Emetophobia – Definition and Causes

Emetophobia comes from the greek word “emesis” which means “an act of vomiting” with the suffix attach – phobia meaning an illogical fear of an object or situation. Emetophobia is an irritional fear of vomiting, or seeing someone else vomiting. Emetophobia may include individuals with an intense fear of feeling nauseous or seeing vomit.

Emetophobia is the fifth commonest phobia but ironically there is limited number of studies regarding the phobia and due to this no explicit treatment can be said to be cure of the phobia. Many factors can lead to this phobia in individuals. Emetophobia is not limited to any age group, there are cases of emetophobia present in (childhood) and adolescence, as well as adulthood though it is more prevalent among young adults.

CAUSES

Persons that suffered severe bouts of vomiting or witnessed, over time, severe vomiting in others-maybe due to pregnancy or illness-as children become (emetophobics). Persons that have undergone gastrointestinal surgery have been known to develop this phobia. Children with a history of self stimulatory vomiting have also falling victims. Some cases of emetophobia have been attributed to mental disorder.

According to a study conducted by Dr. Angela L. Davidson, she concluded through various survey that people suffeing from emetophobia are more likely to have an internal locus of control pertaining to their everyday life. ” ‘A locus of control is an individual’s perception of where control comes from. Having an internal locus of control means that an individual perceives that they have their own control over a situation whereas an external locus of control means that an individual perceives that some things are out of their control. She explains how this phobia is created through the locus of control by stating’.

Thus far, it seems reasonable to stipulate that individuals with a vomiting phobia deem events as being within their control and may therefore find it difficult to relinquish this control during the act of vomiting, thus inducing a phobia”