Exposure Therapy for Emetophobia

Exposure therapy is one of the most popular treatment options available for those who suffer from emetophobia. The treatment has a history of high success rates, but is usually very difficult for those with any phobia to commit to because it involves confronting fears head on.

What is Exposure Therapy?

Exposure therapy involves repeatedly subjecting oneself to whatever it is that they are afraid of(in this case, vomiting). The goal is to desensitize the brain so that the level of anxiety surrounding the fear-inducing-stimulus decreases. For those with emetophobia, exposure therapy typically involves watching others experience illness. This is usually achieved through looking at pictures or watching videos. Although some suffering from emetophobia attempt to treat themselves through exposure therapy, it is highly recommended that one does not attempt to perform exposure therapy without the help of a therapist. Doing so has the potential to make things worse.

What is the Process for Treating Emetophobia?

To begin, you will most likely learn relaxation exercises that will help you bring your stress level to a baseline (such as deep breathing and positive visualization). You will then be exposed to stimulus(photos or videos) that will initially raise your anxiety level. After a certain amount of time performing relaxation techniques while looking at the stimulus, you will likely be able to return to your anxiety baseline. After you are able to view graphic videos and pictures while maintaining a low anxiety level, you will then be instructed to imagine yourself as the person in the situations that you have been viewing.

How will Exposure Therapy Help Me?

Exposure therapy re-trains your brain and gives you control over the phobia in your life that has been causing such debilitating anxiety. As you are able to imagine yourself in the given situations, and then lower your anxiety level back to a baseline, you will begin to feel a regained sense of control over not only your phobia, but your life as a whole.