|Emotional Mastery Emotional intelligence, addiction and recovery, grieving, loss, fear, anger, guilt, resentment, frustration, anxiety, depression, happiness, joy, love, kindness, forgiveness, self-acceptance, confidence, escaping the pit of despair, EFT|
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|03-31-2008, 11:04 PM||#32 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Pasadena, CA
My wife had this problem for a long time. It was related to a bad experience she had a child where she almost choked and ended up vomiting. The only thing that got her over the emotional trauma and fear was eventually vomitting again and realizing that it was her fear of choking that caused her fear of vomitting.
I hope the best for you, living in fear like that is a terrible thing.
|04-17-2008, 05:24 AM||#34 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2008
I just found this thread. I was listening to the CD "Relieve Anxiety with Medical Hypnosis" by Steven Gurgevich, and he mentioned the condition so I Googled it. I had no idea there was a name for it or that it was common.
I've suffered from emetophobia almost all my life. I didn't have it when I was very young because I remember (very well) having the stomach flu when I was preschool age. I threw up all night to the point where my mother slept on the floor beside me next to the bathroom. I remember feeling better the next day and happily eating breakfast (no way could I do that now) as my mom talked about washing my vomit-covered bedsheets in the middle of the night and wondering if the washing machine disturbed the neighbors.
I vomited a couple more times until I was in the first grade (both times chocolate milk at night) and then didn't throw up again for 26 years! It makes so much sense that people that suffer from this do not vomit for long stretches of time. It's as if the fear stops whatever it is that triggers vomiting as I can't believe I could have gone that long otherwise. I'd usually gag but nothing would come up. I'd often rush outside if I felt sick. For some reason I liked being outside when I felt nauseous. I think it's because I could just throw up anywhere and I wouldn't have to go to a specific spot. Fortunately my fear didn't keep me from going to school, working, and traveling (though I don't do the latter very much anyway).
Unfortunately, it's affecting me more recently then in the past. I got strep throat February of last year and took medicine that eventually made me feel sick. I took some Tylenol because I was in so much pain and began feeling even more nauseous and mostly scared. It was more a feeling in my throat area than my stomach. I started gagging. Finally oatmeal I had eaten three hours earlier came up, I spit it out and that was it. At first it didn't seem so bad. For the first time vomiting in 26 years, it went very smoothly. I just calmly walked to the toilet and the apple cinnamon oatmeal actually wasn't all that unpleasant coming up. I thought I got off easy.
Well, the gagging continued even after I got over the strep. I developed a fear of gagging as well as vomiting to the point where I'd stop eating if I felt nervous for days at a time. It was very difficult to start eating again. I also get very nervous taking any type of medicine (even over-the-counter stuff).
I never had a fear of medicine before but now I usually can't finish a prescription because it would put me through too much stress and anxiety even when I took several pills and knew it wouldn't hurt me. Sadly, throwing up didn't help me overcome the fear. It just gave me a fresher memory to enhance my anxieties.
When I go through a panic attack and feel like I am going to vomit, I get ice water and splash it on my face and stomach. My co-workers understand my problem, fortunately, so it's no big deal if it happens at work. Gum and mint chocolate hard candy sometimes helps, too. Other times, I can't stand anything in my mouth. Usually attacks happen at night when I'm home, so I'll lay on the bed, loosen my clothes, splash ice water on myself sometimes to the point of shivering, and listen to an anxiety CD or read a Simpsons comic book. Sometimes it keeps me from getting enough sleep. Fortunately I haven't gagged or stopped eating for about nine months but the anxiety still plagues me. I only know how to cope with it not how to cure it. It's just comforting knowing I'm not alone.
|04-17-2008, 11:02 PM||#35 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2007
I had what I guess you would call "mild" emetophobia for my entire childhood, until a couple years ago. Like many emetophobes, I hadn't thrown up for a long time, I think since I was in 3rd grade. I would only get scared of throwing up if I was actually feeling sick, but it did not control my life at all.
