Meaning and etymology of emetophobia.
Many times we hear the name of a phobia and we do not know how to identify what fear it represents... It has happened to me many times and I am sure it has happened to you too on some occasion.
The root of the term comes from the combination of 2 words ✌️... Emesis and phobia.
Emesis originates from the Greek word emein and refers to the action of vomiting 🤮
In the case of "phobia" it is understood as an exaggerated and inexplicable fear towards an object, living being or situation in general.
In this way we can understand that emetophobia is the irrational fear towards the action of vomiting... Whether you or another person commits this act.
You already know! If someone says "The phobia of the fear of vomiting" you will know that it is emetophobia 🤓
How common is emetophobia and how many people in the world have it?
About 0.1% of people in the world suffer from the irrational fear of vomiting, which symbolizes 8 million people with this phobia... It is a rare disease compared to other diseases 🤔, for example cancer is well known for its dangerousness but it is really a disease that affects a small percentage of people (about 0.6% or 0.7% of the world population).
In this way we can appreciate how rare emetophobia is in general; I am sure that the vast majority will know cancer as a disease and even so, very few will know a person who had the bad luck to have this disease... This happens with a percentage of 0.6% now imagine what it would be like with 0.1% 🥴
Emetophobia in the DSM-5.
The ways in which a phobia can affect someone's life can be very varied, from affecting you a few times a year to making every day a torture; for this reason psychologists created a classification for irrational fears in order to identify them more easily... In the case of emetophobia it is recognized and identified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a specific irrational fear of the "other" type.
This is great news 🙌! It means that it is not as harmful or complicated to combat as irrational fear of socializing and so on... If you know someone with this condition or you have it yourself, I highly recommend going to a psychologist.
It may take time but that person or your future self will be very grateful 👍
Emetophobia and ARFID.
Avoidant restrictive eating disorder and extreme panic over vomiting, despite being very different mental disorders, are often related... Why 🤔? Simple logic, if you avoid those foods that made you vomit before, you can prevent it from happening again.
Everyone has different tastes and therefore many times we avoid eating some food that is not to our liking or that makes us feel bad 🤢... So when is it a mental disorder to avoid certain foods? When these restrictions create innutritious and impoverishing diets ☠️
You may not like some things but when those tastes restrict you from a large group of foods that are vital for health, it is a big problem ❌... I did not like many things as a child, a great way to get used to eating certain types of food is to simply eat them despite the discomfort and I assure you that little by little you will get used to them or simply ignore them over time 😴
People with emetophobia are more prone to have ARFID due to their bad experiences 🤕... It is something natural, when we vomit we almost always blame it on what we ate and here comes the mental disorders; you have an irrational fear towards vomiting and if you think that you vomited because you ate some kind of food you will obviously avoid that food at all costs 😶
It is obvious but it is worth mentioning that having a healthy diet is of vital importance for your life or that of any person, it favors your health, growth, energy, physique, among many other things... Don't let a phobia stop you from having a balanced diet ✊!
Emetophobia and anorexia.
The irrational fear of vomiting is often related to anorexia, because it can lead to eating disorders such as ARFID... Although emetophobia and anorexia can cause malnutrition, the reality is that they are only related in that aspect 🤷
Let me explain 🤐... Anorexia causes malnutrition in order to lose weight in an unhealthy way, the extreme panic of vomiting can do the same but its reason is obviously different, since eating is avoided not to lose weight but for fear of vomiting.
Can emetophobia create anorexia 🤔? No, since anorexia is created by the fear of being obese... It can also generate malnutrition but not anorexia as such, although it can create other mental disorders related to food such as ARFID that I have just explained.
Fear of other people vomiting.
I had already clarified this unknown but I want to emphasize it, emetophobia encompasses all fear related to the action of vomiting 🤮... For this reason if you hear phrases like:
"Fear of other people vomiting"
"Fear of vomiting in public or in public places"
"Fear that it's just me vomiting"
You know that all these statements refer to the same irrational fear.
Can you imagine subdividing this fear over and over again?
"I don't have that evil 😒, I just feel extreme panic when I vomit but I don't care if others do"
"It's not emetophobia 😒! I just get heart attacks when someone else vomits in a specific place"
"I obviously don't have a problem 😒, I just get terrified and faint at the thought that I might throw up in public... But only if it's in public!"
That would be a big bummer wouldn't it?
Anxiety and emetophobia.
Fear of vomiting as an anxiety problem? emetophobia as other phobias are considered as anxiety disorders, it is not a joke or a game; it is a mental problem that must be treated and cured ❤️🩹
Many times people are discriminated for having absurd fears from an outsider's perspective but we must always remember that everyone evaluates and feels differently... In many occasions you will not know the origin of that fear or the other problems that the poor patient has.
