|Emetophobia / fear of being sick / fear of others being sick / fear of vomit|
The fear of being sick receives little attention compared with
other irrational fears, yet it is the fifth most common phobia,
according to the International Emetophobia Society. Type 'fear
of being sick' into search engine Google, and you get nearly 29
million websites. It is an extremely debilitating and
disabling condition. Victim's lives are dominated by irrational
thoughts and actions. Sadly, some women even deny themselves
motherhood for fear of morning sickness and some sufferers
become housebound. Emetophobia is rarely spoken of partly
because of the nature of the subject - it is unpleasant and
'dirty' and victims are acutely embarrassed. Also, fear of being
sick is often 'cloaked' by another phobias. Many people come to
me for help with fear of flying, but during therapy, it emerges
that their fear is not of flying, but of being sick and
embarrassed. Courses to conquer fear of flying often concentrate
on the safety of planes. But reassurances about physics and the mechanics of planes
don't help an emetophobe
I have been treating emetophobes for nearly four years at my hypnotherapy clinic in Harley Street, London. Most sufferers are female who have had symptoms since their youth. They have wasted years avoiding situations where either they or someone around them could become ill. Because of the extreme lengths they go to avoid sickness most of my clients have not been sick since childhood. Indeed most boast how long it is since the last time they were sick. Those with a mild phobia have anxious thoughts while eating. Some suffer so severely they refuse to leave their home. Some sufferers experience discomfort almost all the time, others just in response to direct stimuli. Sometimes the phobia hides for years until something triggers it to show itself.
A typical emetophobe displays some or all of the following tendencies:
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