Helping the fear of sick / emetophobia with Psychotherapy, Hypnotherapy, Cognitive Therapy at 1066 Therapy
covering East Sussex, Battle, Hastings, Bexhill, Rye, Heathfield, Hailsham, Eastbourne, Crowborough, Brighton, Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Ashford and Kent.
The fear of sick, vomit, vomiting, being sick, or of others being sick is known as emetophobia. Emetophobia is the seventh most common phobia generally but, alongside social phobia, it is the one I am most commonly consulted for. These two fears or phobias seem to have the most debilitating effects on people’s lives.
I have successfully helped a variety of clients with a fear of sick at my practice just outside of Battle, East Sussex.
This fear can develop in both men and women, of all ages and all backgrounds – it doesn’t discriminate. While it is most common with women, men can have this phobia too. Another commonly associated phobia is phagophobia or pnigophobia ~ the fear of choking.
Emetophobia can cause us to try to limit or control our life to avoid all possible situations where we might feel or be sick. Or where we might see or smell sick; or see or hear others being sick. Some of us may sometimes feel barely able to leave the relative safety of our own home. Others of us may not be quite so limited but the thoughts of sick are rarely out of our minds, making us feel uncomfortable a lot of the time. Sadly, some women avoid becoming pregnant and having children because they are too anxious of having morning sickness and/or of dealing with their children if they were unwell.
What Causes Emetophobia?
Neuroscientific research over recent decades has found that strong fears or phobias have their origin in past events which have been distressing or traumatic – and therefore dysregulating to our nervous system – in some way for us. The events are usually long-forgotten by the time a fear or phobia of sick develops. Sometimes the distressing event(s) or trauma are directly connected to vomit in some way, and sometimes they are not. If they are not connected, then the phobia is created as a ‘frame of reference’, a way of explaining and understanding, the inner discomfort – that sense of ‘something bad about to happen’ – caused by our dysregulated nervous system. We often cannot remember how or why our particular fear or phobia started. And most of us will not be aware that we have any inner discomfort because the way we feel inside is our ‘normal’.
What about the panic?
The intense feelings of panic associated with any phobia are caused by us being fully ‘triggered’ into our survival response – fight/flight/freeze – when faced with, or thinking about, the object of our fear. It is fair to say that the vast majority of situations involving sick are not directly life-threatening, so a survival response is not actually needed. However, the middle part of the brain which stores the unresolved emotional distress or trauma memory will still ‘sound the alarm’ AS IF we are in some sort of danger, until such time that the emotional distress or trauma is resolved.
I offer different approaches to help resolve this fear and the choice of which one (or more) to take depends on the individual, their circumstances, and their history – the decision is usually made during the initial consultation.
Please browse my site for information on the various therapies / approaches that I practise including psychotherapy, cognitive therapy, and hypnotherapy.
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Call me now on 07722783490 or 01424 772392 to book your free 30 minute initial consultation.