Hemophobia is an extreme fear of blood. It causes you to recoil, or even faint at the sight of it. Everyone has fears, but they only become problematic when they prevent you from living a normal life. Obviously you can’t have a fear of blood when you work in the healthcare field. There are lots of jobs in healthcare that don’t involve blood, but it’s nearly impossible to go your whole career without dealing with your hemophobia. Take a look at these five ways to deal with your fear so you don’t have to find a new job.
Prepare Yourself Mentally to See Blood
Image via Flickr by La Melodie
If you have a mild case of hemophobia, you can sometimes prevent yourself from freaking out at the sight of blood by preparing yourself mentally for the situation. For instance, if you know you’re about to walk into a procedure room and see blood, you can spend a minute telling yourself it is going to be okay. Plus, simply knowing there is going to be blood helps you accept the situation before it happens and cope. Of course, mentally preparing to see blood doesn’t work in all cases of hemophobia. In fact, some people with hemophobia have anxiety even when thinking about blood.
Undergo Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Your Hemophobia
For severe hemophobia, you may need to see a therapist for cognitive-behavioral therapy. Without this treatment, it may be impossible to have a job in healthcare. The idea of cognitive-behavioral therapy is to replace your fearful tendencies with healthier responses when you see blood. This takes a lot of practice, but you can get rid of your hemophobia, or at least find a way to cope with it. Most people with hemophobia have experienced something traumatic in their life that involves blood. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a way to address the traumatic experience and desensitize yourself.
Learn as Much About Blood as Possible
Education is one of the best treatments for any fear, so learn as much about blood as possible and you may be able to better cope with your hemophobia, even in the healthcare field. For instance, when you get an online nursing degree, you learn about red blood cell counts, vein pathways, phlebotomy, and several other aspects related to blood. You have to know even more about blood if you want to be a doctor. The more you know about blood, the less likely you are to freak out when you see it. So, your hemophoba can improve when you’re in college before you find a healthcare job.
Get a Prescription from Your Doctor for Anxiety
Another thing you can try to deal with your hemophobia is anxiety medication. It helps you remain calm in stressful situations. Anxiety medication isn’t something that you want to use your entire life, but it can definitely help you deal with your hemophobia until you are able to face your fear of blood head on. Through gradual exposure, you can learn to cope and even overcome hemophobia. Then, you won’t need anxiety medication for it anymore.
Avoid Looking Directly at Blood
Avoiding blood isn’t going to help you overcome your hemophobia, but it’s definitely a coping mechanism that can help you in several healthcare settings. For instance, if you know you’re going to get your blood drawn, simply look away while it’s happening. Then, ask the phlebotomist to hide the blood so you never have to see it. Of course, this doesn’t work in all healthcare settings. However, it works if you have a minor degree of hemophobia and the type of job you want in healthcare doesn’t directly deal with blood.
You can cope with your hemophobia, but it’s going to take time and practice before you’re truly immune to the sight of blood. In some cases, you may never completely get over your fear. It’s practically impossible to go your entire career without seeing blood if you work in healthcare. However, there are lots of healthcare jobs where you have minimal exposure to situations with blood that you can do.