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What Is The Phobia Of Throwing Up

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Fear Of Vomiting Or Emetophobia

If you have a fear of vomiting, just reading the title of this article might make you a bit queasy. The mere mention of the “V word” might send you into a state of anxiety. If you can relate, I encourage you to press on despite your worry, so you can take the first steps to overcoming it.

If you suffer with this type of phobia , you are not only repulsed by the idea of vomiting, you fear it. And you probably have at least one of these fears, too:

  • Not being able to find a bathroom in time
  • Vomiting over and over and being unable to stop
  • Choking on vomit and suffering physically
  • Embarrassing yourself in front of others
  • Being admitted to a hospital

Many people say that the anticipation of vomiting is often worse than the act itself.

What Causes A Phobia Of Vomiting

There is virtually no research into the cause of vomit phobia. Causes are thought to be psychological and biological. There might be a genetic influence in vomit phobia. It usually develops in childhood, sometimes after a bad experience of vomiting. Once a phobia develops it is maintained by the way to avoid anything linked to vomiting. It is much more likely to occur in women.

Risk Factors & Causes For Emetophobia

Phobia of throwing up in many cases is triggered by a nasty experience in the past. In some cases, the mind has seemingly, without basis, created the fear. By exposing the root cause, you will be able to remedy the problem by easily exchanging harmful triggers. People who are at the greatest risk include:

•Individuals who are predisposed to feelings of worry and anxiety •One who seems to be ‘high-strung’ •Someone who deals with adrenal insufficiency

Do you feel as if even one of these represents you? Click to read testimonials from those who have been through our programs.

Or you can <see what the media> is saying.

What Is The Fear Of Throwing Up

So what exactly is a fear of throwing up? Usually, it involves a worry that you are going to be sick in a certain situation. You could worry that you might:

  • Be sick if you eat a certain food or go to a particular restaurant
  • Encounter someone who has an illness that you could catch
  • Be sick if you were to get pregnant
  • Vomit if you drink too much
  • Get ill and that illness might make you throw up

In order to protest yourself from the possibility of going somewhere or eating something that might put you in a situation that you consider risky, you start to put in place avoidance tactics. The bigger the phobia the more the avoidance behaviours grow.

Many of our clients will only eat a narrow range of foods that they consider safe. Many refuse to eat out in restaurants because they are worried about the food not being cooked properly. Plenty will go out of their way to avoid people who are ill including their own family members. This can be particularly worrying if they have children who are more likely to get bugs or illnesses that they pick up from school.

As the phobia gets worse the avoidance practices become more extreme. Younger women may refuse to have children because of the fear of morning sickness. Food choices become increasingly limited so that the person loses significant amounts of weight because they are not eating enough.

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The Connection With Ocd

fear of throwing up (emetophobia)

About a year after Kylie’s bedtime ritual started, Kylie’s anxiety escalated. “I was rocking the baby in the rocking chair,” says Sidney, “and she came up and she put her arm around my neck, and she looked at me, and she said, ‘Mommy, I want to hug you but I’m not going to. I think I might strangle you.’”

Kylie wouldn’t set the table for fear she’d take a knife and cut her own finger off. She wouldn’t play with her siblings for fear she’d smother them. She was diagnosed with severe obsessive-compulsive disorder.

While emetophobia is technically a specific phobia, Dr. Bubrick says it’s more closely associated with OCD than with a phobia like a fear of spiders, which is more discreet. In fact he estimates about 30 to 50 percent of the kids he’s treated with a fear of vomiting also exhibit OCD symptoms.

“There’s a lot of different presentations of OCD,” explains Dr. Bubrick. “Some kids are afraid of harming other kids or their family members, or they’re afraid of germs and bad luck, and all kinds of things. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of kids who are afraid of vomiting.”

