Emetophobia

(A phobia of vomit)

“Emetophobia is a condition where an individual fears vomiting or others vomiting (both commonly both). Emetophobia is a real and treatable problem.” David Veale.

You may often feel sick but people with Emetophobia are not actually sick any more than someone without a phobia of vomiting. It may become a preoccupation and the only thing you think about.

It may be linked to a fear that you will lose control, become very ill, faint or that others will find you repulsive.

As a result you try too hard to avoid a wide range of situations or activities that you might believe might increase of risk vomiting. Things you avoid may include;

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  • being near drunks / people who have drunk a lot

  • going on a fairground ride;

  • being near people who are ill;

  • travelling by boat;

  • going on holidays abroad;

  • travelling by aeroplane;

  • drinking alcohol;

  • going into crowded places;

  • using public transport;

  • or eating certain foods.

    Some people with vomit phobia have avoided general anaesthetic for surgery.

    Many women with phobia of vomiting have avoided getting pregnant or terminated a pregnancy.

    Women with babies might experience a great deal of distress about their child vomiting.

Other behaviours you might notice include;

  • You might excessively check the sell-by date of foods in a shop or eat only small amounts of food.

  • You might be excessive hygienic;

  • Check the health of yourself & others;

  • Use superstitious behaviours;

  • Seek reassurance about whether others are ill or could be sick;

  • Excessively clean the kitchen area.

  • If you think you are going to vomit, you might look for an escape route;

  • Try to keep tight control of your behaviour

  • Take anti-nausea medication or suck a sweet.

    All the above behaviours are called “safety seeking behaviours” and maintain your fear as you never find out whether you need to use them or not and increase your fear.

If these problems ring a bell for you or a loved one, maybe its time to get help. 


Online CBT for the treatment of Emtophobia

CBT treatment involves a structured programme focusing on the way you think and behave. Some work may need to be done on memories of vomiting in the past. After this, it is best treated by “graded exposure” or learning to face he situations or activities you are avoiding and to drop all the excessive safety behaviours, which you believe reduces the likelihood of vomiting. Facing your fear will get easier and easier to face up to your fear and your anxiety will tend to reduce.

You can also read more at www.emetophobianomore.com which is written by an wonderful lady who has experienced Emetophobia and embarked on an online course of CBT with one of the experts from My Therapist Online. She describes her positive and inspiring journey of recovery from Emetophobia.