Emetophobia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

HomeHealthEmetophobia: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

The term emetophobia has Greek roots as it originates from the words Emetós (vomit) and phóbos (fear/anxiety). The anxiety caused by emetophobia can have significant negative effects on people’s physical and mental wellbeing. If you are looking for helpful information regarding what is emetophobia, its symptoms, causes, and possible treatment options, you should find the following details quite useful.

What is Emetophobia?

Have you ever wondered about exactly what is emetophobia and how can it be treated? Let’s begin our search for the right answers by defining the condition first. Emetophobia is a rare phobic mental health condition where the patient develops and displays an irrational fear of all things related to vomit and vomiting. Someone suffering from emetophobia will experience considerable anxiety and fear if they come across the sight of vomit, or the sight and/or sound of someone vomiting, including themselves.

Based on how severe the condition is, symptoms of emetophobia can also be triggered through indirect exposure. Some may start feeling anxious even when exposed to:

  • Scenes of vomit/vomiting on screen (movies, shows, images, etc.).
  • Discussions that involve anything directly/indirectly related to vomit/vomiting.
  • Any text (books, messages, letters, etc.) that directly/indirectly mentions vomit/vomiting.

What Causes Emetophobia?

Emetophobia can be often traced back to traumatic childhood experiences. Other than the act/sound/sight of vomiting, the memories are almost always associated with a mix of negative emotions such as fear, anxiety, pain, embarrassment, humiliation, and helplessness to name just a few. It’s not always possible to determine the exact cause for someone’s fear of being sick. However, that may not necessarily interfere with your emetophobia treatment plan’s overall success.

The actual symptoms of emetophobia can manifest at any age as it’s not a disorder that strictly develops in childhood. When there is a large gap between the memory and the symptoms, it could be indicative of a recent trigger. Chances are that something more recent, consciously/subconsciously reminded them of the bad experience.

Emetophobia triggers are usually quite direct, and they almost always involve sudden, excessive or shocking exposure to vomit or vomiting. The fear of vomiting may also arise after a recent experience, irrespective of age. More often than not, it involves a sickness with lots of vomiting.

Is there a Treatment for Emetophobia?

It is not only possible to treat emetophobia, but the right kind of emetophobia treatment can completely cure the condition. The success rate for emetophobia treatment plans will vary though as it depends on other factors, such as:

  • The condition’s severity.
  • The presence/absence of other phobias, manias, and anxiety disorders.
  • The presence/absence of restrictive medical conditions.
  • The emetophobia treatment plan itself.

The plan of treatment for emetophobia could just include therapy, but it may also include medication. To create the best possible treatment plan, your healthcare professional will evaluate your condition with a few assessments first.

Additional methods of treatment for emetophobia can be used in conjunction to treat difficult cases, because quite a lot depends on the patient’s personality. There are situations where cognitive behavior therapy and medication alone could not produce the desired results. In such cases, exposure treatment for emetophobia can be relatively more successful.

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