I make this comment in order to seek respect and care for people who have any kind of phobia, they are mental disorders that cause many ills in the lives of others and that should never be denigrated ❌
Emetophobia and panic or anxiety attacks.
The emetophobia as another type of phobias is characterized by being able to generate panic attacks and anxiety; remembering that phobias are characterized by generating irrational and exaggerated fears that generate many evils to people 🤕... Here comes a big problem of anxiety attacks and panic that generates the emetophobia, can generate nausea that can end in vomiting.
It seems a joke doesn't it 🤡? The simple fact of thinking that you can vomit can generate a lot of anxiety if you have emetophobia, now imagine that because of that same panic attack you start to feel nauseous... BAM 💥! You vomit and your fear is fulfilled, causing even more anxiety.
If you are looking for "help with panic attacks or emetophobia anxiety", the best way you can take in these situations is to relax your mind and try not to think about vomiting to relieve your stress... It is something that everyone would tell you and they are really right but they have no idea how difficult it can be to do that with a phobia.
That is why I recommend again that you go to a psychologist if you suffer from this illness, it is the best place for you to learn to control your mind in a safe way and not become even more afraid than you already are.
Examples on emetophobia.
It's natural not to want to vomit 🤷, most people would agree that it's disgusting and if they have the choice not to do it they obviously wouldn't, but when does this disgust become an irrational fear? Let's look at the following examples:
"You are travelling in a van with your friends 🚐, the trip is entertaining and relaxing up to a certain point until you start to feel dizzy and the dizziness gradually gets stronger... You know that if you continue driving you will vomit inside the car, for this reason you talk to the driver to stop briefly so you can get out and rest a bit 😥; you felt a bit embarrassed with your friends and you even vomited after you got out of the car; but once everything happened you felt better and you could continue with your journey".
In this case it can be considered that you reacted in a normal way, it is uncomfortable to think that people can see you vomit or that you don't feel well thinking that you could end up vomiting, but at no time did this fear disable you or generate anxiety in large measures... Now let's look at a case where irrational fear is demonstrated:
"Again you are travelling in a van with your friends and you start to feel dizzy, many negative thoughts about vomiting start to flood your mind; your stomach hurts, panic prevents you from talking and your face starts to turn pale 😨... Your friends get worried and ask you questions but you can't answer, the anxiety generated increases your dizziness and BAM you vomit in the middle of the car 🤢, your friends before getting angry are sympathetic with your situation but your fear doesn't go away and even, your companions took you out of the car and when you finally recovered from the event, you couldn't get into the car because of the dread that it generated in you".
This case is more exaggerated but that is where phobias stand out, they are irrational and disproportionate to the situation in which they occur 🤯
How to differentiate a natural fear from emetophobia?
You may still have doubts about how to differentiate a natural fear from emetophobia... For this reason, allow me to present you several key points that will help you to clarify this mystery:
Emetophobia is disproportionate to the situation in which it occurs, it is uncontrollable, it generates avoidance behaviour and it incapacitates you when it occurs 🤯
Fear is natural, logical and controllable 😶
Nobody likes to vomit, but it is one thing to feel bad or feel repulsed by this action and quite another to generate anxiety, stress and extreme panic by vomiting or feeling that you will do it 😟... Identifying a phobia is the job of a psychologist but we must also be able to recognise when we have a problem and it is time to seek professional help.
Signs, triggers and complications of emetophobia.
The irrational fear of vomiting, like other types of mental disorders, causes a host of negative effects in people who suffer from it.
The way in which this disease affects your life varies a lot, for this reason it divides the symptoms in 3 categories: Behavioral, physical and mental 🧠... This way it will be easier for you to recognize the danger that emetophobia represents.
In addition to presenting the triggers and complications of extreme panic to vomiting of course.
Behavioural symptoms of emetophobia:
- Avoidance of sick people.
- Excessive concern about food expiration dates.
- Excessive and unnecessary hand washing.
- Extreme sensitivity to odors.
- Exaggerated avoidance of alcohol and places where these drinks are consumed.
- Illogical avoidance of medications likely to cause dizziness or vomiting.
- Avoidance of pregnant women and the very idea of becoming pregnant.
- Unnecessary checking of restroom locations (in addition to staying near them).
- Total avoidance of eating out.
- Exaggerated checking of food ingredients.
- Total avoidance of traveling by car, plane, boat, etc.
- Excessive use of antacids.
- Sleeping near a place or object to vomit (toilet, wastebasket, etc).
