Extreme Emetophobic (fear of vomiting/gagging)-ruining my life!

Posted , 4 users are following.

Since I was a child, my fear of vomiting was a serious issue for me. As I age- the anxiety and fear has become much worse. I'm afraid for my life and general well being.

I have met a lot of people and read a bunch of online cases about the same fear. I know I am not alone. In my case, anxiety and depression is genetic from both sides of my family. More so on my maternal side. I am severely affected by this as well as thought triggered panic attacks. It doesn't help that I suffer from OCD as well. My brain is out of control and very frustrating to live a 'normal' life this way. One part of my brain knows it's just fear, negative thoughts...and that vomiting/gagging is a normal human function, however, the other part of my brain completely freaks out sending my body into complete panic attacks. I cannot express how tired my mind and body is from all of this. I'm panic stricken day and night, 24/7. My mind doesn't stop and constantly worried about getting sick or the possibility of when I can eat. Or all of a sudden I will remember something or past experience, even fabricating a familiar taste in my mouth which instantly makes me feel so sick im freaking out. These are my daily battles....When I can sleep, that is pretty much the only time my anxiety isn't affecting me but I have trouble sleeping as is with an overactive mind. Even brushing my teeth has become a worry as I constantly feel nauseous and gaggy because of how shot my nervous system is.

I have lost about 15 lbs over the past 4-5 years. I now weigh 100 lbs roughly. This fear/phobia has tainted my mind in ways where i overthink every situation. As a food lover, i fear my overall health as I struggle to eat. The sight and smells of food...common foods i love....turn my stomach around and make me severly nauseous. When i can/do eat, i feel more nauseous from digestion.

I am not currently on any antidepressants even though my doctor suggested me to start again. I'm very hesitant as I was on them for over 13 years and feel that they have messed up my head and caused alot of my gastrointestinal issues I now face. I do however take clonazepam quite frequently when I feel out of control. Which isn't a permanent or long term goal of mine to continue taking. I know this has long term effects.

Even though I am aware this is all psychological, I can't stop this. I am 35 years old and a single mother. With this fear it makes it very difficult to care for my son when he is sick.

I have been off work now for almost 4 months because of the severity of this mental illness. I enjoy working and staying busy...but I have a difficult time even leaving the house now. I just want to enjoy life...go out with friends....take my son places without the anxiety and panic in my body and without the aid of mild tranquilizers. I need to see a Psychotherapist for cognitive therapy and maybe a hypnotherapist. ...but it's tough as both these services aren't covered under our countries health plan.

I have seen Holistic doctors and one gave me EFT (emotional freedom technique) 'tapping' methods to do on certain parts of the body that aren't helping much.

Anyone have any suggestions for me? Or feel similar? If so, are there any coping strategies that has helped yourself or others?

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Looking frwd to hearing from others.


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42 Replies

  • Posted

    Have you ever had pain associated with this Sandi?  In your childhood has anyone ever told you you had an incident with choking?  The reason I ask is I had a brother who drowned when he was only two but he was saved.  He carried a fear of swimming all of his life and for whatever reason no one told him about it.  When our mother passed away we found a note in her journal about the incident and he went to therapy for several months and now he has leanred how to swim and is in his 70s.  If you have pain or problems swallowing food or even drink you may have a herniated esophagus and need to tell your doctor at once.  Just a thought-good luck!
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  • Posted

    Oh and there are many self help books available by Drs Weil and Dyer for example.

    Yoga helps many people-cognitive thinking can be eassy to learn and it seems to have a positive effect on anyone who practices it.  Meditation is healthy.  Good luck

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    • Posted

      Hi Frank,

      Pain in what sense? The over all anxiety has caused alot of stomach and gastrointestinal issues for me. So I guess yes I do experience pain.

      What a beautiful story about your brother. Thank you for sharing.

      I don't think I had an issue with choking in this lifetime but I do recall having a terrible stomach flu which lasted over 24 hours when I was a child. Even then I remember freaking out about it. It's so silly but I can't seem to get a grip on this and find the control button. I know I need help. I do plan to take up a yoga class at some point. I've experienced periods in my life before where I was down like this...but I've had enough of this Rollercoaster ride. I'm just exhausted.

      Thank you for your reply.

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    • Posted

      you are very welcome.  Humans are both blessed and cursed with cognitive thinking.  Unlike most  animals we can manifest symptoms by simply thinking of them over and over.  This can lead to neurosis.  Who knows.  I have thrown up violently before and thought I would choke-the best thing we can do is rule in or out any throat issues you might have.  Go see a physician and he may feel you need further tests or even an endoscopy.  My uneducated guess is it isn't physical but I am not a doctor.  Breathe deep and don't put this off anymore-go see someone-okay?
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  • Posted

    Have you seen a gastroentenologist?
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