We all know what blushing is and we’ve all been there from time to time, it’s a common, uncomfortable feeling which we associate with embarrassment. For some though, it’s worse than just an occasional occurrence and they come to fear it happening. again And it’s this exaggerated fear of blushing that is officially known as erythrophobia.
Erythrophobia is an unusual phobia in as much as those who suffer from it don’t actually fear the act of blushing itself. Instead, they dread the feelings and emotions that accompany it. The fear is more about them being noticed for being visibly and obviously nervous, shy or embarrassed and, in particular, how they will then be judged by others … laughed at, ridiculed, talked about, seen as inferior, left out etc.
The fear can be chronic and impairing and it can interfere with the daily life of the sufferer. It’s also common for it to evolve in a viscous circle manner – each time you blush it causes greater concern; this causes you to blush more … you get the picture.
There is no single, exact cause of erythrophobia because every individual is different and not uncommon for erythrophobia to be a secondary phobia that stems from social anxiety disorder. Whereas some experts believe that the cause of uncontrolled blushing is a low-level failure of the sympathetic nervous system, other experts believe that low self-esteem causes the frequent bouts of unwarranted embarrassment. In most cases though, the original initial trigger for erythrophobia is likely to have occurred during childhood of the affected person with some form of traumatic event or peer influence being the most likely cause.
No one need fear blushing, there are treatment programs that really do work … including our top recommended self-help solutions.
The fear of blushing is a phobia that can very quickly develop and worsen. The first time it happens maybe someone makes a comment or joke about it. It’s then implanted in the mind and when you’re next in a similar situation you remember the blushing last time and guess what? Yep – it happens again, and again, and again.
Because of this you come to fear the mere thought of blushing and (in your eyes) exposing yourself as someone who’s somehow inferior.
Left unchecked and with an increasing fear of blushing the situation can worsen until it seems to occur almost anytime the sufferer is spoken to.
The natural way for any phobic to manage their fears is to avoid the potential trigger. In the case of erythrophobia this can lead to withdrawal, depression and a greater degree of social anxiety.
No one was born embarrassed and blushing – it’s something that has been picked up along life’s journey so far!
It’s most likely that it was either picked up from some form of personal traumatic experience. This could be a situation which made people laugh at you or make fun of you for what you did or said.
It could also have been “inherited” from a close relative or peer who suffered from blushing and was seen to be ridiculed as a result which resulted in a fear of the same happening to you.
Blushing itself is an automated response which is triggered by the body’s nervous system. The physical symptoms, i.e. the reddening of the face and the feeling of facial hotness is down to the resultant increase in the release of epinephrine. It’s this form of adrenaline which can cause the facial blood vessels to dilate (a process called vasodilation) and hence increase the blood flow and oxygen levels. And it’s this which caused the cheeks to redden.
Erythrophobia is not a fear of the physical blushing itself but is a fear of it happening and how they believe they are perceived as a result of it happening. In certain situations, therefore an erythrophobic will find themselves in a constant state of anxiety about blushing and what others will subsequently think of them.
Emotionally they will constantly feel anxious, nervous and worried. Their mind will become filled with thoughts and fears of it next happening and they will become restless, agitated and find it hard to concentrate and sleep as a result.
Physically they can expect symptoms such as:
The fear of blushing, the anxiety, stress, worry and the associated physical symptoms causes a person suffering from the phobia to begin avoid situations that act as triggers and this means most social or group events. Most people suffering from the disorder try to suppress their blushing but as a result end up worrying and blushing more.
Dr. Enrique Jadresic is one of the worlds foremost experts on blushing. He estimates that between 5 and 7% of us suffer from chronic blushing. It’s a serious condition as this feature on erythrophobia in the Huff Post will sadly prove, and one that we need to further develop awarness of. It’s suggested in the NCBI that the condition can lead to increased risk of progression into Social Anxiet Disorder. Surgery to prevent the actual blushing itself is not a recommended option acording to The Lancet.
Don’t feel trapped, don’t feel ashamed, don’t feel inferior and don’t feel anxious or worried and don’t feel that th eonly option is for you to withdraw and hideaway. You’re better than that, you’re as good as anyone else and your CAN overcome this fear of blushing.
If it’s happening to you and you feel up for this suggestion then take away the fear by talking about it with your peers, friends and colleagues, laugh about it with them, accept their sympathy, help them understand … take the pressure of yourself and watch the symptoms subside.
Of course this is easier said than done and if you don’t feel able to take this action then look for outside help (and there are plenty of options out there) but DON’T, we repeat DON’T let it impede on your life in any way. If you feel the fear of blushing developing, if it’s already causing you anxiety or worry and if you find yourself looking for excuses to get you out of situation where you are likely to blush then you owe it to yourself to take action and seek help NOW.
Erythrophobia is a fairly complex phobia but one which seems to respond well to hypnotherapy which works to remove the fear of blushing by re-programming the mind to produce a more rational response to the fear of blushing and to re-set it back to the way it used to respond before it somehow became “corrupted”. It can prove highly effective. Find Out More >
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT is probably the therapy you’ll hear most mentioned as a treatment for any specific phobia and this includes the fear of blushing. This talking therapy will work to retrain the way you think about blushing and the way you react to these thoughts and hence to adapt your resulting behaviour. In effect this means taking away the worry associated with blushing which in turns takes away the blushing itself. Find Out More >
If you’re embarassed by Erythrophobia and regularly blushing then take a look at one of our recommended, self-help treatment programs that are all guaranteed, proven and effective.