What You Need To Know About Treatments And Cures

Would you be surprised to learn that this system is not a treatment or a cure? Modifying your awareness is a technique you have to learn to master for yourself. We’re going to walk you through the process that helps you re-program that tricky subconscious thinking.

This process has proven procedures for overcoming rage, fear, depression, remorse and feelings of apprehension and helps you gain self-assurance, peace and happiness. You know what living with your fear has done to your quality of life. Are you ready to interrupt the cycle of destructive thinking?

Vanquish Phobia of Throwing Up Today.

How The Fear Develops

Of the 1,500 or so children he has treated in his career, Dr. Jerry Bubrick, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute who specializes in anxiety, estimates that 10 to 20% have presented with emetophobic symptoms. Like Kylie, many of his patients already have an “anxious temperament” before they start showing signs of the disorder, which might be triggered by seeing other kids at school or on the bus vomit, or vomiting themselves.

“They start to associate cues in the environment that they remember with vomiting,” he says, “and then start to become fearful with those cues.” Bit by bit, they begin avoiding places and things they associate with throwing up, even refusing to say or write the word “vomit.” They become strict in their dietary habits, eschewing anything they’re not familiar with or fear could make them sick, compulsively checking expiration dates on food items. In some cases, malnutrition becomes an issue.

Emetophobia: Fear Of Vomiting As An Expression Of Ocd

Allen H. Weg, EdD, is the Executive Director of Stress and Anxiety Services of New Jersey, Inc. He is on the Scientific and Clinical Advisory Board of the International OCD Foundation and President of the IOCDF affiliate, OCD New Jersey.

This article was initially published in the Fall 2017 edition of the OCD Newsletter

I had never heard of the term “emetophobia” until about 15 years ago when a 12 year-old girl was referred to me with what sounded like a very typical OCD diagnosis — obsessive thoughts focusing on the fear of germs. She was reportedly anxious of anyone, anything, or any place that could potentially expose her to germs that could make her sick. She avoided all public places, refusing to use public restrooms, go to amusement parks, or attend any event where there might be a crowd of people. She would not eat at all when visiting restaurants or friends’ houses, and ate only foods that her mother would prepare at home. In addition to this, she washed her hands compulsively.

The Importance of a Proper Assessment

When treating a client with anxiety, a therapist properly utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD knows that you cannot treat someone effectively until you can precisely answer the question, “What exactly is it that the client is afraid of?”

Symptoms of Emetophobia

As with OCD, emetophobia symptoms can be debilitating and affect the client’s quality of life in various ways.

Diagnosis of Emetophobia

Treatment of Emetophobia



Are You Afraid Of Vomiting Phobia

Vomiting phobia is the irrational fear of vomit. Fear of vomiting phobia is really pervasive. If we talk about other phobias like claustrophobia which is a fear of closed spaces like elevators or fear of snakes. In those situations, people only get anxious when kept in a fearful situation but Emetophobia consumes a person right from the morning to the time of sleep. 

What Is The Fear Of Vomiting Called

Fear of vomiting phobia is called Emetophobia. People with emetophobia don’t even want to vomit at all. So they are typical in nature. People with emetophobia are afraid a lot: 

  • They are not sure when it will happen 
  • Not sure how long it will last 
  • The Sensation: sound, taste, how it feels, and what it looks like
  • Embarrassment 
  • Seeing others vomiting or being others vomit

How To Get Over It: Fear Of Vomiting

The fear of vomiting can become so all-consuming and terrifying that eating becomes a struggle and weight loss becomes dangerous. As sufferers try to protect themselves from throwing up, their world shrinks until it becomes impossible to work, go to school, or to socialize. This was Kay prior to treatment. In this live free webinar, Ken Goodman, author of The Emetophobia Manual, interviews Kay, one of his former patients. Together they discuss her remarkable healing journey and how she freed herself from the fear of vomit and reclaimed her life. This webinar will be presented live giving viewers a chance to be a part of the conversation with plenty of time to ask questions of both guests. This is a unique opportunity to hear from the perspective of a therapist and a patient as you learn the key components to change and success. The webinar is the second of a two-part series and it is recommended that you watch part one prior to watching part two. 

