In this blog we will discuss the symptoms, causes and treatment of Sanguivoriphobia.
Sanguivoriphobia is an intense fear of vampires. This fear is very subjective.
One doesn’t necessarily need to be exposed to vampires, as they are not to be found physically.
The existence of vampires is a myth, but people suffering from this phobia perceive them to be real.
An individual can make up situations in their minds which will lead them to suffer from anxiety. They might perceive vampires to be at a specific place, avoiding to go there.
In worst scenarios, they might even feel the presence of vampires around them all the time, especially at night.
This shows that Sanguivoriphobia can cause one to develop Noctiphobia (fear of night) and or Nyctophobia (fear of darkness) because vampires, being mythical creatures, are claimed to be alive at night.
It is highly believed that the sun burns their skin.
Sanguivoriphobia is a type of specific phobia which comes under the category of anxiety disorders in the DSM-5.
Vampires are dead creatures. In European cultures and or fantasy books and films, they are claimed to be dead, that come alive at night to meet their loved ones and or suck blood.
This blood sucking is thought to make the victim a vampire.
Someone with Sanguivoriphobia will experience extreme anxiety when exposed to their fear of vampires.
Not just the exposure, but people suffering from specific phobias can also feel excessive anxiety by just thinking about the object/situation they fear.
This excessive anxiety can lead one to have full-blown panic attacks, in severe conditions.
Therefore, the physical presence or site of vampires is not mandatory for someone to experience extreme anxiety in Sanguivoriphobia.
One does not see vampires in reality, because they are imaginary beings. But a feeling of their presence or images that they see on tv/books cause this anxiety.
People suffering from a specific phobia combat their anxiety by avoiding the fear causing stimulus.
Their avoidance of a fear/anxiety causing situation does help them feel good and calm. However, these feelings are short term.
The sufferer starts to develop a habit of avoidance which later stems into the development of OCD.
As the DSM-5 suggests, avoidance of the fear stimulating situation/object affects one’s social and occupational functioning.
Such as, one might not be able to go to a certain place or area because of the fear that the place has vampires.
One may lose contact with friends or family because of the sufferer’s unusual behavior or actions.
Someone suffering from Sanguivoriphobia can also lose his job because of his inability to go to work.
Individuals will confine themselves to their homes, to avoid going to places where vampires might be present. Sufferers, at times are also fearful of being surrounded by vampires even when in their own homes.
This fear might be because they are afraid of being attacked by one.
Sufferers will refrain from leaving the house at night because of the perception that they are active in the dark.
This constant fear of being surrounded by vampires or being confined to their houses and losing social contacts causes one to develop depression in the future.
Sanguivoriphobia is an irrational fear of vampires. The literal meaning of its name is fear of blood eaters. It is a type of specific phobia.
Symptoms of Sanguivoriphobia
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders-5th Edition (DSM-V) suggests a number of psychological and physiological symptoms one suffers from in all specific phobias, including Sanguivoriphobia.
This irrational fear of vampires is a part of anxiety disorders, thus anxiety is it’s focal symptom.
This anxiety gives way to an adrenaline rush which aggravates other physiological symptoms, such as heart rate, breathing rate and one’s mood.
These symptoms persuade the repetitive acts of avoidance as mentioned earlier.
Sanguivoriphobia is a fear of something which is not real.
Thus each individual experiences this phobia differently (based on their past experiences). One will suffer from more severe symptoms, as compared to someone else.
According to the DSM-V, anxiety that one experiences in Sanguivoriphobia should last for at least 6-months.
Other than this, one should also suffer from 3-5 symptoms, out of the list mentioned below.
- Excessive anxiety when one thinks he’s exposed to vampires
- Excessive anxiety when thinking about vampires
- Inability to manage anxiety
- Full-blown panic attacks
- Avoiding being exposed to vampires
- Feelings of dizziness/fainting
- Feeling depressed
- Fear of an impending doom
- Excessive sweating
- Hot/cold flashes
- Butterflies in the stomach
- Increased heart beat
- Muscle tension
- Drying up of the mouth
Causes of Sanguivoriphobia
It is argued that all anxiety disorders, including specific phobias have no real cause.
