All About Emetophobia, the Fear of Vomiting, and How to Overcome it with Psychological Therapy & Counselling

Emetophobia banner - woman being sick over toilet

What is Emetophobia?

Emetophobia is the fear of being sick or the fear of vomiting and some people refer to it as vomit phobia.

Despite estimates that Emetophobia affects around 5% of the population, it remains largely unknown because most sufferers feel so “silly” or “embarrassed” about it that often they will not even tell their partners about it for several years!

Although Emetophobia seems to be more prevalent in females, it certainly does affect males and we have helped a number here in our clinic.

The majority of Emetophobia sufferers consult us between the ages of about 21 & 30.

It is unusual for Emetophobes to seek help when they are much older than this, usually because they have learnt to cope with it.

Paul has expert knowledge of Emetophobia is formed and offers an evidence-based approach to overcoming it.

This method is based on an understanding of the causes and factors which maintain Emetophobia behaviours and is based entirely on 100% empirically supported processes for creating changes in those factors.


Emetophobia Symptoms & Behaviours

Emetophobia is an intense and irrational fear of vomiting, and it can have a variety of symptoms.

Some of the most common symptoms of emetophobia include:

  • Avoiding situations that could lead to vomiting: People with emetophobia may avoid certain foods or drinks, as well as public places such as restaurants or amusement parks.
  • Obsessively checking for signs of illness: This can include frequently taking one’s temperature or checking for other symptoms of illness.
  • Experiencing panic attacks: People with emetophobia may have panic attacks or feel extremely anxious when they are exposed to situations that could lead to vomiting.
  • Feeling constantly on edge: The fear of vomiting can cause a person to be hyper-vigilant and always on the lookout for potential triggers.
  • Experiencing physical symptoms: Physical symptoms of emetophobia can include sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, and gastrointestinal distress.
  • Difficulty with daily activities: Emetophobia can interfere with a person’s ability to work, attend school, or engage in social activities.
  • Persistent worry: People with emetophobia may worry constantly about getting sick or being exposed to germs.

In fact, Emetophobia can present itself in a whole host of different ways, but whichever form you happen to suffer with, our research-backed & evidence based CBT programme can help you.

Germs on a petri dish

Common Factors in Emetophobia

The majority of Emetophobia sufferers will be able to pin-point a time in their lives when they were sick which they believe gave them the phobia.

Whilst it is understandable that people want to be able to identify a certain event that created their phobia, there is very little evidence to support this notion.

Most people who have a phobia of flying in a plane have never been involved in a plane crash!

There are a number of common factors that we encounter that are related to the development of this phobia, including the following observations:

  • Sufferers generally have a very high ‘desire for control’ and may even have associated OCD problems.
  • They will frequently exhibit a catastrophic thinking style, often learnt from a catastrophic parent.
  • A tendency to use lots of safety behaviours such as frequent hand washing, avoiding alcohol and checking sell-by-dates on food.
  • A high degree of learned helplessness and believe that they can never overcome emetophobia.


Is your phobia making you anxious or are you creating the anxiety?

It might be hard to accept, but it’s almost certain that the anxiety you experience when you encounter your phobic object or situation is being unwittingly created by YOU and NOT the thing you fear.

Find out more about the subjective vs objective nature of phobias here.

Emetophobia sufferer in therapy session

Therapy for Emetophobia

We offer a number of different types of therapy and counselling for Emetophobia and vomit-related problems.

Choosing the most suitable therapy depends on a number of different considerations including factors such as:

  • How long you have had the problem.
  • Your personal preferences.
  • How your problem is affecting you today.

You can read more about CBT for Emetophobia on the following link:

Although all therapies use slightly different approaches, the one thing they all have in common is the relationship that is formed between the client and therapist.

Research suggests that this therapy relationship may be the most important factor in achieving a good therapy outcome.


Could Reality Therapy Be Right For You?

Reality Therapy is an approach which argues that your Emetophobia, the fear of vomiting, is a product of the way that you think internally and not the result of any kind of external influence.

It also argues that any past experiences which you may believe are the cause of your phobia, are no longer influential because those situations are no longer happening and therefore do not exist.

By teaching you how to take responsibility for the way that you feel, Reality Therapy can help you to stop creating the anxiety and stress associated with your phobic trigger as well as significantly improve the sense of control you have over the trajectory of your life going forward.

Free Initial Consultations for Emetophobia Banner

Arrange your FREE initial consultation here.

If you’d like to find out more about overcoming Emetophobia or recovering from related mental health problems then why not arrange a free initial consultation with us.

During this consultation we will discuss your particular phobia and the different types of mental health counselling we offer without you having to commit to any counselling going forward.

The consultation lasts around 50 minutes and is a great opportunity to meet with either Paul or Joan and decide if you would like to proceed with any support.

Related Pages

Alice Gardiner Beats Emetophobia

Alice Gardiner Beats Emetophobia

Alice Gardiner Beats Emetophobia “I contacted Paul in September this year after I had researched why I was so scared of being sick. I found out it was called Emetophobia and that there was something I could do about it! I had had a course of Cognitive Behavioural...

read more
Fear of Being Sick All The Time

Fear of Being Sick All The Time

Are You Living in Fear of Being Sick All the Time? Unlike many other phobias which can, to a certain extent, be avoided by simply not going near the *"phobic object", Emetophobia is rather unique as it leads the sufferer to be in fear of being sick all the time....

read more
Fear of Being Sick Cured

Fear of Being Sick Cured

Fear of Being Sick Cure - Rachel's Testimonial I first came across the Thrive Programme in October 2013 in a last desperate search for help and support for my fear of being sick (Emetophobia). At the time I was a new mom and had just experienced my first round of the...

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Applied Psychology Solutions

If you’d like to learn how to overcome Emetophobia but dislike the idea of having “therapy”, then why not learn how to change the way you make sense of your experiences with the CORE Programme.

If you believe that your problems are the result of what has happened to you and not because there is something wrong with you, then this is the solution you’ve been looking for.

Not Ready to Commit to Therapy Quite Yet?

Then why not see if you can solve your emetophobia using our comprehensive, Online Self-Help CBT course.


Written especially for people who prefer not to engage with a therapist before doing everything they can to overcome their problems.

Mirroring our in-house course of CBT, it contains everything that you need to know to tackle mental health challenges for only £149.

Counselling Locations

We offer counselling for Emetophobia problems for people living in:

  • Wombourne
  • Wolverhampton
  • West Midlands
  • Shropshire
  • South Staffordshire
  • Telford
  • Shrewsbury

You can also access our services around the World using online therapy with Paul.