No one likes to be sick, especially in public. Illness is a private affair. But if you have a fear of throwing up in public or in private, to the point that it causes you to act irrationally – then you may have emetophobia or the fear of vomiting.
You may be so scared of vomiting that you will not eat or you will not go out in public. The thought of catching a stomach virus may throw you into a panic. Just seeing vomit or the sounds of someone retching makes you want to run away, far away.
Emetophobia is classified as an anxiety disorder. This is a serious disease. It can cause panic attacks. It can make a sufferer crave social isolation, as the fear takes over their daily lives. In an effort to deal with the phobia, the Emet may stop going out in public and stop eating or eat very little. Some women with emetophobia will refuse to get pregnant for fear of morning sickness. Those with severe emetophobia will go to great lengths to avoid hospitals or anyone who might be sick. And just the thought of nausea of any sort will ruin their day.
Many people who suffer from emetophobia are diagnosed with anorexia or self-starvation. The Emet will stop at nothing to prevent themselves from vomiting and this includes the cessation of eating.
The idea is, if you do not eat food, there is no way that you can vomit or get sick. Ironically, eating food, after depriving oneself can often make the emetophobic person feel nauseous – thus giving feedback to the fear and reinforcing the phobia.
Who has emetophobia? Research indicates that six percent of the US population claims to fear being sick, but a much smaller number actually suffer from emetophobia, as indicated by a variety of phobic behavior. Still emetophobia is the seventh most common type of phobia.
Treatment for emetophobia. The exact cause of Emetophobia is unknown, but the most common theory is that it is the result a traumatic incident of vomiting between the ages of six and ten.
Treatment can include therapy to treat the underlying trauma, hypnotherapy to disclose the past incidents as well as change the Emet's perspective on vomiting, anxiety therapy and anti-anxiety medication. Some people respond quickly to such mtheods. Others with emotophobia may take several weeks to find relief and never be completely cured of their phobia.
Many people make jokes about throwing up or puking, but when a fear of vomiting stops people from eating out, socializing, developing relationships, getting pregnant or even working, it is no laughing matter. The anxiety about vomiting a sufferer feels ruins almost every day.
If you are suffering from emetophobia, you are not alone and you can be helped. The first step is to identify your problem which can them lead to effective treatment. The panic attacks, the isolation, the not eating, etc. all of this can be changed, usually through a combination of therapy and hypnosis.