- Avoidance of trying new foods.
Effects that alter your way of acting that although they do not cause physical or mental pain, they can limit your life by restricting your actions ⛓️... For example, avoiding at all costs places that do not have toilets nearby can be very limiting, imagine wanting to go to the concert of your dreams and not doing so because your place is far from a toilet 🚽
Physical symptoms of emetophobia:
- Increased heart rate.
- Motion sickness.
- Upset stomach.
- Chest pain.
The negative effects that cause you bodily harm, are the problems with the most recognizable importance as they are so showy but do not underestimate the other variants... Each consequence negatively affects the life of the possessor and should be avoided 🏃
Mental symptoms of emetophobia:
- Extreme and irrational fear of vomiting or seeing people vomiting in any situation or place.
- Avoidant Restrictive Eating Disorder (ARFID).
- Increased susceptibility to other mental disorders.
Problems with the greatest long-term danger to your life... Many underestimate the weight of anxiety and other mental disorders but they can weaken your being and make you more susceptible to more negative problems 😖
If you come to possess some of these ailments, do not allow them to grow and see a psychologist, I assure you that in the future you will be grateful for it 🌟
Triggers of emetophobia:
- Feeling nauseated.
- Hearing or seeing things related to vomiting.
- Being in a new place without knowing the location of the restrooms.
- Being near or seeing foods that made you vomit before.
- Perceiving strong odors.
- Being about to eat something new.
- Traveling by car, airplane, etc.
- Seeing spoiled food.
- Seeing a pregnant woman or learning that you are pregnant.
- Not having antacids available.
- Not knowing the ingredients of the food you eat.
- Eating outside the home.
- Taking medications that can cause dizziness.
- Sleeping away from a bathroom.
- Being near someone who is sick.
- Having dirty hands.
- Drinking alcohol or seeing people drinking alcohol or just being near a place where alcohol is sold.
It is curious how the events that can trigger emetophobia are so common in everyone's life that it is scary how uncontrollable this mental disorder can be 😵... For example, how do you control the fact of not perceiving strong smells? You would literally have to hold your nose all day long or simply not go out of your house since it is the only place where you can be sure not to smell anything 😷
Complications of emetophobia:
- Eating disorders (ARFID).
- Social isolation.
- Other phobias.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
- Stress, anxiety, nervousness, fear, etc.
Complications usually have very ambiguous explanations , but they are understood as the problems that affect the diagnosis or treatment of a disease, that is to say... They impede the process of curing or identifying a disease. Actually almost all the symptoms in one way or another can be taken as complications, since they can hinder the work of the psychologist... For this reason I only took into account the most common ones 🤷
Imagine that you are not willing to go to the psychologist only because he does not have a bathroom nearby... Here one of the most "harmless" symptoms can become a complication for the emetophobia 😶
Emetophobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
The obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a disease that causes recurrent and uncontrollable behaviors and thoughts 🔄... making people obsessive with their routines and ideas.
The irrational fear of vomiting can undoubtedly lead to obsessive-compulsive disorder, if you realize all the behavioral and mental symptoms that I showed you promote the creation of this evil 🙁... By forcing you to follow certain behaviors to avoid vomiting or even, the simple constant anxiety of vomiting makes you more susceptible to this disorder 😔
All the more reason not to denigrate emetophobia and strive to cure it before it infects you with more mental and physical problems.
What causes emetophobia?
The irrational fear of vomiting like any other phobia can be caused by multiple factors... Physical or mental abuse, bad experiences, bad upbringing or even genetics itself can cause emetophobia 🧬
Among the most common causes of emetophobia are being teased by others for vomiting, getting sick and puking as a result, or simply throwing up in public 🤢
Previously I commented that bad upbringing and genetics can be the cause of emetophobia; indeed it is so since susceptibility to mental disorders such as depression and phobias can be inherited (we do not only inherit physical characteristics)... In the case of upbringing I consider that it is self-explanatory 😶; getting a harmful learning from our parents can ruin our lives in many ways, from lowering our self-esteem to causing phobias without having gone through traumatic events 🙁
Therapy, treatment, cure or help for emetophobia.
Many of the people that suffer from some type of phobia usually accept the fact of living with this evil or simply believe that they cannot fight this fear 😟... The reality is that if they can end with their mental disorder but it will require a very high commitment to be able to achieve this accomplishment 💪
If you suffer from extreme vomiting panic you may think “I am not able to overcome it” or “How can I fight against something that leaves me paralyzed?”... But I assure you that you can do it and although it may seem an impossible goal to achieve, there are many professionals who can help you defeat this mental disorder 👊
There are even several treatments that can be adapted to your person and the severity of your mental disorder, do not lose hope and trust in yourself ... Do not let this evil continue to harm your life 🔥
Surely you will ask yourself "What are these treatments 🤔?"... Don't worry, I will explain them below:
Evaluation or diagnosis of emetophobia.
