What is it?
Emetophobia is a fear of vomiting or seeing others being sick. Those who experience emetophobia may also fear being out of control while they are being sick or fear being sick in public, which can trigger avoidance behaviours. It is a condition that is not widely diagnosed even though it is a fairly prevalent anxiety disorder., It is more common for women to have a fear of vomiting than men. An estimated 1.7-3.1% of males and 6-7% of females experience emetophobia.
Emetophobia varies enormously in how it effects people; most worry excessively about being sick even though they are less likely than the general population to be sick because of all the steps they take to avoid being ill. For instance, some people may be unable to leave home if there are any tummy bugs going around and they will avoid family and friends who have an illness.
DIY self diagnosis
If you can answer YES to most of the questions it is likely that you are affected by emetophobia.
During the last 6 months:
- Have you experienced a fear of being sick or being seen being sick?
- Have you experienced a fear of seeing/hearing others vomiting?
- Have you taken significant steps to minimize the risk of your catching a sickness bug, which have interfered with your daily life?
Anxiety UK strongly advises that people seek further information and guidance from their GP who will be able to make a formal diagnosis.
How we can help
- One year’s free subscription to Headspace (worth approx. £60), more details
- Access to reduced cost therapy
- Access to specialist email and helpline support
- Subscription to Anxious Times magazine (worth £12 annually)
- Access to our Member’s area and free online resources
- Free copy of Understanding Anxiety booklet (worth £3.99)
Emetophobia fact sheet
This fact sheet gives a detailed overview, as well as a look at some of the evidence based approaches to treating emetophobia.
Emetophobia: Living with an extreme fear of vomiting is written by NIcolette Heaton-Harris. In the book she recounts her experiences of emetophobia and some of the techniques she has tried. You can purchase this book from the Anxiety UK online shop here.
Emetophobia MP3 is designed to help those who experience emetophobia, to get their fears under control. You can purchase yours from the Anxiety UK online shop here.