Emetophobia - Fear of vomiting
The young lady had a sad story to tell. As a child, she had watched her mother throwing away countless tins of food, suspected of having “gone off”. As she grew up, she adopted similar behaviours and began to develop a morbid fear of vomit. She started to believe that dealing with sick was “the worst thing I can imagine”. Soon, nothing escaped her trusty bottle of disinfectant spray.
She later married and had two lovely daughters. One day, an outbreak of norovirus struck her husband and the girls. The young lady was horrified. She virtually barricaded herself in the bedroom for days - quite unable to help the three people she loved the most. It was time to ask for help.
We have known that hypnotherapy can improve emetophobia for some time. Psychiatrist, Dr Wijesinghe demonstrated the potential back in 1974. Subsequently, anecdotal reports have confirmed his original observation. Changing beliefs and ways of thinking are the keys to success. It can also be helpful to boost self-esteem. I also recommend, “Cure your emetophobia and thrive” - an insightful and helpful book by R Kelly.
Living with emetophobia is not easy. There are elements of secret shame, mixed with obsessional hyper-vigilance. The threat is ever present. Does one of those children have a virus? Am I going to get food poisoning? What happens if I drink too much/get pregnant/have an anaesthetic?
Living with someone with emetophobia is also a daily challenge. It’s hard to empathise with such a seemingly unreasonable way of thinking. So, perhaps it is time to seek help. My young lady certainly thought so. And she was so excited when she called me to say that she had at last been able to hug her daughters.
About the author
Jon Allen is a former consultant anaesthetist now specialising in hypnotherapy for chronic pain.
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James BrannanNovember 29th, 2016