First of all ☝️, it is a job that only a psychologist can do and although it may seem simple to identify emetophobia, it is crucial that a professional performs the evaluation or diagnosis of this mental disorder.
How does this process work 🤔? Usually it is based on a long talk where the psychologist tries to get as much information as possible about you, asking about your history, symptoms you have suffered, how you have felt before all these experiences and in general, questions that allow him/her to evaluate you with criteria 🧐... There are even some professionals that if they see it necessary, expose you in a much dissimulated way to the source of your fear in order to measure the intensity of your irrational fear.
Obviously this whole process is done in order to identify if you have emetophobia or another mental disorder, in turn psychologists also often use the criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5)... A document that helps greatly in their work and usually establishes 4 guidelines to identify a phobia:
Intense and irrational fear 😖: If the fear generated is disproportionate to the situation where it occurs, in addition to weakening or disabling the person who suffers from it.
Anticipatory anxiety 🤯: Your thoughts play against you and tend to imagine or prevent events that may activate your phobia... Basically it is generating anxiety thinking about what may happen when nothing has happened yet.
Avoidance 🏃: As its name suggests, it is based on whether the person avoids at all costs anything that can be related to irrational fear... In the case of emetophobia would be to avoid roller coasters, travel in any means of transport or even avoid hearing and saying terms like "vomit" and the like.
Daily activities 😶: If the irrational fear interferes in your daily life... In the case of emetophobia, it can affect many aspects, from making the person obsessive to preventing them from going about their normal day simply because of smelling bad smells.
Cognitive behavioral therapy for emetophobia.
It is the most basic and versatile therapy to treat people with phobias, it is based on changing the way of thinking and acting before the trigger of your irrational fear... Its method is simple 🤓, make intelligent talks that help you visualize more logically your phobia and thus become less susceptible to it.
Exposure therapy for emetophobia.
As its name suggests, it is based on presenting you with different situations that have to do with your fear; with the aim of getting you used to it... Obviously the initial exposures are very light and the intensity is gradually increased, the idea is to gradually get used to the fear, not to force you to stop being afraid of it in 1 day.
It may seem a very risky method due to all the evils caused by emetophobia and other irrational fears, but in many cases it is the only method that will really eradicate that fear completely.
Keep in mind that cognitive behavioral therapy often prepares you to be able to do exposure therapy... For this reason I consider the latter as "The best treatment for emetophobia" since it is the definitive cure for the phobia in most cases 🧐
EMDR therapy (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) for emetophobia.
Did you know that the human brain tends to be more rational if our gaze is in motion 🤨? This therapy takes full advantage of this effect and can give great results in curing emetophobia (it is even used in other mental problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder).
How does it work 🙃? Simple, you and the psychologist have a deep talk in which you remember or think about your phobia while you gaze at the fingers or object that the psychologist keeps moving... It is a simple but very effective practice against mental disorders if applied correctly.
Hypnotherapy for emetophobia.
Hypnotherapy, despite the exaggerated examples of cartoons or gossip, is a very safe and effective method for treating emetophobia 🧐... It is even very similar to EMDR therapy, although hypnotherapy can be a bit more complex to explain.
In EMDR therapy you simply follow a moving object with your eyes while you talk to the psychologist... In hypnotherapy this practice is used in conjunction with other techniques that help the psychologist direct your thoughts 🛣️
He may tell you to "follow this pendulum with your gaze" or he may instruct you to close your eyes and imagine something... Hypnotherapy itself is more comprehensive, as it not only brings about a change in consciousness, but also increases relaxation and attention 👁️
Benefits that obviously help you a lot with emetophobia and other mental disorders and not 🥴... No one will make a joke about you saying "Dog" and you will suddenly act like one 🐕
Virtual reality exposure therapy (VRET) for emetophobia.
This therapy takes full advantage of the technology of virtual reality goggles 😎, using them to create safe and simple environments in which the patient can be lightly exposed and gradually become accustomed to their fear.
In the case of emetophobia, this treatment is rarely applied 🤷, but it can still represent a great help in the cure of this mental disorder, by creating situations that are very difficult to create in the real world 🌎
Relaxation techniques for emetophobia.
Learning some tricks to be able to calm down in times of stress can significantly help us against emetophobia and even life itself 😶... Yoga, deep breathing, mental anchoring, massages; these are just some of the means we can use.
