Emetophobia | CharlotteBehappy

So I have a phobia called 'emetophobia'. According to Wikipedia Emetophobia is an intense irrational fear or anxiety pertaining to vomiting.

So here's some stuff about it:

What's the difference between a fear and a phobia?

A fear is a normal emotion everyone experiences and it is easy to overcome. A phobia is an anxiety disorder and is uncontrollable and hard to overcome. Phobias cause distress and can stop people from living their everyday life. 

How does emetophobia affect someone?

Emetophobics can go to great lengths to avoid people who may be sick or to go to places where it's likely someone will be sick (eg. a bar, or a nightclub). Many emetophobics will endure nausea than be sick and it's likely they may be nauseous for hours whereas another person will be sick within twenty minutes of being nauseous. Those with emetophobia can also suffer from anxiety, depression, superstitious behaviour linked to OCD,  anorexia, fear of flying, agoraphobia and panic attacks. Emetophobics can fear children for fear of germs. They can also delay pregnancy just for fear of morning sickness. It's likely emetophobics will avoid travelling for fear of others being sick. Many emetophobics will have rituals when it comes to preparing and cooking food. They will check the freshness frequently (eg the expiration date), and wash the food a lot to avoid potential sickness - food poisoning. Eating out is also avoided.


It's quite common for emetophobia to lead to anorexia. In times where there are vomiting bugs, or viruses going around many emetophobics will starve themselves to avoid throwing up. Many emetophobics can have a fear of food (cibophobia) and then this fear can lead to anorexia nervosa. 

Do they fear vomiting themselves or other people vomiting?

Usually both. Habits of an emetophobic can include:
-Avoiding sick people
-Avoiding eating to much or getting full
-Compulsive cleaning - washing hands etc
-Compulsive expiration date checking
-Avoiding travel
-Not being able to sleep unless hungry
-Being nervous or anxious when going to public places

What causes emetophobia?

There is no specific cause but many causes can be from traumatic childhood experiences such as someone shouting at you for vomiting, or having a bad winter stomach bug. Some sufferers were abused as children - sexually or physically. Sometimes it can be due to lack of control as in situations involving someone being sick or being sick yourself, it is very hard to control. 

What are the treatments?

There are two main treatments:
Medication - anxiety medication to help to keep patients at ease. However many patients did not want to take the pills in fear of side effects (feeling nauseated).
Exposure - The video tape method shows those with the phobia someone vomiting. This method is the most effective but many patients do not want to take this method in fear of having a panic attack.

Emetophobia is the 6th or 7th most common phobia so next time you're watching a programme  and an actor or real person is sick, just think of the possible people who could possible be panicking or otherwise due to it. Bye :)