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Blood Injection Phobia
Blood injection phobia is a fear of blood, injections or any other invasive body procedures. Classed as a subtype of specific phobias, the main symptomatic differences between blood injection phobia or other specific phobias such as claustrophobia or fear of heights, is that the patient suffering from the blood injection phobia will often faint during a phobic occurrence at the sight of blood or needles due to a drop in blood pressure.
Despite eliciting an initial response of increased blood pressure and heart rate as in other phobias, it is common for a drop in blood pressure to occur after the initial rise, resulting in the fainting response. The fear of fainting is often the main contributory factor towards the blood injection phobia.
Treatment for this phobia involves providing the client information as to why the body reacts in the fainting response whilst providing preventative measures to avoid fainting such as tensing certain groups of muscles. A graded exposure programme is implemented whereby the client is encouraged not to engage in his or her normal avoidance procedures and encouraged to look repeatedly at pictures of injections and blood samples. Automatic thoughts are challenged and the therapist will simulate a blood test with the client with artificial instruments. Coping strategies effective for each individual client are decided in a collaborative manner which may include distraction, retrieving pleasant memories, etc. Treatment prognosis is excellent.