THE BLOG

Do You Have a Fear of Being Sick?

17/06/2014 14:24 BST | Updated 16/08/2014 10:59 BST

Emetophobia, the fear of being sick, is a very common problem and for many can make life a misery. Whether it is a restaurant or any public place or even another person being sick, the fear of being sick can severely restrict your social and professional life.

Being sick is one of those bodily functions that we can dread. Either due to embarrassment or disgust or a fear of choking, a fear of vomit and vomiting can put life on hold for years. Some sufferers have a fear of vomiting linked to more well known fears: flying, lifts, public places, claustrophobia, being trapped etc. Yet it is the fear of being sick that is often at the root of these fears.

For some female sufferers the idea of having a baby is out of the question whereas others will go to huge lengths to avoid food poisoning or catching a virus. Taking precautions that inhibit and restrict any kind of natural spontaneity: the fear sucks the joy out of life.

As with most fears, the ability to imagine and an innate suggestibility is often the 'root cause'. Although we may have unpleasant or influential memories of being sick as a child they are not always the actual cause of a current predicament. Our stomachs and digestive systems are easily affected by our mental state and it is all too easy to create the bodily feelings that we most fear. The taste in the mouth and the feeling in the stomach can be quickly changed by our thoughts and thought patterns: we are too suggestible.

The way the fear links with confidence and self-esteem often creates more layers of difficulty for the sufferer. Either by being too self critical or producing a feeling of helplessness or both! The sufferer then has two problems: a fear and low self esteem (created by self criticism).

The double whammy of fear producing low self-esteem is a good place to start with a therapist or if you are contemplating self-help. Separating these issues is an important first step to recovery. Start with the practical problem of dealing with your fears but ease up on judgemental thinking that comes with that fear.

My preferred combination, as a therapist, of using CBT Mindfulness and Hypnotherapy is not the only way but it covers some important areas. CBT provides a proven method to challenge the unhelpful thought patterns that produce fears and phobias. Mindfulness is a useful tool for keeping a person in the moment and away from all the dreaded 'what ifs'. Hypnotherapy utilises the imagination and seeks to point that suggestible mind and body in a more positive direction.

Web page on the fear of being sick Hypnotherapy In London

Video introduction on the subject of vomit phobia