Emetophobia is the fear of vomiting (fear of being sick) or of being around others who are vomiting. It is also know as SPOV (severe phobia of vomiting).
In severe cases, people with the phobia tend to avoid eating out, they avoid socialising and going to parties. Some sufferers may hardly eat at all and that’s why many are often diagnosed as anorexic (obviously not bulimic because this illness involves vomiting).
They are often fastidious about hygiene and cleanliness; as a consequence they can be regarded as sufferers of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).
The sufferers will go to extraordinary lengths to avoid being or seeing someone being sick.
Some emetophobics can actually avoid being sick; they are able to fight the feeling of nausea before the feeling eventually subsides.
There are many difference causes of this phobia; some of it is learned behaviour whereby the sufferer has experienced someone close to them displaying over-reaction to vomiting (sickness). In much the same way there is the danger that the sufferers’ own offspring can pick up on that over-reaction and go on to develop this unpleasant phobia.
Unfortunately, some of my clients have been using forums to discuss this condition with others, which has led them to ‘normalise’ their condition, thus leading the client to think there is no cure. They compare symptoms and, instead of making them feel better, they just feel it’s their ‘lot’ and they have to live with it. THEY DON’T!
A huge amount of research has gone into the condition and this has been replicated in THRIVE for Emetophobes. This new Thrive book deals specifically with emetophobia and aims at teaching the sufferer to overcome their phobia and get on with their life.
As with other conditions, this is all about control and badly managed thinking and the training helps the client to deal with it.
Below is just one of many examples of successful treatment:
Hope you are well, sorry it has taken me such a long time to email my thanks!
When I first came to you, although I had had a few sessions up in Northampton, I was still suffering quite badly with the emetophobia, I struggled to eat in restaurants, sit in crowded, enclosed spaces, travel on public transport, even eat certain things without panicking about being sick in front of everyone. I searched for exits and toilets compulsively everywhere I went. But since seeing you, it has changed my life dramatically.
I have had a few wobbles where I have needed to focus on the DREAM technique but I expected that, and feel that I have grown stronger and stronger throughout them. I have since spent a month in India (with lots of being sick!) and 3 months in America, doing solo and dual flying hours towards my pilots license. I am currently a High Ropes Instructor and still focusing on a career in the Army – just over a year ago, emetophobia would have held me back from all of this, I wouldn’t even have been able to get on the plane to India!
More than helping in my everyday life, I have been reading other peoples stories and they all involve a trauma between the ages of 1 and 6 as the cause for emetophobia. Mine was the same, but the difference is theirs all involved a vomit related trauma, whereas mine didn’t. This has started a huge interest for me in the causes of the phobia itself and I have been drawn into researching it more and more because so little is known about it.
I cannot thank you enough because you have changed my life so dramatically. Although each session brought up painful memories and emotions, I cant imagine living now as I did before hypnotherapy. When I came to you the phobia had reached its worst, and I thought I would be in fear of being sick forever. Now I don’t feel held back by anything and what you have done for me is amazing. I hope you continue to help people as much as you did me.