Now there’s something you don’t hear every day.
How to overcome Emetophobia? What is emetophobia in the first place?
A lot of people who actually suffer from the issue itself don’t know that it has an actual name.
Well, Emetophobia is the fear of vomiting, and it’s a surprisingly common problem these days.
Common enough to have its own name, as well as being common enough to be classified in the DSM-IV.
For those of you who don’t know, DSM stands for Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (not sure how they got to that one) and is basically the go-to resource for mental evaluations.
So, what is it with emetophobia that makes it stand out? Let’s see
Emetophobia isn’t rational
The first time I heard about this type of phobia was a few years back.
I would have liked to tell you some personal story about how I encountered it in real life – but I really didn’t.
I was searching around the internet for different types of mental disorders, and it just seemed to pop up out of nowhere.
At first, I thought it was pretty odd.
Sure, I figured that many people find vomit to be disgusting, but to the point of being phobic of it?
I mean, it is diagnosed differently as a separate type of phobia, so it has more than a little merit.
Figuring that much, I decided to dig deeper.
The results didn’t surprise me: Emetophobia doesn’t make sense, and that’s a huge problem.
I didn’t get it at first
Is there a pattern to be found here? Phobias are, by nature, irrational – so the answer is probably “no”.
That’s really bad.
You see, when people suffer from any and all disorders, standard procedure is to figure out what causes the issue and then solve it.
Sounds simple? Maybe, but it’s far from being easy.
You see, emetophobia breaks down into two categories:
- Fearing other people’s vomiting
- Fearing your own vomiting.
Both are heavily irrational and problematic.
Emetophobia is largely under-researched and poorly understood. As such, misdiagnosis is very likely.
After all, vomiting and panic/anxiety are not mutually exclusive.
In fact, there can be a variety of disorders that induce vomiting as a symptom and are accompanied by irrational fear/behavior.
And that’s scary.
How do you rationalize your fear? How do you describe what is it that you fear? Will the professional sitting before you be able to deduce that emetophobia is your problem?
It’s actually a crippling disorder
Now, some of you might figure that this isn’t a terrible phobia to have.
After all, rarely do we see people vomit, and most of us don’t vomit all that much in the first place.
Sure, it might be pretty nasty when it does actually happen, but for the most part, it doesn’t stop you from living your day-to-day life, right?
The worst part about having a phobia is that it’s always “there” so to speak.
Reading the stories of people who actually suffered from this disorder helped me understand their struggles a little better.
You see, emetophobia is a phobic disorder, and as such, it is accompanied by extreme worry.
People with emetophobia try to avoid anything that might cause them to experience, or see, vomiting in general.
They avoid certain places in fear of germs, they don’t eat certain foods, they are constantly worried about being infected with something.
They avoid many normal things with passion and fear any manner of sickness greatly.
Heck, I’ve read about people who tried to starve themselves simply so that they wouldn’t have anything to puke!
Most of us are pretty carefree about this sort of thing, so we don’t really notice how much we experience it in our daily lives.
But we do.
We are always surrounded by potential vomit-inducers, yet we don’t really pay any attention to it.
Emetophobia sufferers do pay attention, and they do notice
It haunts them day and night, making them afraid of something that they have a very limited control of.
The worst part is that they can’t really seek other people’s help.
It’s pretty lonely to be emetophobic
One thing that people with any mental disorder have in common is that they can always find solace in others.
Yes, even those who suffer from depression will do themselves a solid by getting help and support from friends and family to aid their efforts.
When I was depressed I wanted nothing to do with other people, but in retrospect, I see that their efforts were not in vain.
The situation is very different for people who suffer from emetophobia.
The truth is that most people can’t sympathize with any mental disorder unless they suffer from it themselves.
This causes them to be not only unhelpful but also flat-out hurtful with their comments at times.
In emetophobia’s case, this actually gets much worse.
People normally associate disorders with what they can comprehend.
That is to say, sadness to depression, worry to anxiety and so on.
But with vomit? people just attribute vomit to disgust.
They will probably fail to understand your obsession with it and may come off as insensitive or uncaring.
This is not their intention, they are simply uninformed of the condition.
Most solutions are lacking
There is no one specified cause for emetophobia, there isn’t even a list.
It can be mistaken for a variety of different disorders, such as social anxiety (puking in public will make you look bad), OCD (obsessive need to avoid germs), or even agoraphobia and PTSD.
People won’t really be able to connect to you in any deep, meaningful way regarding your condition either.
Much like with many phobic disorders, therapy has been observed to have limited effect.
It makes sense, too.
You can’t reason with a phobia, and the patient will struggle explaining it in a specific way even when guided by the right questions.
It seems pretty impossible to figure out, doesn’t it? Even experienced therapists struggle with diagnosis, and that’s not even half the battle.
It’s also not too dissimilar to a panic disorder.
In fact, it can cause you to panic quite easily – as can any severe enough phobia.
So what steps should you be taking around this annoying problem? Well, there’s a solution.
The best therapy for emetophobia can be done at home
As I have said before, emetophobia is largely under-researched, and most of the data seems to be rather partial.
Studies do show, however, that exposure therapy seems to be the best way to go.
This particular research tells us of a case study that was conducted and followed closely for three years.
You see, emetophobia ranges greatly in terms of severity, and it can go anywhere between great disgust to an actual phobia.
Disgust sensitivity seems to be a major indicator and a warning sign for emetophobia, according to data.
Keep in mind that exposure therapy isn’t a race, yet it is certainly applicable as a self-help method.
This isn’t an attempt to make vomit seem any less unpleasant or disgusting, so if you are only disgusted by it then you are pretty much good to go.
It isn’t the most elegant of solutions, but you don’t really need to blow off so much cash visiting a therapist unless your phobia is so severe that you can’t even begin with exposing yourself to a drawing of a vomiting person.
For the most part, you can take care of this issue at home, by yourself.
Overcome emetophobia through persistence, don’t avoid it!!!
We haven’t really looked into emetophobia all that much.
In fact, many experts deny that it’s an actual disorder at all, attributing most symptoms to something else entirely.
Heck, even my computer thought that I made a spelling mistake when writing the word ‘Emetophobia’
That being said, the treatment of this particular problem is relatively simple.
You see, many people who are phobic of something try to do their best to avoid it.
be it people, close spaces or just the outside world in general.
That is the absolute worst thing that you can do.
Well, aside from trying to vomit in order to get over it.
That would be like having a PTSD sufferer be sent to war once more.
By avoiding the thing itself you are making yourself fear it even more.
Exposure therapy may seem like such a difficult ordeal, but your current situation as an emetophobia sufferer isn’t really any better.
Right, so that’s pretty much it with my rambling, now I got a question for you guys (and girls).
Have you ever heard of emetophobia? Have you ever met anyone who has experienced such a disorder?
I know that technically I just asked you two questions, but please bear with me on this one.
I would love to hear your answers, so make sure to write down a comment in the comment section below.
I’ll go through all of them.
If you got any question that you would like to ask me personally then please send me an email and I’ll get back to you.