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What Is the Treatment for Emetophobia?

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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Patients suffering from emetophobia are usually treated for this condition in the same manner as patients with other specific phobias. Though not much research has been done on the best treatment for emetophobia, many patients report an improvement in their symptoms after cognitive behavioral therapy, medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of these treatments. Patients will work one on one with psychologists or psychiatrists when treating this disorder so that treatment can be individualized to the patient's needs.

Though emetophobia is not a common condition, the fear of vomiting or of seeing others vomit is well known to psychology. Many patients suffer from this condition, which can sometimes lead to other conditions such as hypochondria or anorexia. Treatment for emetophobia is generally effective, though it requires a great deal of work on the part of the patient.

In many cases, treatment for emetophobia will begin with one on one counseling sessions between a patient and a therapist. The point of these sessions is to discover what causes the emotophobia. For many patients, a fear of losing control, embarrassment, or illness may be behind the fear of vomiting. Once a patient has identified the fears that contribute to the phobia, these can be taken on through therapy in order to be resolved.

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After patients have identified the causes of their phobia, the next step in the treatment for emetophobia is often coming up with specific triggers that allow the phobia to take over. The treatment of emetophobia often involves cognitive behavioral therapy, a process by which patients identify and challenge their fears in a methodical way. Patients begin by confronting fears or triggers that cause mild discomfort and work their way up to situations that would normally make them extremely uncomfortable or panic-stricken. The process of gradually becoming accustomed to these fears allows a patient to become desensitized to a phobia until it does not produce a fear response or produces one that the patient can effectively manage.

For some patients, cognitive behavioral therapy may seem too uncomfortable to try right away. Many of these patients respond well when the treatment for emetophobia includes medication. Antipsychotics are often used temporarily while patients are overcoming their phobias and can help them feel less out of control. Additionally, patients with emetophobia may benefit from mild medications that decrease gastrointestinal discomfort. These medications may help patients with this phobia focus less attention on their stomachs as they work to manage their phobia.

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