4 Effective Ways to Get Over the Fear of Vomiting

By March 25, 2022 No Comments

Are you terrified of throwing up?

Surprisingly, the fear of vomiting (Emetophobia) is common among both adults and children. Research says that women are four times more likely to suffer from this fear than men.

The word vomit itself can make one feel uncomfortable and queasy. When that feeling turns into a fear that causes extreme distress and sends you into a state of anxiety, the condition is then termed Emetophobia.

Like all phobias, Emetophobia is not intentional, and it starts off small. Slowly and gradually, you start avoiding places and things that can make you throw up, whether it’s a long bus ride that can cause motion sickness or being around sick people. The more you avoid things, the greater the fear will become and dominate your life. You might stop taking flights, avoid social gatherings to save yourself from the embarrassment, or try out new foods at dinner with friends.

Symptoms of Emetophobia

Emetophobia can make your body and mind respond in certain ways. If you find yourself going through most of the behaviors below, it’s a sign that you’ve developed a fear of vomiting, and it’s time to overcome it before it becomes worse.

  • You start avoiding hospitals where people are sick
  • You wash hands, dishes, and food preparation tools excessively
  • You turn away if you see someone puking
  • You avoid traveling longer distances in fear of motion sickness
  • You use medicines to prevent feelings of nausea and stomach upset even before they occur
  • You panic about not being able to leave a crowded place if someone vomits
  • You avoid all bad-smelling things
  • You get persistent thoughts linking to an action that led you to vomit in the past

Causes of Emetophobia

There are no clear causes of Emetophobia, and just like other phobias, Emetophobia develops from minor incidents that create an association to the fear. These can be genetics as well as environmental reasons. Some causes can include:

  • Seeing someone else throw up around you
  • Getting extremely sick in public
  • Overeating to the extent that you feel like you’ll throw up
  • Having someone vomit on you

How to Get Over It

If you don’t want to make your life more restricted, here are 4 practical and effective ways to get over Emetophobia.

  1. Be Objective

What makes the fear worse is that you worry about it more, which triggers nausea and the very symptoms you fear. Therefore, be objective and reasonable. Ask yourself the question you’re avoiding: How many times have I actually puked in my life? How many times have I tried to overcome my fear?  Fear of Vomiting. Recognize and debunk your illogical worries and challenge yourself to bring about a change in your life. This might be difficult at first, but a professional counselor can become an invaluable source to guide you in the right direction.

  1. Practice Mindful Breathing

Mindful breathing is commonly used for managing anxiety, and Emetophobia is no different. This breathing technique may not seem easy at first, but with a bit of practice, you can train your mind to do it.

Find a space, sit down and put your arms out or on your lap. Start by taking deep breaths through your nose for 5 seconds, holding it for 3 seconds, and then breathe out through your mouth for 7 seconds. Repeat this procedure 10 times, and once you get comfortable, you can go up to 20 times. Master this technique and use it anywhere to help calm yourself when you get that intense fear of vomit.

  1. Check CBT or ERP Treatments

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) treatments help you acknowledge and challenge your negative thoughts that can cause anxiety and distress. It involves exposure to the phobia so that you can work with your therapist to explain your experience and to address the problem effectively. Fear of Vomiting. After a few sessions, you learn different tips and ways to cope with the phobia independently. At Houston OCD, we’ve specialists in CBT and ERP treatments that offer focused and individualized care for each one of the patients.

  1. Medication

Medication is the last resort, and there is no specific medication for this condition because once you get the hang of it, it can be managed. However, if it still is interrupting your day-to-day routines, you can take anti-anxiety medications to help the symptoms of Emetophobia blur a little. If you opt for exposure therapies, these medications can make them more tolerable. Despite everything else, don’t consider medications until and unless you’ve consulted a professional doctor regarding your condition and medical history.

We hope these tips help you in your struggle to overcome Emetophobia!


The fear of throwing up is more common than you think, and if you don’t know why it happens, how it happens, and what you can do about it, it’ll only worsen your life. Whether you’re opting to deal with your fear and challenge your thoughts, trying to calm yourself down, or looking to find professional help in treatments and medications, you’re on the right path.

We wish you the best of luck!

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