Emetophobia, that hidden fear

Emetophobia, that hidden fear


  • 1 Anxiety and depression disorders
  • 2 What is emetophobia
  • 3 Signs of emetophobia
  • 4 Consequences of emetophobia

Anxiety and depression disorders

A neurotic personality (a type of personality that is characterized by having an intense internal conflict and that who suffers it feels that "their emotions escape their control", deteriorating their general functioning), tends to a very intense propensity to develop phobias of all kinds, anxiety and depression disorders. It is said that clinically anxious people usually have a sensitive mind in a sensitive body.

Any dose of stress adds these people to the concern and, in turn, the small doses of worry cause malfunctions in your body. And it has been found that anxious thoughts have, through the sympathetic nervous system, a direct effect on the physical movements of the stomach and its gastric secretions. At present it is known that between 42 and 61% of patients with intestinal disorders derive from anxiety or depression. It has also been found that people with the syndrome of irritable colon, has greater sensitivity to pain, is more prone to small ailments (such as colds) and is more likely to consider herself more "sick" than the rest of the population.

What is emetophobia?

But let's go in parts, the first thing that can be explained about the disorder of emetophobia It is exactly what it is. The emetophobia is actually the irrational fear of vomiting, the act of vomiting and / or seeing another person vomiting. Generally, the people who present this specific disorder are already particularly sensitive and generally anxious individuals, as might be expected. It has been described in recent research that emetophobes tend, among other things, to show "excessive sensitivity to the opinion of others."

Signs of emetophobia

Many emetophobes can not lead a normal life because of their phobia, some wash the food excessively so that no bacteria are present in the food that can make them vomit. They avoid jobs that can lead them (even if it is a very remote possibility) to vomit or see others vomiting. They also avoid being alone with young children, some women decide never to become pregnant due to the possibility of vomiting during the months of pregnancy, avoid meetings where alcohol is present, etc. this affects them even when it comes to going on the street, taking public transport, work, parties ...

In addition, even in the case of phobic disorders alike, it seems that it is "better seen" to be afraid, for example to fly, or to the crowds, than to be afraid to vomit. It seems more strange and even out of place. For this reason many emetophobes never declare this fear or hide it better than other people, so it is a phobia that has long been concealed.

Unfortunately, the emetophobes, in addition, are very capable of provoking with their anxious symptoms, what they fear most (that is, vomiting), which, of course, is one more reason to be constantly afraid of simply being afraid to what may happen.

Thus, the life of an emetophobic is built largely around its phobia. Some have not worked or left home for years because of their fears and can't even say or write the word "vomit" and derivatives.

Luckily, the arrival of the Internet has given emetophobes the opportunity to get to know each other, and to know that they are not alone in their condition. Online communities and support groups (especially English speaking) have been created. The appearance of these virtual communities, some very large (according to an estimate, the International Emetophobia Society forum has a membership five times higher than the largest fear of flying forum that exists), which caught the attention of researchers from anxiety, which have been put to work to study this phobia more rigorously. As a curiosity I would like to comment that in these communities the rule of not writing the words "vomit" or "vomiting" or derivatives is usually imposed, and changing it to "v *****" or similar.

Consequences of emetophobia

As with any other phobic disorder, people who suffer from this disease have high levels of physiological arousal, avoidance behaviors (as we have already seen) and neutralization, such as carrying stomach medicines, antiemetics and anxiolytics of all kinds. So the emetophobes have a low self-esteem and very low self-esteem, since they firmly believe that they have serious problems in dealing with everyday life. For them vomiting is a clear symptom of loss of control, they also feel fear of "taking out their interiors", to reveal what is inside them. But above all, it seems to represent his great fear of dying.

Among some famous people who have declared themselves to be emetophobic are actress Nicole Kidman, Matt Lauer (show host) Today), American folk music singer Joan Baez and Best Seller writer "Anxiety" Scott Stossel.


The treatment for this type of disorder is similar to that of any other anxiety disorder. There are different ways to approach it, from the cognitive behavioral therapy (apparently one of the most effective), going through the psychoanalysis (already quite obsolete) or the Brief Strategic Therapy (with also very good results). In any case, it is best to go to a good professional to get in your hands before letting this disorder incapacitate us every day.