What I can tell you is that my phobia went away after I finally threw up after over 10 years. I think mostly I was scared because I couldn't remember what it was really like to throw up, and I was remembering it being a lot more horrible than it really was.
Maybe try and think of several ways you could "face your fear."
I know you probably won't like this suggestion, but maybe the next time you feel nauseous you should invite your body to vomit instead of holding back. I'm not saying gag yourself, but if you feel like you are going to be sick, just let yourself be sick. It might eliminate some of the fear of the action.
Or, since you fear being far away from home (and your safe place), maybe start to go on little road trips, either alone or with friends. Start with small trips away from home (maybe only a few hours) then upgrade to trips that last several days. Eventually you will see that even though you are not at home, you can still be safe.
Also, when you start having fear, maybe ask yourself, "What is the worst that can happen?" Maybe you could vomit in public and people would think you were a freak. Maybe you could vomit onsomebody. Well, George H.W. Bush vomited on the Japanese Prime Minister, and the world did not end. Sure, it was a terribly humiliating and disgusting moment for everybody, but life went on, and everybody came out just fine.
|06-11-2008, 12:38 PM||#36 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jun 2008
|07-12-2008, 04:17 PM||#37 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2008
I thought I'd throw in my two cents here, because it might help a few people.
Well, for the last year, since I last threw up, I have had an irrational fear of vomiting. I was afraid of it beforehand, but it was after that experience that it got really bad. All I remember is feeling sick around 10:30 PM, passing it off as nothing, and going to bed. Then around 1 AM (I believe) I woke up with a start and ran into the hallway form my room, yelling for my mom (I am a mama's boy, that should explain that). I collapsed against the basement door and my dad came running. I stumbled back into my room and passed out on my floor. My mom got me back up and told me that I was throwing up. There was vomit in my nose so I couldn't breath until I blew it all out. My parents brought my mattress out to the living room and I slept on the floor, keeping a bucket at my side all night. I threw up, I think, three more times during the night and once more in the morning. Each time, it went [vomit, small pause for air, vomit]. I remember telling my mom (after the first conscious vomit) that it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
I tried a few times to poop after I was done throwing up (this will make sense later when you find out WHY I was throwing up in the first place), but it didn't seem to want to come out while I was on the toilet. I ended up having what my mom called "sneaker poopers" and kept having diarrhea in my pants.
I have been thinking about this a lot today. Last night, yesterday morning, and off-and-on today, I have been feeling nauseous (along with bad gas, a loss of appetite, and I've been waking up during the night for the last three nights for no obvious reason). I came to the conclusion that, afraid or not, vomiting is a normal part of life and I'll have to face it again eventually. So I've calmed down and just welcomed the nausea. Plus, I am wondering... experts say that emetophobia usually stems from a traumatic experience of vomiting, and usually indicates that the suffering person is not afraid of vomiting itself, but believe they are because they subconsciously connect vomiting to that traumatic experience.
So if the only memory I have of vomiting (other than normal childhood "one-vomits") can be connected to an abrupt, unexpected case that involved surprise, anxiety, stress, and even the fact that I passed out, then perhaps I am not so much afraid of vomiting as I am just connecting it to the bad things that happened to me last time, most of which could just be connected to the anxiety and panic I was experiencing that night.
So here is my advice to other emetophobes and myself. While you cannot just simply think your fear away, you can try to embrace it. For some, a phobie can be cured. For others, they must make an attempt to live with it. I am merely a 16 year old who has only had one case of the stomach flu (the experience earlier described, which I caught from my mother, passed onto my brother (my dad did not catch it, surprisingly!) and kept me home from school the following Monday (despite that fact that I was done with the vomiting/diarrhea by Sunday afternoon), and one case of mild food poisoning (which only made me nauseous, I didn't actually throw up, and I felt better by the next morning). I can't afford the prices people charge to 'cure a fear' (which, in my opinion, is outrageous. We should only pay if it ends up working).
