Medical student phobia to blood?

Haiz.. Very sadly, yeah, i think i am.. It’s quite shameful to say out but it’s just the fact and i hope can overcome this ASAP.. Anyone suffering from the same condition and has overcome it?

Come and share your experiences with me la..

Symptoms of Blood Phobia – Fear of blood:
breathlessness, excessive sweating, nausea, dry mouth, feeling sick, shaking, heart palpitations, inability to speak or think clearly, a fear of dying, becoming mad or losing control, a sensation of detachment from reality or a full blown anxiety attack.

These are the symptoms and i will just share some of my experiences with you all..

  1. I feel that my breathing rate is getting faster and faster..
  2. Then my heart beat is catching up as well..
  3. I feel a bit giddy..
  4. I feel a bit hot, starting to sweat..
  5. I feel that my shirt is wet..
  6. Sweat keeps coming out..
  7. Vision started to blur..
  8. Weakness in my whole body
  9. Lastly,face pale!!

This event usually occurs for 5-10 minutes and after that everything will be normal.. including dealing with blood.. no more recurrent of symptoms..

Is this phobia to blood? Yeah, i think so.. unless there is other physiological problem in my body 🙂

Anyway, really hope to overcome this!!!!

More info about blood phobia.. Quoted from different websites..

HOW CAN I OVERCOME MY PHOBIA?

People with phobias have become ‘conditioned’ to produce the fear reaction in situations which aren’t really dangerous at all. The best way to counter this is by ‘de-conditioning’: training themselves to react correctly.

This is done by gradually exposing themselves to the things they fear, and experiencing the fears without running away, and so becoming less sensitive to them.

The idea is simple, but it calls for a fair amount of courage and determination. The help of family and friends can make self-treatment much easier to manage, and this is also why many people prefer to join a self-help group where they can get support from people in a similar situation. Desensitisation in medical phobias is bound to depend on the co-operation of caring dentists, doctors and nurses, and help from a psychiatrist or clinical psychiatrist may also be needed.

Anyone who decides to try desensitisation needs to draw up a personal ‘training programme’. This means working out what they can do now, deciding what they want to be able to do at the end, and fitting as many gradual ‘exposure’ steps in between as they need. The first step can be as simple as staying in a situation that can just be managed now, but for a little longer than before.

Obviously these phobias take many different forms, and different people’s phobias are at many different levels and may focus on many different fears. However, here are some suggestions for how desensitisation could be handled.

1. Blood phobia

Treatment for blood phobia involves gradually increasing the tolerance for blood by exposing the sufferer to situations involving it. This is done via a series of steps starting with what is just possible and working through until a normal level of response is reached. (According to research, this often includes becoming a blood donor once the problem has been overcome!) However, because of the problems of fainting and lowered heart rate with some blood phobics, the exposure work is best done under the guidance of a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. At the very least, it should be closely monitored by a health professional.

2. Injection phobia

The levels of anxiety in different individuals are so different that it is not possible to offer a single series of exposure steps applicable to all cases, but there are some suggestions that would be worth considering for anyone starting desensitisation.

Work out if the environment makes a difference. Do doctors’ surgeries and hospitals bring on the anxiety regardless of whether an injection is a possibility? If so, work out a programme of steps that will reduce this, such as sitting in the waiting room with things to do such as reading, listening to a personal stereo, etc. Keep a written record of anxiety feelings and levels as the situation changes (people looking afraid, unwell, holding swabs to arms etc.). Most clinics and hospitals will be aware of the problem and will not object to such activity. Build up to actually watching somebody being injected if this is possible. If this is not a reasonable step (some people feel worse in such situations), get help from a professional or a friend, using relaxation techniques or ways of distracting your thoughts if you cannot avoid having to wait with others facing injections.

SOME HINTS FOR SELF-EXPOSURE WORK

  • The first step in the programme can be very simple – perhaps staying in a situation that can just be managed now, but for a little longer than before.

  • The steps can be as large or as small as necessary, and big steps can be broken down into smaller ones. However, it is important to make sure that each step challenges the anxiety a little more than the last.

  • Don’t be overwhelmed by the size of the task. As a rule, the steps become steadily easier as you work through them.

  • Don’t expect to be completely free from anxiety before you leave each step and go onto the next – it will go completely in its own time as you progress.

  • Do the exercises as often as you can. You are trying to build up positive memories to replace all the bad ones of being beaten by the phobia, and too long a gap between efforts makes this more difficult.

  • ‘Fantasy exposure’ can also be useful. This is working through the dreaded situation in the mind, and accepting the anxiety this causes until the person can think through the whole process without trying to avoid anxiety symptoms. Handling a syringe and talking to those responsible for injecting can also be linked into the steps at some point.

  • An hour or so of self-exposure work at a time and repeating this every day is best. Waiting until you feel ‘strong’ or until you cannot avoid it any longer is not a positive approach.

  • Do enough at each step to increase your anxiety. You are trying to raise the level of physical symptoms that you can manage, and where you are in control.

  • If it is possible to find someone to work with, who can talk to you calmly and positively while you are doing the steps (not over-sympathising or endlessly asking how bad you are feeling) this can help.

  • When the work becomes hard, remind yourself that running away from the phobic situation keeps you phobic, while holding on through the anxiety that it brings helps to break the phobia down. However, don’t torture yourself with this. If the problem simply doesn’t respond to self-help, ask your GP to refer you to a clinical psychologist. Alternatively, contact your local department of psychology yourself and ask what professional help is available in your region. (Some departments take direct referral.)

  • Relaxation techniques can be helpful in tackling the next step, and it is easy to practice relaxation in the privacy of your own home.

  • If the steps you have chosen prove impossible, of if you are depressed or have other severe anxiety problems, then professional help from a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist may be needed. You can reach such professionals through your GP; and in any case we recommend that you contact your GP and talk to him or her about your disorder.

What is the cause of Blood Phobia?

Like all fears and phobias, blood phobia is created by the unconscious mind as a protective mechanism. At some point in your past, there was likely an event linking blood and emotional trauma. Whilst the original catalyst may have been a real-life scare of some kind, the condition can also be triggered by myriad, benign events like movies, TV, or perhaps seeing someone else experience trauma.

But so long as the negative association is powerful enough, the unconscious mind thinks: “Ahh, this whole thing is very dangerous. How do I keep myself from getting in this kind of situation again? I know, I’ll attach terrible feelings to blood, that way I’ll steer clear in future and so be safe.” Just like that blood phobia is born. Attaching emotions to situations is one of the primary ways that humans learn. Sometimes we just get the wiring wrong.

The actual phobia manifests itself in different ways. Some sufferers experience it almost all the time, others just in response to direct stimuli. Everyone has their own unique formula for when and how to feel bad.

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About LWJ

A doctor in Hospital Sultanah Aminah Johor Bahru (HSAJB).