Each of these techniques generates calmness and rationality in our being, symbolising a great support against the panic and irrationality of emetophobia 💜
Medications for emetophobia.
I really do not recommend the use of medications and even few psychologists recommend them in specific phobias such as emetophobia ... Keep in mind that phobias make you more susceptible to other mental disorders and addiction is one, you just imagine that you become addicted thanks to the weakness that emetophobia generates in you 😨
For this and more reasons I only recommend using medications if and only if a psychologist recommended it... Emetophobia also complicates a little the prescription of medicines because they should not have side effects such as dizziness or any other cause that can generate vomiting.
Among the medications that are usually recommended for emetophobia are:
- Benzodiazepines (in spite of generating dizziness, they are recommended with great care and emphasis on the doses allowed per day 🤐).
- Antiemetics (drugs that reduce nausea, dizziness and the probability of vomiting in general 🤢).
Prognoses for emetophobia
Emetophobia is an anxiety disorder with incredibly good prognosis! About 80% of people who seek the help of a psychologist to solve their problem succeed 😮... That is, 8 out of 10 people overcome their irrational fear of vomiting.
Do you think you have emetophobia and want to get rid of it? Try it! Chances are that you will succeed 😌
Living with emetophobia.
Many times when we are not able to solve a problem we are content to stop trying and live with it... I will tell you the best thing you can do with your life if you have emetophobia and you cannot overcome it: "Do not give up and keep trying until you achieve your goal 🌟".
Living with the irrational fear of vomiting is not an option because it can harm you in a thousand ways, altering your behavior, physical and psychological well-being, and if that were not enough, it also makes you more susceptible to other mental disorders ... In short, it would lower your quality of life so much that it can no longer be considered a small problem to ignore.
Overcome, relieve and confront emetophobia! But never let this evil be stronger than you, you deserve a healthy life free of mental disorders... Seek help from a psychologist, strive in your being and believe in yourself, I assure you that it will be worth all the care you devote to your health 😌
Frequently asked questions about emetophobia
A short summary that will save you a lot of time in case you don't want to read 😛, but I strongly recommend you to read the whole page if you really want to be properly informed.
Emetophobia represents the fear of the action of vomiting... Regardless of whether you vomit or someone else does, it encompasses everything related to this action.
The word emetophobia comes from the combination of 2 words: Emesis and Phobia... The former refers to the action of vomiting and the latter to an irrational fear.
It is estimated that 0.1% of the world's population has emetophobia, that is, out of every 1000 people, only 1 person has extreme fear of vomiting 🤓... It is a very rare mental disorder when compared to anxiety and other phobias 🤷
It is considered a specific phobia of category "other" 🤓
In many cases yes, as emetophobia causes you to avoid certain foods and this effect can lead to an avoidant restrictive eating disorder 😔
Not really, emetophobia can create eating disorders such as ARFID but not anorexia in general, as this is created by the desire to lose weight, not to avoid vomiting 🤷
Although the irrational fear of vomiting does not represent a great physical danger, it can symbolise many mental problems such as anxiety, ARFID and so on 😶
Extreme panic of vomiting is often created by abuse and trauma, but can also be generated by poor parenting and even genetics 🧬
Phobias in general are anxiety disorders, so yes, emetophobia can generate high levels of anxiety 😕
Yes, and it is one of the many reasons why you should treat it urgently if you suffer from this condition.
Fear is logical and controllable, emetophobia is exaggerated, uncontrollable and capable of incapacitating you ⛓️
Yes, as it tends to create multiple behaviours in our being that can easily create this mental disorder.
To be frank, the safest and most effective way to deal with the irrational fear of vomiting is to see a psychologist 🧠... It's the most likely way to succeed and you make sure you don't raise the fear even more with silly mistakes.
There really is no "best method" as each method is best suited to the individual patient, but from my perspective it is exposure therapy as it is usually the final test to see if you have overcome your fear 🤔
With professional help, around 80% of sufferers manage to overcome it 💖
If a psychologist does not prescribe it, DO NOT BUY MEDICATIONS... Since they are not highly recommended and there are other methods to combat the extreme panic of vomiting 👊
First of all you should go to a psychologist to be able to solve your mental disorder and in case you can't do it, practice relaxation techniques 💆, it is the safest and most uncomplicated way you can take.
Don't consume remedies randomly, The irrational fear of vomiting makes you susceptible to addictions 🥴... Better practice relaxation techniques, it is a safer and easier way 🚶
First of all you should try to relax but if it is a case of emetophobia I can simply recommend you to go to a psychologist and practice relaxation techniques 😔