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Emetophobia-Causes and symptoms

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Emetophobia is the fear of vomiting. It is an intense fear of vomiting. Even though the person may not sick, but still he or she may be fearful of throwing up. This is not a phobia that people generally know about. Sometimes it is also misdiagnosed as other mental disorders. The fear of vomiting exists and it can completely disrupt or destroy one’s life. They suffering from this phobia will have irrational and excessive fear of vomiting. It is not only about vomiting by themselves, but it may also be the fear of seeing other people vomit.

People who suffer from this may go to the extent of forming ritualistically leanness and eating habits so that they can avoid the possibility of vomiting. This phobia can be misunderstood for other conditions like anorexia nervosa, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD.

Causes of Emetophobia

This phobia can be caused by several factors, such as

Distressful event

People who suffer from emetophobia may do so because of distressful events.  If the person went through a terrifying vomiting experience or even saw someonelse go through such an experience, that person may deadlock this phobia. It is an issue more common in case of people who have had some health issues previously which caused persistent vomiting. Such an experience can result in the brain getting conscious of getting sick and vomiting intensely.

Phobias and mental disorders

There are some other obvious and mental disorders that can result in emetophobia. Such disorders and phobias may include panic disorder, agoraphobia, social phobia and other anxiety conditions. If such conditions and disorders make the patient feel nauseatic, then he or she may develop emetophobia. If you are exposed to such regular nausea and panic, then it can trigger emetophobia.

The symptoms

  • the symptoms of emetophobia can be various. The most common and major symptoms that are seen in case of this phobia for both children and adults include
  • persistent and irrational fear that the patient will throw up. Sometimes it may be fear about someone else throwing up
  • pouring too much about getting embarrassed in front of people by vomiting
  • not leaving home at all during the flu season or during any such circumstances
  • avoid parties, celebrations and gatherings
  • avoid eating with other people at any gathering to avoid the possibility of eating and getting sick
  • avoiding image and parks, hotels and pubs, long-distance travels so as to avoid the possibility of seeing anyone else vomiting or to avoid the possibility of vomiting himself or herself
  • extremely conscious of health and hygiene. Always on alert in case of these two topics.
  • Constantly checking on the food being eaten
  • panic attacks along with other physical signs like shivering, dizziness or fainting. Sometimes there may be other physical signs like increased heart, sweating, trouble in breathing, muscle tension and numbness in the body
  • compulsive behaviour in case of cleaning and washing it

Treatment of emetophobia

Emetophobia can be treated by different means available today. The best treatment method maybe a combination of psychotherapies and medicines. The most common and major treatment procedures are-

cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT is useful in treatment of emetophobia because it can help you to modify the thoughts which are causing the phobia. You will need to go and see a therapist for that. Talk therapies, counselling or hypnosis can be used for understanding the negative images which are associated with the phobia in case of the client. The CBT sessions will help the client to recognise the phobia and the trigger points.


Different types of medicines are available for treatment of emetophobia including antianxiety and antidepressant medicines.


1. The Emetophobia Recovery System
2. Treatment of a Woman With Emetophobia: A Trauma Focused Approach
3. Emetophobia: A fear of vomiting