If you have a fear of vomiting, just reading the title of this article might make you a bit queasy. The mere mention of the “V word” might send you into a state of anxiety. If you can relate, I encourage you to press on despite your worry, so you can take the first steps to overcoming it.

What Is Emetophobia/fear Of Vomiting

Emetophobia is an extreme fear of vomiting that interferes with daily life functioning. Estimates of its prevalence range from 1.7% to 3.1% for males and from 6% to 7% for females. While the fear of vomiting is quite common, it is one of the least studied phobias. Emetophobia often has a childhood onset following traumatic experiences of vomiting or seeing others vomit and follows a chronic course that worsens with age in the absence of treatment. Safety-seeking and avoidance behaviors are common among people with emetophobia.

Emetophobia may have symptoms that overlap with panic disorder, OCD, and social anxiety disorder. For example, individuals with emetophobia may be fearful that they will embarrass themselves or that others will evaluate them negatively if they vomit in public. A preoccupation with one’s gastrointestinal state and checking food ingredients may be observed in both emetophobia and OCD. Symptoms of panic attacks in specific phobias and panic disorder are often identical.

Stopping The Fear Of Fear Itself

The Fear of Throwing Up: 8 Tips to Overcome Emetophobia in ...

Therapy for emetophobia also works by helping our clients stop the anticipation of the problem. Our clients are not being sick every day so their fears are unfounded. Their real worry is the anticipation of being sick. The only issue is that they could worry every day for 10 years about being ill and nothing may happen.

The real problem with emetophobia is the worry about being ill is actually worse than the vomiting itself. Who wants to worry every day for ten years and find that nothing happens? This uses up a ton of time and energy that would be better placed into doing something else.

Stopping the worry loop ends the emetophobia. When our clients realise they have been worrying about fear itself and how pointless it is they find it easier to end the unhelpful thought patterns.

The Quiet Shame Of Parenting With A Fear Of Vomiting

When my kids were 4 and 2, we drove to the mountains in North Carolina to share a cabin with friends for a weekend. The first thing I noticed when they arrived was how pale their toddler looked.

“He’s just carsick,” my friend said, shifting him to her other hip. “I think.”

I swallowed hard. “How sick?”

“He threw up a couple times,” she said casually.

My breath felt stuck. I tried to convince myself we could stay — pretended she hadn’t uttered the words that would make me leave.

This wasn’t the first time I’d caved to my anxiety. I’d bailed on easier-to-escape events like block parties and holiday gatherings after someone mentioned stomach illness. But because I never owned up to it, no one except my husband grasped the depth of my fear of vomiting.

It turns out there’s a term for this condition: , or the paralyzing fear of vomiting.

The disorder isunderstudied but according to estimate, it affects up to 7 percent of women, who are four times more likely to be impacted than men. study found a prevalence rate of only 0.1 percent. Researchers I spoke with think the true incidence lies somewhere in between.

According to London-based clinical psychologist Alexandra Keyes, emetophobia is among the most common specific phobias she encounters. Yet it’s a tough condition to study. “It’s often with obsessive-compulsive disorder , panic disorder and eating disorders, so it can get lumped in with other problems,” says Keyes, co-author of the forthcoming book “.”

But I couldn’t.

Symptoms Of Emetophobia/fear Of Vomiting

  • Food-related avoidance behaviors, such as restricted and/or slower food and fluid intake, avoidance of day-old and older foods, avoidance of specific foods and beverages, avoidance of eating out, and avoidance of eating with others.
  • Other avoidance and safety behaviors, such as avoiding hot temperatures due to fear that being flushed or sweating may increase the risk of vomiting, being near people who are ill or having a package of gum available at all times in case you begin to experience a taste that might result in vomiting.
  • Occupational consequences related to the fear of vomiting. For example, avoiding the medical field due to fear of being exposed to illness that could result in vomiting.
  • Social consequences related to the fear of vomiting such as difficulty enjoying social events due to the avoidance of eating and drinking anything that could lead to vomiting.
  • Low body weight due to reduced food intake related to the fear of vomiting.

