5 Tips for Getting Through Tough Moments with Emetophobia


Emetophobia, or the intense fear of vomiting, can make life very difficult. The anxiety brought on by a phobia of being sick can be debilitating, striking without notice, even during normal daily activities. Panic attacks related to emetophobia often center around an overwhelming fear of losing control and can truly feel terrifying for sufferers.

If you struggle with emetophobia, we have some tips, methods, and tools to help you calm your mind and body when an especially strong wave of panic sets in. Stay tuned to find out more. 

So, What Is Emetophobia?

So, What Is Emetophobia

So, what is Emetophobia? It is the fear of vomiting – it not just involves vomiting on your own but also of hearing or seeing another person vomit. It is a mental health condition that can be classified as a specific kind of phobia, which includes having an intense, irrational, and persistent fear of a situation or an object. 

This fear can start at any age, though many adults report having such a fear of vomiting as a kid. But, only limited research has been done on how common this fear happens to be. However, there is a study that suggests emetophobia happens to be pretty rare and exists in only about 0.1% of the total population. 

Moreover, this fear might also be related to another kind of fear, like having a fear of food. It can also be associated with various mental health conditions like having OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) or eating disorders. 

Symptoms Of Emetophobia:

The most common symptoms of Emetophobia include:

  • Panic attacks,
  • Physical and emotional distress,
  • Digestive upsets,
  • Nausea,
  • Disruption of everyday life, 
  • Social isolation,
  • Anxiety, and
  • Avoidance of any situation where you might come across vomit. 

If you are suffering from Emetophobia, then you might develop specific behavioral patterns to feel better. You might start sleeping with a towel beside you if you fall sick at night, for example. Or you might start feeling comfortable in a specific room at your house or even when you are outside. 

Anyone with this fear might feel compelled to know about the shortest path to the bathroom in a new building. They might get extremely anxious about long drives and instead feel better when they drive. The sheer reluctance to travel with others in an enclosed space might trigger their need to vomit.

Digestive upsets and nausea in people who suffer from Emetophobia are common symptoms. Moreover, these individuals also suffer from anxiety and panic attacks regularly. 

So, when you fear vomiting, your fear will automatically cause nausea in you. The nausea will make you feel like vomiting even more, which in turn will trigger the phobia, making you even more afraid – it’s a self-replicating cycle.

5 Tips for Getting Through Tough Moments with Emetophobia:

So, how can you get through tough times as a result of your Emetophobia? We have five well-recommended tips for you. So, without wasting time, scroll down to find out more about these tips and tricks! 

Use Grounding Techniques  

Focusing your mind on the present moment through grounding techniques can short-circuit rising feelings of panic. Some quick and easy grounding methods are:  

  • Describe 5 things you see in your environment in detail
  • Hold something with an interesting texture and study the sensations
  • Take 10 deep, slow breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth

1. Challenge Distorted Thinking:

The cognitive behavioral therapy technique of identifying cognitive distortions that exacerbate fear and replacing them with more balanced thoughts can help minimize an emetophobia panic attack

For example, challenge thoughts like “Vomiting is the worst thing imaginable, and the nausea will last forever” by reminding yourself, “This is my phobia talking. The nausea will pass”.   

2. Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing Exercises:

Also known as “belly breathing”, this technique engages the diaphragm to draw long, slow breaths for deeper oxygenation. Diaphragmatic breathing triggers relaxation responses in the body that counteract rising panic. Place one hand on your chest and one on your stomach, and breathe so that only the hand on your stomach rises and falls.

3. Use Relaxation and Visualisation Techniques:

How to calm down an emetophobia panic attack? Close your eyes during moments of high anxiety and visualize yourself in a peaceful, comforting environment like a beach, forest, or cozy nook. Try to engage all your senses – the things you might see, hear, smell, and feel in this calm environment. You can also visualize the anxiety and nausea leaving your body.  

4. Seek Out Support:

Speaking to close friends and family members or getting therapy for emetophobia to explain what you’re going through and how they can best support you is invaluable. Having trusted people reassure you and help guide you through moments of panic can make all the difference. Consider joining an in-person or online emetophobia support group as well.  

While tough moments will still arise even with plenty of practice using coping strategies, having go-to tools ready and a support system in place makes all the difference in managing emetophobia. With time, teaching your mind and body how to self-soothe rather than spiral into panic becomes more automatic. 

There are many resources available and people who understand exactly what you’re going through. Do not lose hope in your ability to overcome this challenge with daily small steps forward.  

In addition to these tips, working with a therapist who specializes in treating phobias like emetophobia through cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy can retrain your brain over time. 

Anti-anxiety medication may also be warranted for intense bouts of panic that interrupt daily functioning. Staying hydrated, eating small frequent meals, getting plenty of rest, and avoiding alcohol and substances that exacerbate nausea can also keep symptoms more manageable day-to-day.

And It’s A Wrap!

It can take some effort and lots of time, but you can overcome your Emetophobia. You have to understand that it is possible to completely treat your fear of vomiting, and you can easily find the help that you need. 

Moreover, there are multiple resources that can help you handle this fear, like going to therapy. So, get in touch with your healthcare provider and figure out a solution together – you just need a plan of action, considering your specific needs and situation.

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Barsha Bhattacharya

Barsha Bhattacharya is a senior content writing executive. As a marketing enthusiast and professional for the past 4 years, writing is new to Barsha. And she is loving every bit of it. Her niches are marketing, lifestyle, wellness, travel and entertainment. Apart from writing, Barsha loves to travel, binge-watch, research conspiracy theories, Instagram and overthink.

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