While I myself know all too well that even hearing the word vomit, let alone experiencing it, can seem like the end of the world to an emetophobe, rest assured that you are not alone. Vomiting is a part of life. It happens, and everybody does it. And while I'm sure my ranting cannot force you to stop worrying, I hope it can help you get one step closer to conquering your fear. Now, let's do some math problems, shall we?
Unless suffering from a bigger problem, the average person will throw up no more than ten times in their lifetime (and this isn't counting personal vomit inducers like bulimia and being drunk, or the random things like being kicked in the stomach). So say you live to be 90. That means that your chances of throwing up in any given year is a slim 9%. Your chances of throwing up on any given day are 0.0246575% in a normal year and 0.0245901% in a leap year.
So yes, emetophobia is normal, but I believe the first step (and possibly only step for some people) to curing your emetophobia is realizing that vomiting happens, and while studies do show that emetophobes typically throw up less than others, they will still throw up in their lives. And the chances of it causing long term damage is about as slim as the yearly odds of vomiting. It is not the end of the world.
|09-02-2008, 11:36 AM||#39 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2008
I too have emetophobia, and even though I experience a fear of myself throwing up (which actually for me is more of a fear of nausea), most of it comes from the fear of being around someone who is sick or will be sick.
My story...yes it is long lol.
I have two small children who both came down with a stomach virus for 2 weeks a few years ago and they were sick non-stop between the two of them for 2 weeks straight. What was happening was that they would be reinfecting each other. We eventually had to send one off to my inlaws so they could both get better and it allowed for me to have some time to disinfect. Now although had always had this fear as long as I remember, these events pretty much stressed me to a breaking point. I managed to get through the 2 weeks, but my son ended up getting sick one time, a week later and I broke down. It suddenly became a severe fear.
I was scared of being in my own home, scared of my kids (because when they threw up it was so spontaneous and not expected that I was constantly in fear)...I became pretty much scared of everything. I ended up moving myself down into the basement of the house and couldn't even think of leaving it without becoming enveloped with fear. There were days that I didn't even see my kids. When I did see them, I could only do it for a short period and I even missed the following xmas and birthdays with them. You couldn't even imagine the guilt and shame I felt. I had family members tell me how horrible I was, tell me that I didn't love my kids, etc. This made everything worse. I sunk into a very deep depression and became suicidal. I went to the ER and was basically blown off by the doctor. I ended up going to a psychiatrist who told me the only treatment option I had, besides medication, in my area was counselling and that there was a long waiting list to get in. I lost all hope. The medication I was prescribed for the depression and anxiety turned out to make me feel even more suicidal and it took a while for me to put it all together. I became very moody and I basically ended up making everyone feel fed-up and frustrated. I lost all interest in everything. I was basically a shell just living in fear in my basement all day.
My breaking point was when my best friend couldn't handle anymore and we got into a huge argument and he basically said he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. I had caused him so much anguish from the suicide threats, constant anger, etc. It felt like something snapped in me a day or two later and I realized finally that I needed help and I needed it fast. I went to the doctor the next day to get him to refer me to a new psychiatrist who then changed my medication. About 2-3 weeks later out of the blue I had this indescribable feeling, it was like a feeling of reality. I wanted to go up and be with my kids.
I basically went through a transformation in what I would say is a week where I was slowly lifted out of depression. I still had the fear, but I felt like I had some willpower now. Not a lot, but just enough to allow myself to start trying to help myself.
Where things are now:
I still have the fears, although I find myself challenging myself more and moving a head a little bit at a time. I can now go upstairs without any problems and I can be around my kids a lot more without too much problem. I still have the anxious feeling around them, and I notice that after a while I feel exhausted and overwhelmed.`I usually retreat then and be thankful of the progress I made so far. I don't want to bring myself into a full blown panic attack because I don't want to jeopardize my progress or cause any setbacks. I did not miss this past xmas or birthdays! I even went to my son's spring concert! Having the support of my husband really helped a lot the way, even though I know I caused him a lot of grief, I know he is proud of my progress.