They are caused by either a genetic predisposition and or environmental factors.
According to the genetic/biological model, specific phobias are developed due to a genetic predisposition.
Someone who has a family history of anxiety disorder has a higher chance of developing Sanguivoriphobia.
This is because any alteration in the genes of his parents will be transferred to him.
Someone who has alterations in their neurotransmitter levels of the brain can develop Sanguivoriphobia.
These alterations are low dopamine levels and high serotonin levels.
This genetic tendency to develop a specific phobia is further explained by the Diathesis-stress relationship.
This suggests that someone with a genetic predisposition will develop Sanguivoriphobia only in the presence of the correct environmental trigger event.
This environmental trigger event refers to the past-traumatic experiences, which are associated with one’s fear stimuli.
For example, one has a higher chance of suffering from Sanguivoriphobia if they have heard stories about them from people who believe them to be real.
The most famous vampire ‘Dracula’ is feared by a lot of people. This is because films and books have fueled one’s fear and concept of it being real.
Films like ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ and ‘Fright Night’ have a significant role in causing Sanguivoriphobia.
Children’s story books and cartoons also portray them as real, evil beings which can kill them.
All these environmental factors combined with a genetic predisposition cause one to develop Sanguivoriphobia.
Treatment of Sanguivoriphobia
Sanguivoriphobia, like all other specific phobias, has no exclusive type of treatment that is specifically designed to treat it.
Like all the other specific phobias, Sanguivoriphobia is treated by a number of different therapies including Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy to lower anxiety.
• Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
It is one of the most frequently used treatments for patients with almost all kinds of mental disorders. Sanguivoriphobia is defined as the irrational fear of vampires.
Thus, the therapist helps the patient in replacing these irrational thoughts with more rational ones.
The patients are helped out in analyzing and justifying the way they feel about their fear stimuli.
Therapists assist them in uncovering the reasons behind their fear and later they provide them with alternate, pleasant thoughts.
The therapist tries to prove to them, with the help of these rational thoughts that vampires are not real and thus, unharmful.
The patient is told to maintain a thought diary (with ABCD column) which provides them a replacement for every irrational thought they have, when thinking about a particular situation.
The ABCD stands for:
i. A (antecedents) a situation or triggering event.
ii. B (belief) the thought that comes to one’s mind when in that triggering situation.
iii. C (consequences) the symptoms/feelings caused by that event/thought
iv. D (dispute) alternate, rational thoughts provided by the therapist in an attempt to dispute/challenge those irrational beliefs.
This last section of the thought diary is what really plays a role in helping the person feel good/less anxious.
• Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
This another form of treatment used with patients suffering from specific phobia or anxiety disorders. It is used with patients who know the cause of their phobia.
First, the therapist collects the patients’ history of different fears. They then identify the real cause of the particular fear/phobia the patient has.
They then discuss any new/latest event that triggered their anxiety and fear in the past few weeks.
People coming with specific phobias are told to imagine their distress causing stimuli.
The therapist then works with the individual in order for them to overcome their fear.
In the case of Sanguivoriphobia, the patient will be advised on how to overcome his fear of vampires.
They do this by creating a positive imagery for the patients’ feared stimuli.
• Drug Therapy
Drugs are used to reduce the physical symptoms caused by Sanguivoriphobia.
Drugs are very quick in effectiveness, as they start showing progress in the patients’ health at least 2 weeks after the medicine is taken.
This type of biological treatment is usually more effective if the cause of phobia is only genetic.
However, these drugs/medicines are not to be taken without a doctor’s prescription or consultation.
Two types of drugs are used in the treatment of this phobia:
i. Anti-anxiety Drugs
These include medicines like Klonopin.
They are most commonly used with patients who experience panic attacks and also lowers the anxiety by binding to receptor cells of the brain that cause these unpleasant symptoms.
ii. Antidepressant Drugs
These drugs as the name suggests don’t only treat depression but are also very effective in treating phobias.
Medicines like Lexapro reduce the anxious feelings of a person and makes him feel calm.
They need to be taken on a daily basis but not without a doctor’s advice.
