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No one enjoys throwing up or seeing others be sick. But some people have an intense fear of vomiting (no matter how unlikely it is to occur) or seeing someone else vomiting. Sufferers of emetophobia can feel physical symptoms of nausea or dizziness at just the thought of vomit in any form.

You may think that this phobia would be fairly easy to manage as a healthy person. But in fact, emetophobia can have a dramatic impact on people’s lives. Avoiding social situations, delaying visits with family or friends if you fear they might be sick, and not failing to take care of your own health, (such as not visiting a doctor when there’s a genuine need for fear of catching a bug) are some common consequences of this debilitating condition. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Fear of Vomit Therapy - Bayside Hypnotherapy Melbourne

What Is Emetophobia

Emetophobia is an intense fear of vomiting. It is a type of anxiety disorder also referred to as the specific phobia of vomiting (SPOV). Emetophobia can cause severe anxiety to sufferers when they think about being sick or seeing others vomit.

Causes of Emetophobia:

  • Traumatic Experience: There are theories that suggest this fear might develop on its own or from a traumatic experience vomiting or seeing someone vomit.
  • Genetic or Biological Factors: Another theory posits that genes or other biological or psychological factors could trigger this phobia.
  • Anxiety-Induced Nausea: Anxiety can cause nausea and vomiting and actually amplify the feeling or fear of being sick, which in turn can cause vomiting. 
  • Other Triggers: Stomach bugs, motion sickness, excessive drinking or eating, allergies, and food intolerances can also make people vomit.

People living with emetophobia often experience intense fear and anxiety about being sick or seeing someone else vomit. Their anxiety and panic about the possibility of vomiting can be so overwhelming that it severely affects their quality of life, panic attacks are common.

Signs of Emetophobia Infographic Bayside Psychotherapy (1)

What Are The Signs Of Emetophobia?

Symptoms of Emetophobia can include:

  • Avoiding seeing vomiting on TV or in movies.    
  • Obsessing over food and meal plans.
  • Avoiding all bad-smelling things excessively.
  • Avoiding hospitals or potentially sick people.
  • Difficulties describing or hearing the word “vomit”.
  • Excessive pre-emptive use of antacids.
  • Avoiding places where you’ve felt sick.


Treating Emetophobia Hypnotherapy & Counselling

Treating Emetophobia – Tips To Overcome The Fear Of Throwing Up 

  • Don’t under or over expose yourself. Avoidance gives fear more power over you, but overwhelming yourself with too much exposure won’t help either.
  • Find an exposure balance in getting acquainted with your emetophobia by educating yourself about it first.
  • Practice mindfulness skills in which you observe your emotions without trying to fix or get rid of them.
  • Be non-judgemental and reflective rather than self-critical (challenge irrational, negative thoughts that undermine your confidence).
  • Build a positive support network.
  • Seek professional assistance from a psychotherapist to help you to unearth the symbolic meaning of the vomit phobia and resolve inner conflicts that led to its formation.

Overcome Your Fear of Vomit With The Help Of Bayside Psychotherapy

Psychologist Melbourne - Bayside Psychotherapy

Seek Treatment For Emetophobia – Bayside Psychotherapy

Do you have any questions for us? Get in touch with us through our online contact form

Call Bayside Psychotherapy on (03) 9557 9113 if you have questions. Your call is completely confidential, and there’s absolutely no obligation.

You can also book an appointment by using our online booking form for online appointments. Or, if you prefer, you can book an in-clinic session

Self-hypnosis may also work well when used in conjunction with counselling. You can download our Emetophobia Self Hypnosis recording from our website.

Treating Emetophobia 

  • Seek professional assistance.
  • Mindfully aim for curiosity rather than self criticism. This phobia is not uncommon and help exists;
  • Practice mindfulness skills or similar meditative techniques.
  • Decide if you want hypnotherapy, counselling or depth psychotherapy.
  • Check out this comprehensive guide on how to choose a therapist.
  • Find a therapist matched to your requirements for Emetophobia help:

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What Is The Cause Of Emetophobia?

Many cases of emetophobia happen after a negative experience with vomiting, though not always! For example, you might develop emetophobia if you vomited in public or in front of someone else, had an illness (like the stomach flu, food poisoning or alcohol poisoning) that caused a lot of vomiting. However, in many cases vomit is symbolic of something else that needs to be addressed.

Can You Self Diagnose Emetophobia?

Emetophobia is identified as a specific phobia when the dread of vomiting leads to persistent, excessive anxiety that greatly affects one’s daily life. However always seek professional assistance rather than attempting self diagnosis or management alone.

Note: Whilst we will do our best to assist you, we rely on our clients’ full commitment to and participation in the treatment process to optimise results. Although some of our therapists work with people presenting with this condition, no guarantees of any outcomes can be made.

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