Vomit phobia or emetophobia as it is medically known is an acute and irrational fear of vomiting, or seeing someone else vomiting. Also, the fear of vomiting sufferer will often have the same symptoms when they feel nauseated or even if another person is feeling sick. The symptoms of vomit phobia will also often occur when the person is watching television or at the cinema and the actor is being sick or feeling sick. To the emetophobic it makes no difference that it is on screen and not real. The phobia will still arise whether it is for real or not.
The sight of someone vomiting in public places or on a movie screen can severely impact on the social lives of a vomit phobia sufferer. They will often avoid places and situations were there is the potential for the sight of vomit. Bars, clubs, going to fairgrounds, airplane and boat travel can all be off limits to an emetophobic. Many emetophobia sufferers will not attend doctors, hospitals or even dental surgeries as the possibility of vomiting rises in the emetophobics mind.
Emetophobia Symptoms – Impact on life of a sufferer
Many people have a fear of vomiting, however they are not classed as an emetophobia sufferer unless the fear of vomiting has progressed to the stage of disrupting the persons life.
As well as avoiding public places like the ones discussed, a vomit phobia sufferer will often show signs of high levels of stress and anxiety with any situation, real or imagined that could possibly induce vomiting. This can impact on job prospects and personal goals and ambitions can be restricted also if not treated. In extreme cases, women who are emetophobic can put off having children due to the morning sickness associated with childbirth.
Usually an emetophobia sufferer will develop some form of food rituals whereby they will only eat specific foods, and usually only small portions that they consider safe from any side affects. This can manifest into the sufferer constantly checking food for freshness and incessant washing of food to remove dirt or germs. This could lead to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) in extreme cases.
Although to date there is not a vast amount of research done on emetophobia, there are several options available to a sufferer to help overcome fear of vomiting.
The first option is to consult your own doctor. They can provide advice and possible avenues for treatment. They can provide anti-nausea drugs which can relieve symptoms in the short term. They can also provide anti-depressants if the phobia has caused depression in the sufferer, which can easily happen to a vomit phobia person. This is obviously not a long term solution to the illness as it does not get to the root of the problem that the emetophobic has. Drugs of any kind will not cure the condition at this time, only relieve the symptoms temporarily.
Many sufferers avoid visiting their physician as they believe that they will not understand or take their condition seriously. Thankfully, this attitude in the medical profession is very rare these days as more evidence into this illness is uncovered. Sadly though, for the emetophobic they will believe that nobody can help them and avoid making contact, keeping their condition to themselves. This will often make the situation they find themselves in worse as they try to avoid confronting their emetophobia illness.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
This therapy is a structured form of self help that the emetophobia sufferer will undertake. There is evidence to suggest that this form of therapy is helpful to many people with emetophobia. It must be understood though that for this emetophobia treatment to be successful there will be hard work involved for the person with this illness. Also, this form of treatment can be expensive.
Overcoming Health Anxiety by David Veale and Rob Willson. This book explains in detail what CBT is all about. It also has a section on using CBT in treating emetophobia. Highly recommended reading if you are at all considering using Cognitive Behaviour Therapy as part of your emetophobia treatment.
Hypnotherapy is another possible emetophobia treatment that a sufferer can explore. But again this form of treatment can be expensive and there is no conclusive evidence at this time to confirm if this will provide a permanent solution to emetophobia.
Self Help – Online and offline
Self help can involve talking to friends and, or family members, but often this is impossible to a lot of emetophobics due to the reasons already discussed. So forums online can be a good place for a sufferer of this condition to get involved with as they understand and can relate to the sufferers condition and way of life with this illness. There is a link on my website to the best emetophobia and anxiety forums for you to check out.
Emetophobia Recovery System
The Emetophobia Recovery System is the only online program that I know of that is solely for the treatment of emetophobia. There are of course many anxiety related self help courses on the market that could help. They are however not targeted to this condition and are in most cases much more expensive than the Emetophobia Recovery System.
In this course you will be given a step-by-step program to tackle the condition head on and help you to overcome your fear of vomiting permanently. Mental health professionals have tested this program and recommend its use in emetophobia treatment.