Cognitive Behavioral Model of Emetophobia/Fear of Vomiting

You may wonder why you have developed a fear of vomiting. One way people develop phobias is through traumatic conditioning, or the association of a negative event with a previously neutral object or situation. Some other predisposing factors include physiological or genetic factors, general anxiety vulnerability and somatization vulnerability .

Cognitive Behavior Therapy for Emetophobia/Fear of Vomiting
Common Goals of Therapy for Emetophobia/Fear of Vomiting


Types Of Therapies For Emetophobia

The most common evidence-based treatments for Emetophobia are exposure based therapies. Other types of therapeutic interventions have been reported in the literature including hypnosis, motivational techniques, psychodynamic therapy, contingency management, and psychotropic medication. However, these have lower levels of evidence for their efficacy and often involve a lot of time and effort for very little long term gains.

Emetophobia treatment has much higher dropout rates than other phobias in the literature, partly because of client’s strong fear of the prospect of vomiting as part of treatment. At the phobia solution we use are proprietary Find a Five technique which we have found is substantial upgrade to traditional exposure in Cognitive and Behavioural therapies and helps clients feel a much greater sense of control in treatment.

After The Third Treatment Session

A week later Debbie wrote: After a birthday party with a barbecue, I left early. I had a splitting headache. Later on my husband came home. He felt terrible and I heard him vomiting. In the past, this sound alone would have created a panic reaction in me. I would have covered my ears in order not to have to hear it, and I would have felt terribly nauseous. And now? Amazing. I remained calm. I simply went to lie beside him on the bed without worrying about whether he might vomit again. Or: could that meat have been spoiled, so that I will become sick shortly, too? No. Nothing of the sort. I simply slept.

Indicators That You Need Assistance

Uncover the seriousness of the issue for you by using our 2 minute Test Online for Phobia of Throwing Up …however it’s pretty obvious: Now is the point in time to take control, if the fear is considerably taking over your life, in a negative way.

  • Does the thought of Vomiting make you nauseous?
  • Does it automatically initiate sticky hands and a mouth that is made of cotton?
  • Does your heart begin to race?
  • Do your legs feel as if they will give way?

These are just a few examples of symptoms people can experience. Click to find out more about the symptoms of phobia of throwing up.

We not only help you deal with the symptom you experience, but we find the cause. Our goal is to have you get rid of the root cause of the fear.

What To Do When Worry Bug Meets Stomach Bug

For most of us, getting sick—yes, that kind of sick— from time to time is something that we accept and frankly try to not think about any more than we absolutely have to. In fact, please allow me to in advance for bringing up the subject if it wasn’t already on your mind!

If only worry adhered to the same rules of etiquette. It doesn’t. Ask the millions of children and adults with vomit . For them, getting sick isn’t something they think about as little as possible, though they would love to have that liberty. Instead, it is glued to their minds 24-7.

The slightest twinge in the stomach, or even just the mere mention of the word vomit or any of its equally noxious synonyms, can send vomit phobia sufferers into a panic spiral. What is that hot feeling in my throat? Is it a sign? Am I going to get sick? What if it happens now? Did that guy just cough or was he actually gagging? What if he’s sick?! Should I eat that? What if it makes me sick?

None of us would like to get sick, and getting sick far from home even less so, but picturing it vividly and preparing for it daily doesn’t change the stats. It’s still as rare and unlikely for people with this fear as it is for any one else. Worry won’t prevent us from getting sick but it will stress us out and make us feel as if we are taking a huge risk by simply going about our normal business as others do every day.

