Sanguivoriphobia is the irrational fear of vampires. This phobia has a rich history thanks to the very popular Dracula movies. The first Dracula movie was released in 1931 and may have helped to put sanguivoriphobia into the mainstream of many US households.
Sanguivoriphobia can be commonly seen in those who are firm believers in conspiracy theories. This is due to the large number of conspiracy theorists who believe that vampires actually do exist.
So, while some people may realize that their fear of vampires is very irrational, there are others who believe it to not only be sane, but also that their fear helps to protect themselves from a very real and serious threat.
Sanguivoriphobia is quite different from other phobias like cynophobia (fear of dogs) or selachophobia (fear of sharks) because the latter two are real creatures that can actually pose real threats. There is absolutely no evidence that vampires exist or have ever existed. However, with a modicum amount of “vampire sightings” and increased mainstream appeal, the vampire conspiracy lives on to this day.
Symptoms of Sanguivoriphobia
The symptoms associated with sanguivoriphobia are quite diverse. Some people may go as far as to make certain major life decisions based on their fear of vampires, such as where they choose to live. For example, they may consciously choose to live in cities, far away from forests. However, such an action will depend on how severe their symptoms of sanguivoriphobia are.
Someone with this phobia may experience great amounts of anxiety and dread at the mere thought of vampires. This irrational fear may make if very difficult for them to live a normal life, especially if they also have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Someone with sanguivoriphobia may find it virtually impossible to watch a TV show or a movie that portrays vampires in any way. Doing so may give them high amounts of anxiety and stress. So, they will most likely avoid watching such shows. Someone suffering from sanguivoriphobia may also have a deep fear of Halloween (samhainophobia) due to the slight association of the two phobias.
Like with most phobias, avoidance of that which they fear is among one of the most common symptoms of this condition. So, this will mean avoiding TV shows, movies, events, and anything else that will or may involve depictions of vampires in any way shape or form. Fortunately, vampire depictions are not very common in most societies. So, this means that someone with sanguivoriphobia will not have to put forth much effort trying to avoid vampire depictions.
Below, you will see some common symptoms of this phobia:
- Intense anxiety thinking about vampires
- Irrationally fearful of vampire movies
- May avoid places or films that include vampire depictions
- Out of touch with reality
- Overly concerned about their safety
Causes of Sanguivoriphobia
There are many different reasons why someone may develop sanguivoriphobia. In fact, there is no doubt that genetics and one’s environment both play very significant roles in someone developing mental illness. Someone who has the genetic makeup to be predisposed to develop a mental disease may have an increased chance of developing sanguivoriphobia.
Such a genetic predisposition could mean that your parents or other close relatives also suffered from phobias or anxiety disorders. Though there may not be a direct link, it still sheds light of whether or not someone has the genetics to develop sanguivoriphobia.
As far as environment goes, the increased depiction of vampires in cinematic films may have helped to enhance or reinforce the fears that some people may have already had about vampires. Such films may have also evoked enough fear in some people for them to develop full-blown sanguivoriphobia. These environmental factors, such as growing up hearing about vampires or seeing other information about them as a youth may also be causes for someone developing sanguivoriphobia.
Like with virtually all other mental disorders, there is no clear-cut answer to what causes specific conditions. However, it goes without question that genetics and one’s environment are likely to be very pertinent when looking at the potential causes of sanguivoriphobia. Discussing your symptoms with your doctor or therapist may shed some light as to why you may have developed this phobia. Identifying such information may also make treating sanguivoriphobia easier.
There is no specific treatment for sanguivoriphobia. However, talk therapy may be able to help minimize symptoms. This can be an opportunity to uncover some underlying reasons as to why the patient would be extremely fearful of vampires in the first place.
To get the most out of your treatment, it may be in your best interest to find a therapist who has a lot of experience with treating phobias. Therapists specialize in many different areas, so it may be important that your therapist is adept at treating specific phobias such as sanguivoriphobia.
