It may be that if we hear or read the term “erythrophobia” it is difficult for us to imagine what we are referring to. If we turn to its etymological origin, we find that its lexical components come from the Greek erythros (red) and phobos (fear).
So we could conclude that it is a concept that we use to name the irrational fear of turning red or blushing when we have to face a situation of public and/or social exposure.
INDEX OF CONTENTS
CAUSES OF ERYTHROPHOBIA
We have all experienced at some point the feeling of being ashamed, manifested through the blushing of our cheeks, especially during childhood or adolescence. The negative association What we do in the face of this fact and the unfortunate comments that we usually receive as a result (jokes, mockery, humiliation, etc.) can cause us to finally develop this phobia.
In general, in these cases our tendency will be to try to avoid these situations, which will generate anxiety that will only serve to increase the symptoms and plunge us into a kind of cognitive loop that will diminish our social abilities. Therefore, it is likely that those personalities most in need of external approval or validation have more options to present this phenomenon.
SYMPTOMS OF ERYTHROPHOBIA
The most notorious and defining symptom of erythrophobia is blushing, the blush that can be seen externally on the face. But under this perhaps more obvious symptomatology, there are other manifestations of a physiological, cognitive or behavioral nature that accompany the episode: sweating, nervousness, tachycardia, intrusive thoughts of content related to the feared situation, avoidance or flight behaviors…
In addition to the symptoms previously exposed, which make erythrophobia an unpleasant experience for those who experience it, one of the main consequences of this phenomenon lies in the mismanagement of your emotional life.
When we are faced with a picture of erythrophobia, everything that we know a priori is a social exposure (family events, work or academic exhibitions, gatherings of friends, etc.) often causes anticipation of all these aforementioned symptoms, for What tried to avoid “passing the shame of turning red” we declined invitations and stopped going to this type of meeting. Consequently our social, family and even work life can be diminished or canceled.
SOCIAL PHOBIA AND ERYTHROPHOBIA
If we analyze everything about erythrophobia in the previous lines, we can finally realize that this phenomenon is closely related to social phobia. If we resort to a general definition of what this last term implies, we find that we are talking about a irrational fear developed before the possibility of being judged, before the belief that we will do something humiliating or shameful for which others will be hopelessly led to make a negative evaluation of us.
As we can see, erythrophobia would then be a manifestation, a form of expression of a social phobia that can be worked on effectively in a session.
MEDICAL THERAPY FOR ERYTHROPHOBIA
Both erythrophobia as an individual phenomenon, and the social phobia with which it is closely related, are entities or subgroups that in the diagnostic classifications we can find within a larger and more general group such as Anxiety disorders. For this reason, in addition to a more than demonstrated validity of psychological interventions in their treatment, there are pharmacological treatments that can be of help in those cases that for different reasons present more resistance.
Like the rest of Anxiety Disorders, the first line of treatment pharmacological treatment for erythrophobia, would be defined by the action of both anxiolytics and antidepressants. The guidelines, type of anxiolytic and/or antidepressant and treatment time should, of course, be always guided by prescription and medical supervision.
PSYCHOLOGICAL THERAPY FOR ERYTHROPHOBIA
Obviously, each psychological intervention must be adapted as exhaustively as possible to the conditions and characteristics of each person who attends the session with the aim of working on their erythrophobia.
Bearing this in mind, our work will pursue in most cases a main purpose: the symptom controlboth anxiety and phobic avoidance, as well as reduce dysfunctionality associated with symptoms. In conclusion, work to reach a state of general well-being.
In “Manual of clinical psychopathology”, Mesa and Cid (2011) state that the best treatment option for these cases of social phobia is based on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, also combined with group behavior tests in which patients would interpret roles of socially phobic situations in front of the other members. They also realize that there are several studies that have indicated that in these cases the behavioral test is a more important part of the treatment even than the cognitive component.
But for this, these exposition exercises have to be done in a Progressive form and, if possible, with the help of a family cotherapist.
They are also important relaxation exercisesproven effective on the final functioning of patients and the social skills training.