A rumor that has been perpetuated from comical film scenes to schoolyard gossip is that social anxiety will cause nosebleeds. This rumor, however, is simply a social misconception and instead nosebleeds in high anxiety situations are caused by a variety of factors that happen coincidentally to high anxiety and show there is no true connection between social anxiety and nosebleeds.
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These factors that can lead to nosebleeds during high social anxiety situations include:
Traveling at high altitudes can be a time of high anxiety for the many people who are afraid of flying in airplanes and for many visiting a high altitude area, the unknown surroundings may cause high levels of anxiety; high altitudes thin blood much like blood-thinning drugs and both cause nosebleeds due to blood having a lower ability to create clots which can lead to frequent nosebleeds.
Picking of the nose
Many people who are in high social anxiety situations will rub or pick at their nose which can lead to small cuts that cause nosebleeds in these stressful situations.
Nosebleeds can also occur when there has been physical trauma such as a collision in sports, which is a time of high social anxiety that may cause those with injuries to other parts of their bodies to mistakenly blame the nosebleed on anxiety and not the trauma.
Hormones from pregnancy can also cause blood thinning and can lead to frequent or occasional nosebleeds due to less effective blood clotting; causing some pregnant woman to believe falsely a high anxiety social situation was the cause of their nosebleed.
While the rumor of social anxiety and nosebleeds has been spread throughout culture it is indeed a misconception and should be left to comical movie scenes and not in factual scientific textbooks.