How Do You Know if You Might Have Emetophobia?

by on June 11, 2014

Do You Have Emetophobia?Emetophobia is an anxiety disorder that causes people to feel extreme fear of vomiting or seeing someone else being sick. Although it may seem a limited fear, it can affect many aspects of a person’s life.

Emetophobia can harm your diet, your social life, and even your happiness. This is why seeking treatment is crucial to recovery.

Before you can seek treatment, however, you must first be formally diagnosed by a mental health worker. He or she can ensure you are not suffering from another condition that may be affecting your mental and physical health. Having more than one condition (“comorbidity”) can make certain treatments more effective than others, and can also mean that one disorder has to be treated before the other can be.

An article on “The emetophobia questionnaire” by Boschen, Veale, Ellison and Reddell offers key insight into the sypmtomatology of emetophobia. People who take the questionnaire are asked to rate their responses to each item from ‘Strongly Agree’ to ‘Strongly Disagree.’ Some of the items on the questionnaire include:

  • avoiding air travel (or public transportation) for fear of becoming nauseous/vomiting
  • avoiding places where there are no facilities to cater if you become nauseous
  • noticing physical anxiety symptoms when exposed to vomit

By establishing how strong a person’s reaction is to things related to vomiting, a psychologist or psychiatrist can begin to determine if that person may have emetophobia. A normal person might just be somewhat likely to avoid certain situations in order to eschew vomiting. A person who is diagnosed with emetophobia, however, will usually have a much stronger reaction to anything related to vomit. Also, he or she will generally see a diminished quality of life because of the extent of the fear. This lack of general well-being is often what leads people to seek mental health services, although some people suffering from emetophobia may not even realize what they have. This is why a mental health exam can be so beneficial.

One important thing to remember is that only a licensed mental health professional can diagnose you. He or she has the proper tools and training to assess your symptoms and determine what, if any, condition you are suffering from. This article is just a source of information for people who think they may have emetophobia and are curious about its symptoms. This article is not intended to replace formal diagnosis by a mental health worker.

If you are interested in learning more about emetophobia and its effects on someone’s life, please refer back to the “emetophobia questionnaire” link above.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Steph November 7, 2017 at 8:04 pm

Hey, I’m 14 and I suffer from emetophobia. I’ve tried CBT and stuff and I have to say I’m tough and stubborn and I just think all this isn’t going to work. I know that at this point everyone is going to be like if you’re not open to it it’s not going to work. Yea thanks I kinda got that but I just don’t think its going to work out at all. i’m so upset about it and getting more and more anxious. Last weekend I spent some time with friends and my friend texted me and said she had been sick, and then my other friend has started feeling sick tonight. I’m so worried and I think I may be sick now too and I’m beyond freaking out. I actually think I’m going to be freaking out until it’s physically impossible that I have caught it. I’m going to get no sleep and that’s just going to make me feel even more crap. Help I don’t know what to do.


Olivia October 16, 2018 at 1:50 am

I’m 19 and I’m pretty sure I have emetophobia, though I haven’t had a formal diagnosis. I just wanted to share what it’s like for me. I think one of the worst symptoms I have is that I can’t eat, smell, or see soft foods because they make me gag. It’s actually terrible because I have to try really hard not to gag when someone around me is eating something soft or chewing with their mouth open. When I see or hear someone be sick, I cannot keep myself from literally running away, after which I usually go outside to keep from having a panic attack. I hope that I’ll be able to work through this before I have children, because I want to be there for the people I love and care about.


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