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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Emetophobia (Fear of Vomiting) then Panic Attacks Quite Common?

by Dr. Craig April, Director of The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles

Emetophobia (fear of vomiting) is more common than you would think often causing panic attacks for those that suffer with this anxiety.

There is so much shame around most struggles with anxiety and yet, so many people are plagued. A fear of vomiting has a lot of embarrassment attached - fear of being embarrassed should one vomit and fear of being embarrassed by sharing a fear that others respond to with diminishment (ex. "what's the big deal if you throw up?") or criticism (ex."Why would you be afraid of such a thing?").

Emetophobia is a phobia that many people don't seek treatment for until they've exhausted attempts to label it a physical problem. However, it is nothing to feel shame over and there is help available.

Here is a list of common struggles and fears attached to emetophobia:

-Difficulty eating in restaurants for fear of being nauseous or vomiting
-Anxiety over having a full stomach
-Panic attacks when eating with others present
-Difficulty concentrating for fear of vomiting
-Often on guard for feelings of nausea
-Avoidance of social situations where food is a part of the event
-Avoidance of long car trips

The origins of emetophobia can be many, but it often begins after a bad experience vomiting long ago, which is why many sufferers have had this fear for years. Interestingly enough, many with this phobia haven't thrown up for longer then they can remember. Most emetophobics, as with other areas of anxiety, struggle with feeling out of control (obviously when vomiting your body is totally out of your control).

The proven treatment for this fear, as with all phobias, is CBT (Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy) with Exposure and Response Prevention.

If you struggle with Emetophobia, know there is help available. It happens to be a common phobia that I treat at my center regularly. You can get past this!

Follow this link for more on phobias and anxiety treatment

All the best,


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The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management - Los Angeles and The South Bay

The April Center for Anxiety Attack Management is committed to helping you remove the destructive barriers of anxiety, so that you may lead a calmer, healthier, happier life.

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