After The Fourth Treatment Session

When Debbie and her therapist met for the last time, Debbie indicated that she had planned the bus trip, and that there were no longer any situations that she still feared. In fact, over the past few weeks she had not thought about her vomiting problem at all. To measure the effects of treatment Debbie was asked to fill out an SCL-90 again. It appeared that there were no high subscale scores with the total score being 121 . Accordingly, it was decided to discontinue the treatment for the time being with the restriction that, if needed, she would contact the therapist again.

How Is It Treated

Helping Kids with Emetophobia, the Fear of Throwing Up

Phobias don’t always require treatment. In some cases, people find ways to work around them. But some feared objects or situations, such as elevators or swimming, are easier to avoid than others.

In general, it’s a good idea to seek help if your phobia affects your quality of life or you find yourself wondering how things would be different if you didn’t have a phobia.

Most people find that exposure therapy and, in some cases, medication, provide relief.

Vomit Phobia Or Fear Of Vomiting Treatment

Fear of Vomiting Treatment

Having an excessive or irrational fear of yourself and /or others vomiting    can restrict your life.  You may fear feeling nauseous and seeing or hearing other people vomit. Vomit phobia may affect what you eat,  where you go, who  you associate with and the activities you engage in.

Some people feel mildly apprehensive whereas others may have a full blown panic attack.

Although you may have had vomit phobia for a long time you can overcome your phobia of  vomit/vomiting once you know to confront your fears appropriately You go at your own pace and are in control of what you do. It is possible to improve your condition and some people completely eliminate their symptoms.

If  you are tired of worrying whether you  and/or someone else is going to vomit and find that your life is handicapped by your fear, call now to get help on 0429 883671.

A clinical psychologist is  available online or face to face in Hawthorn,  Melbourne, Victoria to assist you to overcome your vomit phobia.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic  you can have psychology treatment without leaving home via the telephone or online. The telephone and online sessions are bulk billed for Commonweatth concession card holders.

Face to face Sessions are still available and are also Medicare rebateable.

Low income health care card holders and small business owners are bulked billed provided they have a mental health care plan and a separate referral letter stating the number of sessions authorised.





What Are The Symptoms Of Vomit Phobia

The symptoms of vomit phobia have similarities to other anxiety disorders and can include:

  • Fear and anxiety
  • Use of mints or antacids in the belief they will settle the stomach
  • Weight loss from not eating enough
  • Avoidance behaviours – doctors, hospitals, restaurants, certain foods
  • Worrying about the location of bathrooms

In severe cases, it is possible that people may have a panic attack if they become too overwhelmed by their anxiety.It is also possible that just hearing or saying the words vomit or throwing up can elicit an anxiety response even though these words cannot possibly harm or hurt a person physically.

Therapy for emetophobia works by reducing the anxiety symptoms and helping clients to start to challenge their fears.

The Cycle Of Emetophobia

A person with Emetophobia goes through a repetitive cycle that’s quite similar to the cycle of Panic Disorder. First, something reminds her of vomiting. Maybe she hears that a coworker is home with the flu; gets an e-mail saying that a relative has begun chemotherapy; or sees a movie or TV show in which a character vomits.

Then, a thought about vomiting quickly passes through his mind, consciously or unconsciously. Next thing you know, he’s checking for physical sensations that he associates with vomiting. Maybe he notices how his stomach feels, or clears his throat to check for any possibility of gagging. You don’t have to look too hard to find a sign of something you fear, and sooner or later he feels as though he has some symptom that suggests the possibility of vomiting.

Finally, she enters the vomit phobia phase. To protect herself, she might leave work early, or skip a meal. Maybe she avoids a trip to the bathroom, fearing that the sight of a toilet might induce vomiting. And so the cycle of fearful anticipation, looking for signs of trouble, and chronic avoidance that characterizes Panic Disorder plays itself out with Emetophobia as well.

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