hands of an expert who will help you break the vicious circle of negative thoughts and fears.

An important step on your path to health is to realize that all physiological and psychological reactions follow certain patterns. Avoidant behavior is a habit that can be unlearned. Moreover, there are plenty of effective strategies that help you respond more calmly during unpleasant situations. Over the course of your sessions at VIRTUO, you gradually learn that anxiety-provoking situations are less dangerous than what they seem. You will learn what fear is, what happens with your brain and body when it arises and why it has become your constant companion. You will acquire effective techniques, thanks to which your hematophobia and trypanophobia will soon be a thing of the past. Our method requires your active cooperation. It works most effectively when it is adapted to your unique situation and when you regularly practice all the methods you have learned at VIRTUO.

Hematophobia and trypanophobia rarely disappear on their own. On the contrary, they tend to get worse over time. The sooner the affected individuals begin treatment, the more likely they are to get rid of them permanently. Although it is possible to successfully overcome hematophobia and trypanophobia within a few sessions, most patients do not receive any treatment.