The fear of vomiting, or emetophobia , is surprisingly common. The phobia can start at any age, although many adults have suffered for as long as they can remember . Emetophobia can also be related to other fears , such as fear of food, as well as conditions such as eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The fear of vomiting is often, but not always, triggered by a negative experience with vomiting. Although stomach flu, excess alcohol, and food poisoning happen to everyone, it is easy to feel lonely. The risk of emetophobia may be higher if you remember vomiting in public or experiencing a long night of uncontrollable vomiting.
Some experts believe that emetophobia may be related to concerns about lack of control. Many people try to control themselves and their surroundings in every way possible, but vomiting is difficult or impossible to control. Sometimes it happens at times and in places that are embarrassing or inconvenient, which can be very distressing.
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Symptoms of fear of vomiting
Interestingly, most people with emetophobia rarely, if ever, vomit. Some patients report that they have not vomited since childhood. However, they constantly worry that this could happen.
If you have emetophobia, you may have developed certain behavior patterns or even obsessions in an effort to stay safe. You could be more comfortable in a private room in your house, or even outside of it.
You could sleep with a towel next to you in case you get sick during the night. You probably feel compelled to learn the most direct route to a bathroom in any new building.
You can be extremely anxious about long car trips. Many patients report that they feel safer when they drive themselves. Some are reluctant to carry passengers because they can see them throw up if they can’t get to the bathroom in time .
Many people with emetophobia experience frequent nausea and digestive disorders. These are extremely common symptoms of anxiety and can lead to a cycle of self-replication. You are afraid of vomiting and the fear causes nausea and stomach pain.
This makes him feel like he’s vomiting, which in turn makes him feel more scared. Research indicates that this cycle may be the result of an over-vigilant sensitivity to gastrointestinal symptoms and a misassessment of nausea and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Over time, you may develop additional fears or obsessions. Cybophobia, or fear of food, is common among many people with emetophobia. You may worry that food is undercooked or stored, which could lead to possible food poisoning.
You may begin to severely restrict your diet or refuse to eat until you are completely full. Many patients feel that being full can lead to nausea and vomiting. In extreme cases, people can even develop tendencies towards anorexia.
Many of those who suffer from emetophobia develop social anxiety or even agoraphobia , which is the fear of places or situations that can make you feel anxious, scared, or out of control. You may be reluctant to spend time with people for fear of vomiting in front of them.
Alternatively, you may be afraid that someone will vomit in front of you. It is not unusual to be very afraid of other people’s vomit as well as your own.
Emeticphobia can be somewhat difficult to diagnose and treat as many people simultaneously experience other phobias and anxiety disorders. Therefore, it is important to work with a trusted therapist with a wide range of experience.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help you face your fears and replace your negative thoughts regarding vomiting. Hypnosis and relaxation techniques can help reduce feelings and symptoms of anxiety. Medications may be indicated in some cases.
Although it will take a lot of work, emetophobia can be defeated. There is no reason why your life should be controlled by this powerful but treatable phobia.
Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.