What is Epistaxiophobia?

Epistaxiophobia is the fear of having or seeing nosebleeds or bleeding to death.

Epistaxiophobia is considered a specific phobia and it is also related to Hemaphobia, Haemaphobia, Hematophobia, and Hemophobia (which are all the fear of blood or transfusions).

The Greek root words 'epi' means 'above', 'over', 'on', or 'upon' and 'staxis' means 'the escape of blood from the vessels' or 'bleeding' while the word 'phobia' comes from the Greek word ‘phóbos’ meaning 'fear.'

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Symptoms of Epistaxiophobia

  • Extreme Anxiety, Dread

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Rapid Breathing
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dry Mouth
  • Confusion / Inability to Articulate Clearly
  • Lack of Focus
  • Irritability
  • Shaking
  • Feelings of Powerlessness
  • Obsession with the Subject of the Phobia
  • Fear or Feelings of Losing Control
  • Avoidance Behavior
  • Headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms ›

Causes of Epistaxiophobia

Some cultures and religious sects believe that the loss of blood is the loss of life. The belief system says that “life is in the blood”. The loss of blood is often considered a loss of an individual’s life force. This can be considered a fearful prospect by those who accept this belief.

When sufferers have a bloody nose they may begin to believe the injury is life threatening especially if they struggle to get the bleeding under control.

Sufferers may have observed someone who had a nosebleed. The prognosis may have been a blood vessel that was hard to control. The nosebleed may have been the result of a physical fight or it could be related to a greater illness. Any of these potentials can create an atmosphere perfect for the growth of a fully developed phobic response.

Epistaxiophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies.

Epistaxiophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias ›

Treatments for Epistaxiophobia

  • Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

  • Habit Strategies To Relax
  • Cognitive Therapy (CT)
  • In Vivo Exposure
  • Response Prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments ›

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