They are not just one of the many treatment therapies used for Sanguivoriphobia, instead they are one of the most common ways of relaxation used by many people.
Yoga tends to stimulate the meditative state of one’s mind while the person is in a particular yoga posture.
Through yoga/meditation the mind is diverted towards something more productive and calm, allowing the person to escape the negative, distress causing thoughts.
Out of a number of yoga types, one can benefit from any yoga type/pose they like. Hatha yoga is one of the different types of yoga.
The breathing techniques or the imagery one creates while in a yoga posture are the real factors that makes the person feel less anxious and diverts their mind, away from the thoughts about their fear stimuli.
• Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)
This is another effective therapy used to treat Sanguivoriphobia.
It is more commonly used with people suffering from personality disorders, but is also useful with patients suffering from this type of specific phobia.
Coping skills are taught in the DBT group which lasts for about 6-months and can have a number of people (depending on how many join the group).
i.Half-smiling is the first module of DBT. It is a technique that is used with patients who are distressed because of their irrational thoughts.
The technique is known as ‘Half-smiling’ because the person is first advised to think about the stimuli that fears or upsets them, and while doing so they are told to lift the corners of their mouths by subtly smiling.
Smiling is not that will help one get rid of these unpleasant thoughts, it is the person’s ability to constrain itself from thinking about those thoughts while half smiling.
ii.Mindfulness, the second module, is another technique used in DBT groups which helps the individual in getting rid of those negative thoughts.
Individuals are told to focus on the present and be attentive to what is going on around them at the moment.
This helps in breaking the link between their mind and any negative thought that might come to them then.
For example, a person is told to focus on his breath or on the sound of the wind around them, making use of their auditory sense.
iii.The third technique or module of the DBT is distress tolerance skills.
This module teaches people to calm themselves down in healthy ways when they are distressed or emotionally overwhelmed.
Individuals are allowed to make wise, rational decisions and take immediate action, rather than being captured by emotionally destructive thoughts that might make the situation worse.
Reality acceptance skills are also learnt under this model so that people fully accept reality and later make plans on how to address the problem.
• Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)
MBSR is a meditation therapy, used to manage stress or anxiety. It is an 8-week program which includes group sessions.
Mindfulness meditation and Hatha yoga are practiced in these sessions. Lectures and group discussions are also done to talk about mental health and increase interactivity.
In mindfulness meditation the person is told to, for example, focus on the sensations felt while breathing or the rhythm of the chest rising and falling during the process.
This distracts the person’s attention from something stressful to something which is neutral and soothing.
For quick and effective treatment, patients are also given a set of home works, for example 45 minutes of yoga and meditation sessions for 6 days a week and to record their results/feelings in a book or diary for 15 minutes a day.
Whether the cause of Sanguivoriphobia, or any other type of specific phobia is genetics, environmental or both, the best and the most effective way of treating them is by using a combination of both biological treatments (drugs) with cognitive treatment (for example CBT/exposure therapy).
Titles to read
- Empath: A Guide to Overcoming Fear, Anxiety, Narcissists, and Energy Vampires – Dodging Energy
by Elliot Harper
- Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World
by Mark Williams, Danny Penman, et al.
- The Headspace Guide to Meditation and Mindfulness: How Mindfulness Can Change Your Life in Ten Minutes a Day
by Andy Puddicombe
- The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation
by Thich Nhat Hanh , Vo-Dinh Mai, et al.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1) What is Sanguivoriphobia?
It is an irrational fear of vampires.
It is a type of specific phobia which comes under the category of anxiety disorders.
Q2) What is the fear of zombies called?
Kinemortophobia is an irrational fear of zombies.
Q3) How is Sanguivoriphobia caused?
Sanguivoriphobia is caused either due to some genetic predisposition, or due to some past traumatic event (environmental factors).
One might be more prone to have this phobia if they have a family history of specific phobias or if they experienced a traumatizing event.
Q3) Is Sanguivoriphobia treatable?
Yes. Sanguivoriphobia is treated by a number of cognitive therapies such as CBT, Dialectical behavior Therapy or yoga.
Below is a complete list of all Phobias which we currently cover.