emetophobia: a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of vomiting   


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what causes emetophobia?


Like all fears and phobias, emetophobia most commonly develops from a childhood fear that has never been outgrown. Perhaps a traumatic incident was witnessed when young, a person being sick close to them or on them, maybe they themselves being sick or perhaps they saw someone else being sick under traumatic circumstances.

When a traumatic scene is witnessed as a young child (between the age of 1 to 6 years old in my experience) the subconscious mind as the body's 'protector' works out the best way to prevent the incident repeating itself. The way this works in practice is that the subconscious attaches negative emotions or feelings to vomiting and in future this teaches the person to steer away from 'dangerous' situations. Whilst the subconscious is doing all this 'protection', the conscious mind is struggling to find out where this irrational behaviour is coming from.

The incident that was experienced when young was interpreted incorrectly at the time and the subconscious is causing the person to still act like that frightened two year old, even though she is now an adult. When 'stuff' happens to us when young, we are relatively short on intelligence and life experience - this deficiency causes us to interpret situations to the best of our ability with the limited data available. Nine times out of ten, this interpretation is incorrect but because of the conscious mind's difficulty in accessing the subconscious, it can't work out why we react to certain situations in an irrational way.

The actual phobia manifests itself in different ways. Some sufferers experience it almost all the time, others just in response to direct stimuli. Some sufferers spend a number of years 'emetophobia free' and then a particular incident triggers the subconscious to remember the childhood event in question and then the fear of sickness starts / restarts.

Click here to read some case histories of people successfully treated for emetophobia



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