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Emetophobia, or fear of vomiting

Emetophobia, or fear of vomiting

People with emetophobia often retreat into isolation because they feel ashamed and uncomfortable. However, you need help and understanding.

Last updated: December 21, 2023

Emetophobia It is a specific phobia that manifests itself as an excessive and irrational fear of vomiting or nausea. Because this phobia is relatively unknown, those affected receive little social support. However, it is an extremely disabling anxiety disorder that… DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as explained as follows:

  • The fear of vomiting lasts for at least six months.
  • The fear or panic reaction to a stimulus is immediate and intense.
  • This disorder cannot be explained by other disorders, and is not the result of physical or physical disorders.
  • This irrational fear is disproportionate to the danger posed by the situation.
  • It causes clinical discomfort and significantly affects daily life (work, social life, family…).

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Symptoms of emetophobia

People with emetophobia experience the following symptoms, among others:

  • Physical signs: Ironically, the fear of vomiting causes physiological symptoms similar to vomiting itself: nausea, nausea, dizziness, and tremors are common symptoms.
  • Behavioral changes: Compulsive and avoidant behavior are common. Those affected avoid certain places (such as school, hospital, etc.) and change their eating habits.
  • Cognitive symptoms: Characteristic features are obsessive thinking and irrational beliefs about vomiting (eg, belief that saying the word “vomit” will cause vomiting).

Causes of emetophobia

that it It is not clearly explainedWhat causes this phobia? Vomiting is a physical reflex with a protective function, so it is not a natural fear mechanism, as is often the case with other phobias.

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Emetophobia is an emotional reaction to… It could go back to a traumatic childhood experience. The cause could be acute gastrointestinal disease that causes vomiting. The experience may be accompanied by a feeling of loss of control, or those around you may react in an upset and inappropriate way, which may make the situation worse.

Experts also believe that people who are easily disgusted are more likely to develop this phobia. One in a trade magazine Brazilian Journal of Psychiatry However, a published review study demonstrates that this specific phobia needs to be studied in more detail to understand its causes.

Treatment options

Emetophobia is a very restrictive fear that has a particularly strong effect on eating habits. Treatment is absolutely essential to prevent eating disorders. Psychotherapy is often sufficient, but in some cases it is necessary to combine it with pharmacological intervention.

the Cognitive behavioral therapy has been shown to be very effective in treating phobias. As part of this treatment, people with emetophobia encounter anxiety-provoking situations gradually and in a controlled manner in order to systematically promote desensitization. Cognitive restructuring is no less effective, which helps sufferers replace their irrational beliefs with healthier ways of thinking.

EMDR therapy (Sensitive eye movement and reprocessing) is also used successfully. Patients can use this to get to the bottom of their fears and process trauma.

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Social support for emetophobia

Emetophobia is rare: Only about 5% of all specific phobias arise from the fear of vomiting. However, the small group of those affected need understanding and compassion. If you suffer from this anxiety disorder yourself or know someone who does, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. People with emetophobia often retreat into isolation because they feel ashamed and uncomfortable.

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in Psychosocial intervention However, the published article states that tangible support for those affected is a crucial factor in overcoming this disorder. You need a helping hand and professional support.

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