I recently just started self-help with EFT in the past week. I can tell you that I am having a great time so far with it, but I find that because emetophobia is such a complex phobia that there are a lot of aspects you have to deal with to be able to treat it thoroughly. I have noticed that when treating each aspect I feel less and less anxious. I also use EFT for spontaneous anxiety or panic that I really need to be relieved of where I can't pinpoint a cause. Along the way I have been also treating myself for self-esteem, guilt, depression (even though the medication is masking it), and negative thoughts that could hinder my progress. The changes I feel are nothing short of amazing in those areas. I know that it may be a while before the fear is bearable or cured, but this is very simple and I feel like I am in control somewhat. A lot of people become frustrated and give up with complex phobias because they don't feel immediate results like some people have with other phobias, but if EFT is used properly you can reverse those feelings of doubt, frustration, etc. I highly recommend it.
Oh god, I can't believe I typed this much. I am truly sorry for just rambling on and on, but it was so much of a help. If you made it through, you deserve an award, lol. I know some people like reading stories of other people with this phobia because they feel they can relate to it, and some like to see the progress that is made to give them hope. Hopefully someone will make it through without falling asleep to have some benefit of it, lol.
Please, please never give up and do what you feel is best for treatment. Choose something that you feel comfortable with instead of what you feel like you have no choice but to do. Keep thinking positive... negative thoughts will only cause your treatment of choice to fail. Move at your own pace, don't try to rush anything because you will not get full benefit of treatment, you may end up missing aspects of fear by rushing and you may possibly feel like you are stalled because of this. Take your time and work in detail!
Best of luck to all of you!
|09-04-2008, 01:11 PM||#40 (permalink)|
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
I'm not sure if anyone here is aware but NLP does offer some solid help for resolving a phobia. I once encountered a man who had an extreme phobia of heights. He got a lot out of what NLP has to offer in this respect. Phobia is the Greek word for fear and is essentially being afraid of situations and things that are not, in and of themselves, truly dangerous.
If you have a phobia I'm sure you are well acquainted with the feelings of anxiety, panic or discomfort that accompany the state of mind of being afraid. What you might not know is that there are ways of replacing your fears with the ability to take action comfortably. You see, your feelings come from how you think about people, events, circumstances, or things not the people, events, circumstances and things themselves.
Generally speaking a person with a phobia has a mental picture that occurs when the phobia is experienced. You can choose to take a new perspective on an experience that has caused you to feel fear, phobic or uptight. There are simple and practical methods for doing this.
I was actually going to write about this subject in my blog (see my signature below) sometime soon. You see you're not alone. Apparently 1 in 10 Americans suffer from a serious fear.
If anyone is interested please do let me know and I'll work on an article that runs through some of the practical exercises NLP offers for alleviating a phobia.
|03-10-2010, 07:29 AM||#41 (permalink)|
Join Date: Mar 2010
I am so happy to be reading all of this, I have had this fear for over 10 years now and it is just getting worse. I was 8 years old when I got a really bad ear infection/caught a stomach flu and I was throwing up non stop and had to go to the ER. It scarred me so bad, that now whenever I try to go to sleep I panic that I'm going to feel that way again (it all happened when I was sleeping.) Then, about 2 years later I got e. coli bacterial poisoning from burgers at my school. It was the most horrible experience ever, basically if I didn't throw up then I would've died (ironic.) But that is truly what scarred me, 2 weeks after that experience I started doing things differently because I thought if I did the same thing, I would get sick again. It all got worse over the years, I'm 18 now and have been dealing with this the whole time. I'm paranoid that I'll get e. coli again, which I'm being told won't happen, but I'm now a hypochondriac and don't believe any of it. I've been trying to get over it, and I thought I was doing alright until I had bad stomach cramps tonight, and then felt nauseous. I just broke down, and was crying non stop. I realize that I can't get over this alone, which is why I've come to forums like this. I'm looking to have anyone that is dealing with the same thing I am help me with this. I'm tired of being miserable, I'm tired of being scared, I'm just tired. I don't want to feel this way anymore, I want to get better so I can do more things in my life instead of avoiding everything in fear of throwing up! So please, if anyone can help me cope with this (and I'll do the same for you) please message me, or contact me by email: email@example.com. Thank you.
