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Understanding Hemophobia: Blood-Injury Phobia

Understanding Hemophobia: Blood-Injury Phobia

Can’t stand the sight of blood? Here’s what you need to know about treatment for blood-injury phobia.

If you have blood-injury phobia, the sight of blood makes you faint or feel nauseous, then you’re in the right place. You need to know about treatment for blood-injury phobia and what options are available so that you can decide which treatment or combination of treatments will be most effective in reducing or eliminating your fear of blood and injury. Blood-injury phobia (medically known as haemophobia) affects nearly 12% of the population worldwide and accounts for about 7 million emergency room visits per year in the United States alone, according to the National Blood Services Organization.

The signs and symptoms

Many people who suffer from blood injury phobia experience intense fear, anxiety, and panic when they see or are exposed to any kind of blood or injury. The most common symptoms include rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea, fainting (sometimes called syncope), dizziness and chills. It is not uncommon for some individuals to pass out at the site of blood or injury. If a person suffers from this type of reaction, he may also feel strong emotional reactions such as sadness, anger, frustration, embarrassment or shame. People with this phobia may avoid work in medical professions, have trouble functioning on a day-to-day basis because of their fear and anxiety, or use avoidance behaviors such as wearing long sleeves even in hot weather to cover their skin.

Treatments available

Many people with a fear of blood and injury will benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, or exposure therapy, which gradually exposes them to things they find frightening. Medication is sometimes used in conjunction with other treatments, but there are no medications specifically approved by the FDA for treating this type of fear. Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed to help manage anxiety symptoms related to the phobia. It’s important to note that antidepressants can take several weeks before their effects start being felt, so it may not be an effective option if someone is experiencing extreme distress due to their condition. The tricyclic antidepressant clomipramine may also be helpful in managing blood-injury phobias as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). If you or a loved one are suffering from blood injury phobia, you will need to see an expert in exposure therapy who is familiar with the use of applied pressure techniques.

Emetaphobia: Overcoming the Fear of Vomiting

Emetaphobia: Overcoming the Fear of Vomiting

Emetaphobia: Overcoming the Fear of Vomiting

The fear of vomiting, also known as emetaphobia, can be extremely debilitating and cause sufferers to miss work or school due to their fear that they may vomit in public. To overcome this overwhelming fear and keep from missing out on life’s opportunities, try these simple steps to help you understand your emetaphobia treatment options and overcome this debilitating phobia once and for all.

What is emetaphobia?

Emetaphobia, also known as vomit phobia, is a specific fear of vomiting. It is characterized by excessive concern and preoccupation with the possibility that one will vomit when traveling in a car, being embarrassed in public, and/or vomiting on oneself. Emetophobia may be caused by an underlying psychological disorder such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). For some people, emetophobia stems from traumatic experiences involving nausea or vomiting. As emetaphobics are likely to feel nauseous before they actually vomit, it can be difficult for them to differentiate between feeling sick and actually being sick.

How can I get help if I have emetaphobia?

If you have Emetaphobia, there are treatments available to help you overcome your fear. Evidence-based treatment for emetaphobia often involves exposure and response prevention and may also involve medications. Exposure therapy is when a person confronts their fears in a safe environment, such as a therapist’s office with that therapist present. Response prevention is when someone who has an anxiety disorder avoids the object or situation that triggers their anxiety until they learn to cope with it better. Medications can be used in conjunction with other forms of treatment to alleviate symptoms and make it easier for people to engage in psychotherapy or other types of therapy. If you or someone you love is suffering from emetaphobia, please contact us for treatment.

Differences in Early and Late Onset OCD

Differences in Early and Late Onset OCD

Pinto et al. (2006) defined OCD as “a neuropsychiatric condition characterized by recurrent intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors that the individual feels driven to perform (compulsions)” (pg.1 ).  The researchers sought to investigate predictors of remission/relapse among those treated for OCD.

Over five years, 293 adults were monitored and researchers measured their OCD symptoms. Researchers found those with early and late onset symptoms experience an increase in symptoms over time without effective treatment. Additional findings show a considerable amount of time between symptom onset and first initiation of treatment. Individuals in the study reported an average of 17 years from initial symptom experience to treatment initiation and 11 of delay from meeting diagnostic criteria for OCD until treatment initiation. Many clients reported spending a number of years misdiagnosed before initiating appropriate treatment for OCD.  

