Emetophobia – how hypnotherapy can help
Those who have emetophobia have a fear of vomiting or seeing other people being sick. They may worry about losing control when vomiting or specifically vomiting in public. This fear can stop people from eating, going to public places, travelling and other everyday tasks.
While it’s not widely diagnosed, emetophobia affects around 2% of males and 7% of females. The symptoms and severity vary from person to person. For many though, the fear of vomiting (or seeing others vomit) stops them from doing the things they want.
Learn more about emetophobia by visiting our fact sheet.
If this sounds familiar and you think you may have emetophobia, speaking to your doctor can help you get a diagnosis and look at treatment options. The good news is that there are several different treatment options available, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), gradual exposure and hypnotherapy.
Natalie Timotheou, a 30-year-old living with a phobia of being sick, would resort to harsh measures in order to reduce the risk. She would eat only plain, dry food in small portions and avoid long car journeys. Her life was completely controlled by fear until she found hypnotherapy.
While Natalie had developed a complicated relationship with food during her childhood, it wasn’t until adulthood that the anxieties intensified. Divorce, being a single parent and work-related stress started to take its toll. Despite only vomiting twice in ten years, the fear escalated. The fear of vomit had developed into a fear of what might happen if she became unwell.
She became so fearful of falling ill that she would only eat small portions. Her BMI fell; she would eat only dry food and had to sleep under numerous pillows to reduce the risk of choking on her vomit during the night.
Natalie was referred to an eating disorder clinic. After two months of being on an eating plan and a course of anti-depressants, she had still not recovered.
“I joined an eating disorder forum online. One day a girl messaged me saying, “I think you have the same thing as me, emetophobia”.”
After researching the phobia, Natalie found hypnotherapy for emetophobia. Through relaxation exercises, the hypnotherapist helped her revisit childhood memories to discover what may have triggered the phobia. After starting a hypnotherapy programme, progress was starting to be made. Within two weeks, Natalie had gained weight and after six sessions, was beginning to do things she never would have thought possible.
I was able to rub my son’s back and comfort him while he was ill, previously I would have been looking away waiting for it to be over.
Phobias and anxiety are very interlinked and many people find hypnotherapy helpful for both. Emetophobia causes will differ for everyone, but often experiences in childhood trigger the phobia. Hypnotherapy can help you uncover the root of your phobia and understand how it all started.
Using suggestion techniques, a hypnotherapist will communicate with your unconscious to promote positive change. Hypnotherapy can also teach you valuable relaxation techniques, helping you cope when you feel anxious.
If you feel ready to take the next step, find a hypnotherapist to support you.
This article was updated on 30/11/22.