Erythrophobia is a phobia of blushing. People with this conditions are often excessively fearful of blushing or concerned that they blush too much. Erythrophobia is also sometimes used to denote an excessive fear of the color red.
What is Erythrophobia?
Blushing is a reaction in the sympathetic nervous system that causes the cheeks to redden. Blushing is particularly common when people are feeling anxious, and people with social anxiety sometimes blush more frequently than other people. Because blushing is a physiological reaction that is not under conscious control, erythrophobia can be crippling. While a person with needle phobia or snake phobia might be able to avoid their fears, a person with erythrophobia is constantly faced with the prospect of blushing excessively. This can contribute to social anxiety and general nervousness. There is some correlation between erythrophobia and social anxiety, and people with diagnosed anxiety are more likely to experience erythrophobia.
What Causes Erythrophobia?
Mental health professionals are uncertain about what precisely causes erythrophobia. People who blush easily and frequently might become self-conscious about this tendency and ultimately develop a phobia. Fear of blushing could also have a genetic element, and children raised by anxious parents or parents with erythrophobia are more likely to develop the phobia themselves.
How is Erythrophobia Treated?
Like most other phobias, erythrophobia responds well to treatment. Desensitization treatment can be helpful, but establishing proper conditions for desensitization can be challenging since blushing is not under conscious control. Clinicians might instead encourage people to think about blushing or anxiety-inducing situations and gradually desensitize them to these situations. Medication, particularly anti-anxiety medication, can be helpful in some cases, particularly if the phobia interferes with a person’s ability to engage in normal daily functions. Therapy aimed at helping erythrophobics address social anxiety can also be helpful.
- Erythrophobia. (n.d.). Excessive Sweating. Retrieved from http://www.myexcessivesweating.com/erythrophobia.php
Last Updated: 08-7-2015
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SamFebruary 22nd, 2017 at 4:28 AM
Hi I’ve had this for years and now my son has it. I’ve tried everything I think apart from the surgery. I’ve read of really bad side effects. What are your thoughts? I’ve tried lots of different anti anxiety, beta blockers and anti depression drugs and they have all worked for a little while and then stop working. Plus I don’t like the side effects of the drugs. I also did hypnotherapy with a professional for nearly a year it cost me a fortune. How can I help myself and my son who is 13 now?
The GoodTherapy.org TeamFebruary 23rd, 2017 at 3:38 PM
Please note that GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, treatment, medical treatment, psychotherapy, counseling, or mental health services.
If you would like to get in touch with a therapist about the issues you’re describing, you can search our directory for mental health professionals in your area: goodtherapy.org/find-therapist.html
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The GoodTherapy.org Team
SamFebruary 23rd, 2017 at 6:56 PM
Hi thanks for your reply. I understand no problem.
I’ve already been to a doctor and a couple specialists but i just found another person who has this problem to i will give there ideas a go. There story is exactly the same as mine howtostopblushing.net/how-to-stop-blushing-true-story/ . This makes me think that it is actually a pretty popular problem to have. Ill will try these methods and let you know how i go :)
The GoodTherapy.org TeamFebruary 24th, 2017 at 9:10 AM
Wishing you all the best, Sam! If you decide to seek hypnotherapy, keep in mind GoodTherapy.org lists many mental health professionals who practice hypnosis and hypnotherapy. To search for someone in your area, you can visit https://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html and search within your zip code. On the next page, which lists therapists in your area, find the Type of Therapy list on the left sidebar and click “More” for a complete list of therapy modes. Check the box next to Hypnotherapy, and the search engine should automatically update the list with only therapists who have indicated they practice hypnotherapy.
Please keep in mind that GoodTherapy.org is an exclusive directory. If you have trouble finding a professional in your area, don’t be discouraged–it may mean you’ll have better luck doing a Google search or asking for a referral from a trusted health professional, such as your doctor.
The GoodTherapy.org Team
Eric TiptonMarch 11th, 2017 at 8:08 AM
Sam, just be aware the story you were referring to is all over the internet and in my opinion, a completely predatory scam. Yes, I basically have the same story as well, and life can be incredibly hard at times dealing with blushing, but be aware that that website was made to do one thing…make money. Notice the books and hypnosis treatments for sale at the bottom of the stories. They made multiple websites to prey on people like you and I. If anyone has any solid tips on how to help blushing please email me.