|03-10-2010, 07:47 AM||#42 (permalink)|
Join Date: Dec 2009
Try "guided imagery", it's like a guided meditation with lots of symbols talking directly to your subconcious. It was very effective for me, if you can find someone who offers that kind of therapy... Even if my phobia wasn't of vomiting, it works on any behavioral issue (if you feel ready to tackle the problem and feel better).
|07-20-2010, 04:58 AM||#44 (permalink)|
Join Date: Jul 2010
Hey all, not sure if anyone really checks this anymore or not. I'm feeling absolutely terrible right now, and I have a semi-severe case of emetophobia. I typically feel the way most of the above posts say they feel when a panic strikes. I have read so much on this because although it scares me and I think about it 100 times a day, it is interesting that we are all scared of a bodily function. We're scared of the feeling that we have really all forgotten because we do everything to avoid throwing up. I'm right there with you and by no means am I saying I can even follow this myself. I just thought I'd offer what sometimes helps me when I start to get in a panic.
1) Taking deep breaths saying, "It's okay, you're not going to throw up you can contain yourself. You always make it through just fine, just relax it's gonna be alright soon." Something along those lines typically helps me immensely.
2) I personally feel better to go to a private space of the house and stare at something still, or get on the computer to try to ease my mind of it. Which brings me to my third and most helpful tactic.
3) I'm sure you have all researched the living daylights out of any disorder, medication, sickness, etc. that could possibly make you throw up. (I know I have). For me, and I think for many others, this makes me feel a little odd. Like I'm weird or something because I have this fear, but if you do anything please try this! Get on the internet and search "How to cope with emetophobia" and try reading articles. For me it helps to realize that this really is a condition, and I'm lucky to not have it even worse than I do! People can think it is stupid, or ask why can't you just get over it, but block them out. This is a fear that I really don't think anyone has fully overcome for more than a few days, weeks, or months. It helps to feel normal and read about others that have the same problem.
4) Many people say this fear is stupid, and I don't mean to degrade anyone but most fears are silly. Unless you have the fear you don't understand. Fear of spiders? I'll let one crawl on me for all I care bring it! Fear of heights, shoot give me a parachute and I'll skydive it! You know what I'm saying?
This is a real fear, you are normal, and you will be okay!
Most importantly, don't forget that you are normal and it is okay to be afraid. The only person that can judge you is you.
|07-20-2010, 12:44 PM||#45 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Bucharest, Romania
Although many people have concerns about its long-term effectiveness, I highly recommend you check out the NLP techniques for dealing with fears. I don't know of anything more effective, with results in just minutes.
|11-14-2010, 07:25 PM||#47 (permalink)|
Join Date: Nov 2010
I have had emetophobia since I have been old enough to understand what vomit is.
I get nightmares about vomit.
I avoid amusement parks.
I always have a boyfriend walk me to the car with my eyes closed if someone
throws up at a party.
I get anxiety when I hear it, smell it, see it, predict that I will vomit, predict someone else might vomit, if someone vomits around me, if I know someone is hungover, if I hear someone cough in the bathroom, if I hear someone ask for medication the morning after they've been drinking, if a person is sick with the flu, or any problem involving the stomach, and the worst is if someone is nauseous in a car with me.
I get shaky, I panic, cry, and usually run away from wherever of whoever is vomiting. Afterwords I can not return to the same place for a few months.
My life has been endangered multiple times because of my phobia. I have asked about cognitive behavioral therapy from my doctor because if someone throws up in a car or out their window while I'm driving, I will get in a car accident. I have once even jumped out of a car onto the highway when someone threw up in my car and I almost got hit. This is extremely embarrassing and neurotic. I am so mortified when people find out and I always get stupid suggestions like " What you need to do is get in a bath tub and get a bunch of people to barf on you." This comment has sometimes given me suicidal thoughts because I would most likely attempt suicide after an event like that.
