emetophobia symptoms and behaviours - germs in air

Emetophobia Symptoms & Behaviours

The main Emetophobia Symptoms are very similar, although every sufferer may also have a range of very specific symptoms that are unique to themselves.

The symptoms tend to fall into three specfic areas;

(1) Fearful ‘cognitions’ (thoughts and ideas) about sick,

(2) Safety Behaviours and Avoidance Tactics, and

(3) Social Anxiety about seeing or being sick.

When we first meet and discuss our clients emetophobia symptoms we will use our Emetophobia Severity Scale (ESS) test to measure the degree of each of the above symptom ‘modalities’.

Even so, the most common Emetophobia symptoms do seem to be:

  • Avoiding alcohol
  • Keeping away from anybody who might be ill
  • Avoid taking any form of medication that has the side effect of ‘sickness’
  • Carrying ‘stomach settlers’ such as mints or other ‘potions’
  • Avoiding pregnancy at all costs due to ‘morning sickness’
  • Obsessing about cleanliness around the home
  • Frequent hand-washing sometimes with very strong detergents
  • Cutting food open to make sure it is cooked properly
  • Not eating food near the ‘use-by’ or ‘sell-by’ dates
  • Very high levels of Anxiety in general
  • Preferring NOT to eat out in restaurants
  • Avoiding pubs or going to parties where people could be sick

Other Emetophobia Symptoms

Here at Thrive with Paul we have seen somewhere in the region of 150 Emetophobia sufferers since 2011, and have catalogued a wide range of ideas and concepts that are associated with this phobia, for example;

  • Experiencing anxiety at the sound of somebody being sick
  • Worrying about catching a ‘sickness bug’ from actual sick
  • Becoming anxious towards winter because of ‘noro-virus’
  • Staying near home in case they feel sick and need to get back quickly
  • Anxiety about rumbling stomach sounds
  • Wearing gloves to avoid touching door handles or hand-rails

Some Common Features of Emetophobia Symptoms

Although these common features are by no means always true, there do seem to be some common ‘threads’ to Emetophobia Symptoms and Behaviours exhibited by a high proportion of sufferers.

For example, one of the KEY features of Emetophobic thinking is that the ideas and cognitions about vomit can be classified as ‘catastrophic’ in nature, ie. out of proportion to ‘reality’.

Over the years we have found that in almost all cases, emetophobia sufferers have, or have had, at least one ‘catastrophic’ parent or primary care-giver during their earlier developmental years and as such, have developed a similar ‘catastrophic’ style as a type of ‘learned behaviour’.

We also find that Social Anxiety, or how much we fear being judged by people, seems to play a significant role in providing foundations for emetophobia symptoms. For example sufferers may worry that people might think they are ‘disgusting’ if they were to be sick in public.

In the final analysis, however, even if you do not have these particular symptoms, Emetophobia does respond extremely well to the Thrive Programme approach, so if you’d like to find out more about how it could help YOU, then please do get in touch.

emetophobia symptoms - fear of actually vomiting
emetophobia symptoms - fear of undercooked food

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Maypole House

Yew Tree Court




TEL: 07434 776125