Fear of Red

Red is a vibrant color. It is the most common color of rose, the shade most often used in lipstick, a favorite show and dress color – and it often warns us of danger. Maybe that’s why some people fear the color red. This fear is known by one of three names: Erythrophobia, Erytophobia, or Ereuthophobia.

This phobia extends beyond the color red to include the fear of red lights and the fear of blushing.

What Causes Erythrophobia?

Maybe the fear really does have a lot to do with the feeling of impending danger. After all we learn early in life that red is a signal to stop. Police use the color red in their flashing lights to indicate an emergency, and infamous ‘red light’ districts are generally considered something to be avoided.

However, if that’s true, how do you reconcile the idea of blushing? Does the act of blushing denote danger? Usually not. Blushing is generally viewed as a sign of embarrassment in the midst of social anxiety.

Fear expresses itself in so many different ways. Red may indeed signify danger, it can signify embarrassment. It can even signify a sense of shame for those who may have hurt someone in their past and the red associated with blood may cause that sense of shame to bring fear into the lives of the individual who remembers.

The fear can even be a mimicked or adopted response based on moments of observation among those we love.

Symptoms of Erythrophobia

A person living with this fear may be inclined to avoid the color red. Since this is true you would not likely find items the color of red in their home, they wouldn’t have a red car and they would not likely be inclined to give blood.

Other symptoms may also include…

  • Panic attacks
  • Trembling
  • Air hunger
  • Weeping
  • Screaming
  • Control loss
  • A sense of dread
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Sweating

There is no easy way to talk a phobic personality out of their fear during moments when their fear is consuming their entire thought process and emotional energy.

How to Overcome Erythrophobia

Since you can’s talk an erythrophobe out of their fear when they are most fearful there will come a time when they can discuss their issues in a calm and collected manner. This is the time when a therapist may provide a comfortable and safe setting designed to share their experience and why the fear of red, lights or blushing cause them so many problems.

In those times of rational thought a therapist has the opportunity to find out core issues that are connected to the visible fear. The interesting thing to note is that often the visible fear is not actually the thing most feared.

Think of this a bit like the Wizard of Oz. The floating head was the visible representation of the wizard, but in the end it was just a man behind  a curtain.The fear that is expressed is not likely the only fear that may be lurking.

The fear of red is also referred to as:

  • Red fear
  • Fear of blushing
  • Fear of redlights
  • Erythrophobia
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