If you are struggling with emetophobia, you probably feel very isolated.
You may be embarrassed to talk about your specific phobia and feel it bears the stigma of being unclean or represents a weakness in character.
But know you are not alone. The International Emetophobia Society alone has at least 15,000 members, and there are many more that share your angst.
Those who struggle with emetophobia, experience a 24/7 level of anxiety.
Claustrophobics try to deal by avoiding enclosed spaces and aviophobics may compensate by not taking airplane trips.
But, those with a fear of vomiting or vomit feel like it is impossible to escape what they perceive as an imminent threat.
Maybe you avoid eating in public or maybe you pass up certain foods when eating alone.
Perhaps, you are constantly cleaning your hands and space for fear of contracting germs that will make you sick, and steer clear of any activity that could make you nauseous.
Maybe you refuse to get pregnant because you feel that morning sickness is a barrier that you cannot surmount.
Since you are the person that could vomit, you may view yourself as the enemy. It is a frightening condition, but it is not your fault.
Emetophobia is an Instinctual Behavior
Anxious reactions and panic associated with emetophobia start off by being a conscious, learned behavior.
Perhaps it started with an upsetting event in your past related to vomit.
Eventually it becomes instinctual, like walking or riding a bike, so that you automatically have emetophobia symptoms without even thinking about it.
Each time you are exposed to vomit or the perceived threat of vomit, more neural pathways are formed in your brain to reinforce the anxiety.
Even if there is no actual danger looming, your brain sends a message, activating stress hormones and raising adrenalin levels, causing you to sweat, to feel faint, nauseous, to have a need to escape or your heart to race.
It can escalate to a full blown panic attack characterized by symptoms like tightness in your chest, a fear of going “crazy” or dying, trouble breathing, trembling and depersonalization.
Emetophobia is Not a Flaw in Character
Having emetophobia does not mean you are not intelligent. Panic and anxiety are physiological responses caused by a part of the brain not associated with logical thought.
The reactions and symptoms act out of reflex.
Emetophobia cannot be treated as a rational problem and that is why therapy often fails; some professionals try to treat it as a logical problem rather than an instinctual one.
You can reprogram your brain and create new neural pathways so you do not react to non-existent dangers.
Becoming fearful to actual threats is a healthy response, and you can learn how to differentiate between real and false dangers.
Understanding Your Emetophobia
The first step to overcoming your emetophobia is to understand what you are actually afraid of.
Chances are it is not vomit itself that you fear, but something associated with it, such as loss of control, of being seriously ill or of being judged.
Pin pointing the precise reason why you fear vomit or vomiting is integral for the healing process.
After realizing the root of your phobia you must accept your emetophobia symptoms and panic attacks; do not suppress them but allow them to happen.
Ride the panic attack by noticing what parts of your body are tense, trembling or aching. Note what thoughts and feelings you have.
You will realize that what you fear happening does not actually occur. Often people who have panic attacks feel they may go insane or lose control.
You will realize this does not happen when you allow the anxiety to play out.
Once you do this, you are ready for the next challenge, which is trying to make your symptoms worse.
This may mean repeating your obsessive thoughts out loud or in your head. If you are tapping your foot nervously, tap it faster.
You will see that the symptoms will actually decrease, because you are exposing yourself to them.
You will start to take control of your emetophobia. You must not ignore your anxious reactions, but face them.
Learning How to Relax
In addition to facing emetophobia symptoms and panic attacks, you must also learn how to relax your body.
A tense body can promote obsessive thoughts about vomit or throwing up.
Consciously relax each part of your body, from head to toe, by doing individual stretches and movements.
Focusing on each muscle will avert the concentration away from emetophobic thoughts.
Emetophobia is not as well known as other specific phobias or forms of anxiety.
Seeking help from a mental health professional may prove ineffective, because little research has been completed on how to treat emetophobia.
Luckily, a full recovery treatment program has been developed, so that you do not have to simply cope with your emetophobia, but completely overcome it.
The Emetophobia Recovery System book and audio CDs provide you with a program to help you conquer your specific phobia and eliminate your fear of vomit or vomiting.
It is a participatory source of information, where you complete step-by-step exercises that lead to full recovery.
At first you may feel anxiety as you complete components of the program; this is normal and should not be a reason to stop.
It is difficult to conquer emetophobia, but you can do it.
The Emetophobia Recovery System is now used by professional psychologists, who have struggled in the past to come up with treatment plans for their emetophobic patients.
The best part is that the program is specifically geared towards emetophobia and is not a general phobia and panic disorder guide.
You can learn that vomit or vomiting will not cause bad things to happen.
You will learn how to develop new neural pathways so that you do not develop anxiety every time you are around food, feel nauseous or are out in public.
You will learn how to face your panic attacks head on and then how to relax your physical body. You will overcome your emetophobia.