Emetaphobia: Effective Treatments and Solutions from The Devon Clinic CIC

Emetophobia is an intense, irrational fear or anxiety pertaining to vomiting. It is considered to be one of the most common phobias in the world

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy



The Devon Clinic CIC is pleased to offer Emetaphobia treatments from the following local practitioner(s):

Dr Ellis Kalmus BA(Hons), Clin.Psy.D., C.Psychol., AFBPsS. at New Devon Clinic

Dr Ellis Kalmus BA(Hons), Clin.Psy.D., C.Psychol., AFBPsS.

Heather Lusty(Dip hyp) at New Devon Clinic

Heather Lusty(Dip hyp)

More About Emetaphobia

The root word for emetophobia is “emesis,” from the Greek word emein which means “an act or instance of vomiting” with “-phobia” meaning “an exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.” Emetophobia refers to the intense fear of vomiting, feeling nauseated, seeing or hearing another person vomit, or seeing vomit itself. An individual with emetophobia may fear one, some, or all of these things. They may also be afraid of hearing that someone is feeling like vomiting or that someone has vomited, usually in conjunction with the fears of seeing someone vomit or seeing vomit. As with any phobia, these fears are not always logical, but they are present and very real. Emetophobia is not limited by age or maturity level. There are cases of emetophobia present in childhood and adolescence, as well as adulthood.

There are many factors that can cause a legitimate case of emetophobia.

In a clinical case study by Dr. Frank M. Datillio of Harvard Medical School and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, he refers to cases from the 1980s that reference how a number of children who are affected by emetophobia are mentally disabled. He quotes Barmann’s findings and says “[many of these children have] a history of self-stimulatory hand-mouthing and ruminative vomiting.” Dr. Datillio also illustrates how many adults are affected through the results of gastrointestinal surgery.

Dr. Angela L. Davidson et al. conducted an experiment where it was concluded through various surveys that people suffering from emetophobia are more likely to have an internal locus of control pertaining to their everyday life as well as health related matters. A locus of control is an individual’s perception of where control comes from. Having an internal locus of control means that an individual perceives that they have their own control over a situation whereas an external locus of control means that an individual perceives that some things are out of their control. She explains how this phobia is created through the locus of control by stating, “Thus far, it seems reasonable to stipulate that individuals with a vomiting phobia deem events as being within their control and may therefore find it difficult to relinquish this control during the act of vomiting, thus inducing a phobia.”

In an internet survey conducted by Dr. Joshua D. Lipsitz et al. given to emetophobic people, respondents gave many different reasons as to why they became emetophobic. Among some of the causes listed were severe bouts of vomiting as children and being firsthand witnesses to severe vomiting in others due to illness, pregnancy, or alcoholism.

Emetaphobia is also sometimes known as:

  • Vomiting-phobia
  • Fear-of-vomiting

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