Anyways, my little brother got his first hangover today and has barfed all over his sheets and wont tell my parents. I'm LOSING MY MIND. That is why I'm here, I wanted desperately for a quick fix, but that's obviously impossible as I have had this problem my entire life.
|11-14-2010, 07:50 PM||#48 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2010
|11-15-2010, 03:20 AM||#50 (permalink)|
Join Date: Apr 2010
Last edited by Kishka; 11-15-2010 at 03:25 AM.
|02-01-2011, 03:30 AM||#52 (permalink)|
Join Date: Feb 2011
Wow, I'm really glad to read that I'm not alone in the world. I also have a huge fear of being sick. However, the longer I feel like I'm going to throw my guts up the less scared I become until it feels like it's coming up then I go into full panic mode again. This phobia really sucks. I'm 19 now and I havent been physically sick since the age on 8, and I clearly remember past times in my childhood like it was yesterday when I threw up.
Like in grade 2 I asked my teacher if I could go and lay in the reading nook because I felt ill, however I didn't feel ill enough to be sick. I fell asleep for about 30 minutes then woke up and asked her if i could go and get a drink, she said yes so I made my way to the drinking taps and as soon as the water hit my lips I just started throwing up. But I don't remember having any warning that I was about to do so.
The next time which was also the last time that I was sick was when I was 8 and mum was ready to tuck me into bed. I told her I didn't feel well so she got me an old ice cream container and sat it next to my pillow, read me a story and off to sleep I went. Next thing I knew I woke up in bed, grabbed the bucket and just started to vomit into it. Again, I don't remember the warning signs of going to be sick. This happened once more again that night, both times I just went in and woke my mum up and said to her I had been sick and she said "Where?!" I replied in the bucket and she sighed with relief due to the fact she didnt have to clean up my sick off my bed or floor. But I never cried or got overly scared, I just done what had to be done which was to vomit and go back to bed. But now it's a totally different story, i'm petrified and I don't understand why I wasn't when I was 8 but now I'm a "big girl" I am.
I can go to work, then start to feel very ill and start getting hot flushes at work then come home and instantly feel better, but if I was to stay at work I would continue to feel sick in the stomach. But I feel sick right up until I get home and have a shower. The shower seems to be my comfort zone, that or laying down on mums bed, not my bed, mums. It's weird. I guess I think to myself if I spew in the shower it will just run straight down the drain...But still of all the times I have felt violently ill with intense stomach pains and fevers I just can't throw up.
Even this one time when I was underaged and got smashed outta my brains at a licenced venue, I could not walk, everything was spinning and I was constantly passing out then waking up then passing out, I did not spew, which is usually the bodies first defence against alcohol poisoning.
very very weird!
|02-01-2011, 11:40 AM||#53 (permalink)|
Join Date: May 2010
Location: England, UK
Throw up on purpose. This way you learn that it's not a big deal, and you also take control over it instead of having it control you.
I enjoy throwing up when I'm ill because of the tons of endorphins that flood my brain during and after. It's like being on heroin. So there's a reframe for ya.
|09-13-2011, 11:36 PM||#56 (permalink)|
Join Date: Sep 2011
There scientific literature is pretty limited when it comes to what therapy works and what doesn't with emetophobia. Of the less mainstream acupuncture is probably worth a go as it may help with reducing the background anxiety and while this won't directly get rid of emetophobia it may make it more manageable.
Some therapies combine traditional techniques such as exposure therapy with tapping and anecdotal evidence indicate that this maybe effective. However straight exposure therapy will probably give similar results. EFT and emetophobia outcomes have not been published in any peer reviewed journal that I am aware of. That is not to say it doesn't work - it just has not been academically proven.
The best treatment outcomes has been found for emetophobia is cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It is not very sexy, involves lots of homework but it has been proven to work the best.
Griffith University (Australia) is currently running a free international online CBT program that is very iPhone, iPad and Android friendly. They are looking for volunteers with emetophobia so check out EmetStudy.org
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