MegApril 20th, 2017 at 9:31 PM
I have been dealing with this for a long time now. It’s progressively getting worse. The more I avoid people and places due to this the harder it is to go anywhere. I’m really struggling with this. I decided to look into it and had no idea other people suffered too. I feel better knowing I’m not alone.
ewaSeptember 28th, 2017 at 4:15 AM
I’m in the same boat. I’ve been struggling with this problem since my teenagers years and it only became more difficult. It seems like the more I think about it, trying to find solutions the worse it gets. I’m struggling at a work and normal social situations. I can just feel everyone staring at me thinking, omg what’s wrong with her, sometimes I feel like I’m being avoided cause people definitely noticed it but don’t want to say anything to me. It’s so hard,i absolutely hate it and would love to find solution that works.
ZeebraDecember 7th, 2017 at 11:16 PM
Again, I’m facing EXACTLY the same thing you are facing, it’s so disturbing, thinking that our work and social life got affected…
ZeebraDecember 7th, 2017 at 11:08 PM
Join the club, I’m having exactly the same problem as yours for the past 10 years, and I realized it’s getting worse. Just like you, at least I feel that I’m not alone. I’ve been searching alot of solutions, including the surgery. I think we can share some opinions. Finger crossed!
QasMarch 10th, 2018 at 10:53 AM
I’m a student in a university, presentations, socializing, talking to people, everything turns into a red nightmare. Don’t know what to do.
JohnMarch 26th, 2018 at 6:01 AM
Hey Qas and others that are struggling with this.
I’ve had this since my 7th or 8th year, probably after a traumatic embarrassing event I can’t remember. 30 years later I pretty much have it under control for the past 15 years. In school I would turn tomato any time I had attention turned towards me, sometimes even just thinking about speaking in public could trigger it. You all know what I’m talking about. Studying myself over the years I found erythrophobia to be a complex problem you can best handle with different tools. A lack of focus is an important trigger. Make sure you organise your life as best as you can with daily routines. That will give you lots off confidence and calmness. Use every day to do small things out of your comfort zone. Speak to random people on the street or in stores, ask them fake questions like what time it, directions and such. This will bring your in awkward situations and train your subconscious to remain calm when attention is directed towards you. The most important thing is to get easy with lots of attention directed towards you. The key thing here is to train your mind to ignore when people are focused on you. Notice when you are hyper focused the blushing will come slower, the second your mind scatters the blood starts flowing and then you’re mostly in for the whole ride. So reprogramming your conscious and subconscious mind not to flip the switch are key. What nobody wants to hear but is the only natural way to get rid of your fear is facing it as I said before. Talking to a large group of people, pump yourself up beforehand with some positive affirmations (yes those actually work) and go for it. People won’t kill you for blushing, but you’ll gain confidence. If this is a step to far, just go talk to random people on the street like I said. Don’t think you’ll be stuck with this your entire life, I’ve proven it wrong. Years ago I couldn’t even speak to 2 people at the same time without turning hiroshima, now I can speak to 200 people, still be aware that one day I might blush again, but go out there with full confidence and not drop sweat for hours..
AriannaApril 15th, 2018 at 8:23 AM
Although im still young, I suffer from this. I feel it getting worse and I don’t know how to control it. I can barely talk to my family without being a tomato.
BobbyJune 26th, 2018 at 2:11 AM
I have also suffered from blushing from when I was a teenager. I am 36 now and during the past 3 years I have noticed a gradual but very significant and steady positive change in my blushing. I think the tipping point was when I read a book titled “A New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle, which I cannot recommend any more. During the course reading this book I realized my ‘ego’ was the main cause of this repeating nightmare (don’t get me wrong, I am not a too arrogant or rude of a person when I say I have ego, in fact I am constantly told that I am a nice person as I am sure many of you have been told). You have to really read the book to understand what ‘ego’ here means, but it basically is one of the causes for that immediate, uncontrollable flare up of “internal conversation” that makes us blush every time an uncomfortable situation presents itself. Every time we blush, it is preceded by such an unconscious thinking, that we are not good enough, or everyone in the room is judging us, or we made a mistake in front of everyone, etc. Blushing happens because we CARE too much about what other people think about us or us wanting to look perfect in front of other people. It also happens, or at least worsens, because we cannot ACCEPT and FORGIVE ourselves. Accepting the human qualities of ourselves which we don’t like, such as making mistakes and misspeaking, being sexual, maybe not being socially the wittiest in some of us, etc. Lack of acceptance and forgiveness, that internal thought process, and caring too much about what other people think are all signs of ego as discussed in this great book. BTW don’t judge this book by its first chapter, it gets way more interesting from the second chapter!
ZeebraJune 27th, 2018 at 5:39 PM
Bobby, thanks so much for the comment, you’re absolutely spot on! Ego is definitely one of the major factor of my blushing, now I know another root cause of my blushing! Thank you!
EwaJune 28th, 2018 at 4:30 AM
Bobby, I’ve purchased the book! Let’s hope will give me some good ideas of how to handle those blushing moments when they occur. Thank you for sharing.
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