Researchers found the average onset for early onset OCD was 11-12 years old, while late onset OCD was 25-26 years-of-age. The first clinical symptom(s), obsessions and compulsions, 53% of participants indicated an obsession and 47% experiencing a compulsion. Interviews also found aggressive content obsessions, hoarding obsessions and compulsions as primary themes in distress. Contamination was shown as the most frequently reported subcategory for obsessions. Those with earlier onset symptoms also experienced higher rates of panic symptoms and disordered (Pinto et al., 2006).

Written by Perry Leynor, MA, LPC Associate supervised by Paula Maloney, LPC Supervisor.

Pinto, A., Mancebo, M. C., Eisen, J. L., Pagano, M. E., & Rasmussen, S. A. (2006). The Brown Longitudinal obsessive COMPULSIVE Study. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 67(05), 703-711. https://doi:10.4088/jcp.v67n0503

Identifying and Treating Race-based Trauma

Identifying and Treating Race-based Trauma

Statistics indicate the United States of America (USA) is becoming more diverse and a nation of plurality. Despite statistics, USA has consistently struggled with its ability to respect, accept, and include diverse populations. Individuals of color experience direct and indirect health care disparities such as unequal access to material, social, and educational resources on a prevalent and consistent basis. They are often not able to afford health insurance, in addition, experience racist behaviors and discrimination amongst healthcare providers.

Racial and ethnic discrimination can cause negative psychological consequences that cause race-related stress and could eventually cause race-based trauma (Hemmings & Evans 2018). These psychological issues encompass feelings of helplessness, paranoia, anxiety, fear, medical health issues, numbing to their emotions, denigration of one’s sociocultural in-groups, and the onset of PTSD.

One solution is improving the health of individuals of color. Healthcare professionals would need to make better efforts to address racism when working with minorities. Research shows facilitating multiculturally competent care would require awareness of race, racism, discrimination, and how these factors contribute to subpar healthcare practices (Hemming & Evans 2018). Multicultural training within the mental health field also needs to be improved. A solution would be more effective training and treatment models for counselors to be better prepared to establish a therapeutic relationship with a person of color.

Written by Victoria Fontenot – Behavior Therapist. To seek care with us – please call 972-332-8733.

Hemmings, C & Evans, A. M. (2018). Identifying and treating race-based trauma in counseling. Journal of Multicultural Counseling and Development, (4), 20-37. https://doi:10.1002/jmcd.12090

Offering Your Anxious Clients the Standard of Care

Offering Your Anxious Clients the Standard of Care

                              Offering Your Anxious Clients the ‘Gold Standard’ of Care

         Exposure therapy has long been supported as the ‘gold standard’ treatment for anxiety disorders. Despite strong empirical support for the effectiveness of exposure therapy, many therapists underutilize exposure therapy in the treatment of anxiety and related disorders.

Studies examining why clinicians tend to underutilize exposure therapy indicate several important factors.

These factors include:

  • Lack of appropriate training or supervision to learn these methods.
  • Holding negative or inaccurate perceptions about exposure therapy and when it is contraindicated.
  • Clinician belief that clients will reject the treatment, drop out of treatment, or that exposure therapy may cause harm to clients by asking them to engage with aversive experiences.

In summary, clinicians tend to underutilize the ‘gold standard’ of treatments for anxiety and related disorders because they tend to have little training or experience with it. A key factor in alleviating these issues is offering more training and consultation on utilization of exposure-based treatments.

If you would like to learn more about using exposure therapy in your practice:

  • Sign up for our blog, below.
  • Contact us at 972-332-8733 to join our consultation group or to set up individual case consultation.

     by Perry Leynor, LPC Associate under the supervision of Paula Maloney, LPC-S.    

Meyer, J. M., Farrell, N. R., Kemp, J. J., Blakey, S. M., & Deacon, B. J. (2014). Why do clinicians exclude anxious clients from exposure therapy? Behaviour Research and Therapy, 54, 49-53. https://doi:10.1016/j.brat.2014.01.004