Exposure therapy may also be very effective at treating sanguivoriphobia. In this context, it would work by slowly exposing the patient to pictures or videos of vampires. The goal would be to try desensitize the patient to their fear of vampires. Upon first showing them pictures or videos of vampires they will likely feel heightened amounts anxiety and stress. Overtime, these emotions may minimize in intensity and in frequency.
Medications such as anti-anxiety or antidepressants may also be able to help, but this is something that should be thoroughly discussed by you and your doctor before you make a decision to take any particular medicine. If you’re concerned about whether or not you have sanguivoriphobia, then you should make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to either begin treatment or to be sent to an appropriate specialist (e.g. psychiatrist, therapist, etc.)
Even though medication may be able to help minimize your symptoms and overall reduce the amount of stress from your sanguivoriphobia, it is still very important for you to learn the skills necessary to change your behavior. Such adeptness cannot be acquired simply by taking medication. Nevertheless, this is something that should be discussed by you and your doctor.
Exposure Therapy for Sanguivoriphobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as sanguivoriphobia. It can be an efficient way to help desensitize the patient to their specific fears. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the therapist implementing it on their patient is very adept at doing so. For example, if the therapist were to slightly expose someone with sanguivoriphobia to their fear, then it may not be very effective as they may need a higher amount of exposure to truly trigger any sort of worthwhile change in the patient.
The same can be said for the antithesis of this scenario. If the therapist were to excessively expose someone with sanguivoriphobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their sanguivoriphobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with sanguivoriphobia has a very strong sense of just how severe their symptoms are so that they can know the level of exposure that the patient will likely be able to handle.
Working Out for Sanguivoriphobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including sanguivoriphobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.
According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of sanguivoriphobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.
There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of sanguivoriphobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with sanguivoriphobia over time.
Yoga Sessions for Sanguivoriphobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from sanguivoriphobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with sanguivoriphobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.
There are many different types of yoga that someone with sanguivoriphobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with sanguivoriphobia.
If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of sanguivoriphobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Sanguivoriphobia
MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from sanguivoriphobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with sanguivoriphobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.
Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of sanguivoriphobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Psychiatric Medications for Sanguivoriphobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe sanguivoriphobia due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.
These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their sanguivoriphobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.
These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression as they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as sanguivoriphobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of sanguivoriphobia.
These types of drugs are typically taken on a daily basis. They can indeed help prevent panic attacks from occurring, but they are more so used to help reduce people’s daily anxiety. Talk to your doctor to see if taking antidepressants can help to reduce your symptoms of sanguivoriphobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Sanguivoriphobia
CBT is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve one’s mental health. It is a modality that is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. Someone with sanguivoriphobia may also be able to benefit from CBT as well seeing as how it would allow them to have a much better understanding as to why they think and behave the way they do in relation to their irrational fears.
CBT can be immensely helpful for someone with sanguivoriphobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with sanguivoriphobia is exposed to their fear, they will almost always have an instantaneous subconscious reaction to their fear. Such a lack of introspection is likely a large part of why someone with this condition will suffer to the extent that they will. CBT can help you to take a step back and analyze your fears more deeply than you typically would.
Besides learning to be more fastidious with regards to understanding one’s specific fears, someone with sanguivoriphobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Sanguivoriphobia
DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like sanguivoriphobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.
One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with sanguivoriphobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.
Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with sanguivoriphobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.
Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with sanguivoriphobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your sanguivoriphobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Meditation Practice for Sanguivoriphobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from sanguivoriphobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimous state. There are many different ways with which you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.
Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from sanguivoriphobia due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else that does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.
For someone with sanguivoriphobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.
To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of sanguivoriphobia, you can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen and chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands during each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.
Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you, the way your skin feels as you touch certain objects, the way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with sanguivoriphobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Control Caffeine Consumption for Sanguivoriphobia
It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with sanguivoriphobia to experience panic attacks.
So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.
Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with sanguivoriphobia.
If you think you may be suffering from some of the symptoms of this condition, then you may benefit from therapy. Feel free to reach out to your doctor or local mental health clinic to see what your available options are and to see if there is any sort of discount or promo code available to help you with the costs of treatment, as well as if your health insurance will cover treatment costs.