Epistaxisophobia (phobia of nosebleeds): symptoms, causes, treatment

The world of phobias always involves very specific problems which, although affecting very few people, can turn into real nightmares. The case of epistaxisophobia is an example of this, because what produces intense fear is something that is usually not part of our usual worries, nosebleeds or nosebleeds.

In this article we will see what is epistaxisophobia, What are its symptoms and causes, and how do they intervene in this class of disorders of psychologists through psychotherapy.

    What is epistaxisophobia?

    As we have seen beforehand, epistaxisophobia can be summarized as an extreme fear of nosebleeds, usually his own.

    Of course, for it to be a true phobia, this alteration must be intense and persistent enough to significantly affect the quality of those who suffer from such experiences. How is this determined? The person experiencing these fear or anxiety attacks can decide whether the experience makes them more unhappy or not, but it is ultimately the mental health professionals who make the diagnosis.

    On the other hand, in the diagnosis, this type of experience does not have an official name, because there is a virtually unlimited amount of phobias, And that is why many of them come under the concept of specific phobia. This is also the case with epistaxisophobia.


      Phobias are a class of anxiety disorders, which is why most of the symptoms of epistaxisophobia are related to this phenomenon. These symptoms can be divided into three types: physiological, cognitive and behavioral.

      Among the physiological factors are the acceleration of the respiratory rate, increased blood pressure, tremors, nausea and dizziness, Cold sweat and paleness.

      On the other hand, in the symptoms of the cognitive type occurs the ideation of catastrophes (imagine the worst possible scenario) the impossibility of diverting the attention from what is frightening and the belief that one is powerless in the face of danger. .

      Finally, in the behavioral symptoms of epistaxisophobia are escape and avoidance behaviorsIn other words, actions aimed at avoiding the risk of a nosebleed or exposing other people to see it.

      the causes

      As with all of these anxiety disorders, epistaxisophobia does not have a single cause that is present in all patients with this phobia, but there are a multiplicity of factors that can lead to the development of this alteration.

      It is very common for it to appear as a result of one or more traumatic experiences, experienced with particular intensity and which may have left an important mark in the emotional memory of people.

      It is also possible that in a relatively large proportion of times a nosebleed has occurred, something bad has happened, which contributes to the fact that these experiences are no longer seen as something neutral beyond that. of the inconvenience of losing blood through the nose for a while.

      On another side, social pressure and possible loss of acceptance by others they can be oversized and be the main source of fear.

      In any case, both in this phobia and in the others, one of the aggravating factors of the anxiety attacks suffered by this disorder is the prediction that the symptoms of the phobia will manifest themselves. Which means the existence of the disorder feeds on itself, Create a vicious circle capable of ensuring that everything remains the same regardless of the number of years that pass.

      Treatment of this disorder

      Epistaxisophobia does not have a specific treatment, but the same procedures used in most phobias are applied: exposure, systematic desensitization and cognitive restructuring. Of course, in this case it is difficult to cause actual bleeding, so it is simulated (or you work with the exposure by imagination).

      The idea is to get the person used to exposing themselves to what scares them in a controlled environment, under the supervision of the therapist and following an upward curve of difficulty that prevents the patient from becoming frustrated. In this way, the person gets used more and more to face what scares them and to see that nothing bad is happening. faced with a controlled situation and at an acceptable level of difficulty, Progress is being made.

      By the end of treatment, the symptoms will have improved considerably, and while they probably won’t go away completely, if they stop being a major problem and prevent you from living a normal life.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Bados, A. (2005). Specific phobias. Faculty of Psychology. Department of Personality, Psychological Assessment and Treatment. University of Barcelona.
      • Bourne, EJ (2005). The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook. New publications from Harbinger.

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