Fear of vomit A Fear of Being Sick

Emetophobia is an irrational or excessive fear of vomiting, and according to Wikipedia, it is a very particular phobia that presents itself in various ways;

  • A fear of vomiting in public
  • A fear of seeing vomit
  • A fear of experiencing nausea
  • A fear of seeing someone vomiting

The majority of sufferers tend to be women rather than men and children and teens suffer with emetophobia too, so it is not limited by age. 

You might ask yourself how you would recognise if you or someone you care about is suffering from emetophobia so here are a few things to keep in mind; 

  • Checking food labels for dates
  • Choosing not to become a parent due to fear of nausea and/or vomiting
  • Fearful of eating out or being overly particular about what they will eat and at which restaurants
  • Staying away from kids because they tend to pick up germs from school, daycare or kindergarten
  • Restricting social activities
  • Not going on holidays in order to avoid the enclosed space of trains and planes 
  • Avoiding travel on water
  • Refusing invitations to parties, pubs and other social gatherings where alcohol might be consumed
  • Excessive concern about colds, flus and gastro
  • Staying away from school friends and work colleagues who have colds, even staying at home in order to avoid them

Many emetophobes get confused about their body's natural gastrointestinal processes thinking that they are going to be sick or nauseous rather than realising that they just have a bit of simple tummy trouble. These are the common bodily experiences that someone who fears being sick may link up the fear of vomiting;  

  • hunger
  • burping
  • intestinal gas
  • nausea
  • heartburn
  • acid reflux
  • Sttomach fullness

Research and Articles

How A Woman with a 75 Year Fear of Vomiting was Cured: An ex-teacher was so scared of being sick that she chose not to have children and refused chemotherapy — for fear it would make her vomit.An article by Katie Moore, June 11th 2015 for news.com.au 

My Fear of Vomit Kept me at Home for 2 Years: In her article for the Advertiser May 25th 2015, Kylie Stevenson reported that 85% of treated emetophobes were cured with the remaining 15% advising an improvement in symptoms. For the full report click here.

The Efficacy of The Thrive Programme with Emetophobic Clients : Results of A Survey: This paper presents the results of a survey, which explored the efficacy of a coaching based mind education program for clients with emetophobia. Results suggest that the program had a significant impact upon the participants’ emetophobia severity, as well as upon their locus of control, self-esteem and social anxiety. R Kelly and C Allen



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