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. Alongside social phobia, it is the one people most commonly consult me for help with. 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 near Battle, East Sussex.
Both men and women, of all ages and all backgrounds can develop this fear. However, it is most common with women. Another commonly associated phobia is phagophobia or pnigophobia ~ the fear of choking.
Emetophobia can cause us to limit or control our life to avoid 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 may not feel quite so limited but worry about sick a lot. As a result, we 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 helping 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. Such events dysregulate our nervous system. Our nervous system can stay dysregulated until we can properly resolve the events. The facts of the events are often long-forgotten by the time a fear or phobia of sick develops. Nevertheless, a part of our brain called the limbic system, stores the emotional memory of the events.
We often cannot remember how or why our particular fear or phobia started though. Sometimes the distressing event(s) or trauma are connected to vomit in some way. Sometimes they are not. When they are not connected, we (subconsciously) create the phobia 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. Most of us are not aware that we have any inner discomfort because the way we feel inside is our ‘normal’.
What about panic?
Intense feelings of panic are caused when we are fully ‘triggered’ into our survival response. We go into a fight/flight/freeze response when faced with, or anticipating, the object of our fear. Triggers are usually ‘sensory experiences’ (i.e. a sight, sound, smell, taste, action, or bodily sensation) in the present, which somehow remind the limbic system of the past unresolved event(s). Triggers can also be anticipatory thoughts of our fear. These anxious thoughts arise as a result of our dysregulated nervous system. Triggers can be diverse, so it can be difficult to pinpoint them although we can work on this.
It is fair to say that the vast majority of situations involving sick are not directly life-threatening. So we don’t really need a survival response. However once triggered, our limbic system will still ‘sound the alarm’ AS IF we are in danger now. We are vulnerable to all sorts of triggers until we properly resolve the emotional conflict or trauma .
I offer different approaches to help resolve this fear. The choice of which one (or more) to take depends on the individual, their circumstances, and their history. We usually make the decision together during the initial consultation.
Please browse my site for information on the various therapies / approaches that I practise.
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Call me now on 07722783490 or 01424 772392 to book your free 30 minute initial consultation.