how to calm down emetophobia panic attack

How To Calm Down Emetophobia Panic Attack 101

Emetophobia is a condition in which a person develops an immense fear or a phobia of vomiting. According to Elle Markman, a licensed clinical health psychologist, an estimated 2% of men and 7% of women have emetophobia at some point in their lives. Emetophobia disrupts the lives of people who have it because in many cases, the patient tries to avoid public places like school, work, public transport, restaurants, etc.

So, how to calm down emetophobia panic attack?

It is categorized under an anxiety disorder as per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition. The phobia may be life-altering since even the thought of vomiting or watching someone else vomit might affect the patient.

Let’s try to face your fear and help you fight it in the simplest possible way.

How to Calm Down Emetophobia Panic Attack – Understanding Emetaphobia

What you need to understand about your body is that it always wants balance. It is always working towards keeping you safe. 24*7, even when you’re sleeping. So, ideally, you wouldn’t be throwing up most of the time. You only get sick 0.002% of the time, when it is exposed to foreign substances and is not able to fight them.

Talking about Ematophobia, we haven’t yet understood the exact cause and source. Some scientists and doctors believe this fear develops on its own, or after a traumatic experience that involves vomiting. Another theory is that genes, physiological factors, anxiety or other biological factors could trigger such a phobia.

The disease model proposes that emetophobia may result from a constellation of factors including a general anxiety-vulnerability factor, such as gastrointestinal distress. Let’s try to understand how to calm down emetophobia panic attack.

How to calm down a ematophobia panic attack

How bad can it get?

Emetophobia is a very understated issue among the masses. It has the potential to affect people’s lives profoundly and in numerous ways: 

  • Avoidance behavior: People with emetophobia start avoiding places, eating food outside, social gatherings in the fear that they might catch any illness and which can lead to vomiting.  
  • Eating Disorder: Individuals with emetophobia restrict their diet out of fear that they will consume something that might make them sick. This behaviour can grow into eating disorders which causes deficiencies and other health problems. 
  • Isolation: Emetophobia causes people to isolate themselves from social interaction because they develop a fear of vomiting in public and embarrassing themselves.
  • Hampered Relationships: If people around individuals who are suffering from emetophobia are not sympathetic enough then it can hamper the relationship between family, friends, and romantic partners. 
  • Difficulty in daily functioning: With constant fear and anxiety to vomit it can be challenging for the person with this disorder to carry out daily activities without any hindrance. 

The development of Emetophobia varies individually, it can be due to any traumatic experience, genetics, cognitive factors, and social influences. You may find it difficult on how to calm down emetophobia panic attack at first, but as you grow into it, you’ll be amazed on the effects.

How to Calm Down Emetophobia Panic Attack Using Exposure Therapy

Being associated with the health industry for more than 5 years, we’ve seen more people misinformed about what exposure therapy is than we’ve seen people who’ve tried it. When people are introduced to exposure therapy on how to calm down emetophobia panic attack, they don’t know what to do. It’s probably better to start with what exposure therapy is not.

Exposure therapy is not just randomly running into a situation that exposes you to someone vomiting, or you, yourself feeling very ill. Yes, if you go to a birthday party and a kid is suddenly sick in front of you then, unfortunately, you have been exposed to what you fear most. But the “therapy” part is missing. Therapy comes from the root word for “healing” and just randomly being exposed to vomiting and having the bejeezus scared out of you does nothing for your healing. In fact, it may make your phobia worse by re-traumatizing you.

The current literature on anxiety and exposure therapy says that a list is as good as a hierarchy anyway. So you make a list of everything that frightens you. 

The most important step of the therapy ALWAYS seems impossible. But that’s the beauty of exposure therapy – it begins with something SO EASY and you go SO GRADUALLY that by the time you get to the difficult stuff, you hardly notice.

The first steps in my online hierarchy are as simple as looking at the word “vomit.” There. You just did it. You may not have liked it, but you’re ok right now? Then we look at some other words. If those are too difficult then we might just begin by imagining a scene where you’d be a little afraid.

Before starting exposure exercises, learn and practice coping techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, positive self-talk, and mindfulness. These techniques will help you manage anxiety during exposure. While in the exposure situation, use coping techniques to manage anxiety. Practice deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or positive self-talk to help calm yourself down.

Once you feel comfortable with a particular exposure, move on to the next level in your hierarchy. Repeat the exposure exercises, gradually increasing the intensity of the stimuli or situations as you progress.

  • Seeing an image of vomit
  • Hearing someone talk about vomiting
  • Being in a room where someone is nauseous
  • Being in a room where someone is vomiting
  • Feeling nauseous yourself

By this time, you should be able to face your fear a little better (or that’s what we hope!) Unfortunately, the information and research regarding emetophobia is comparatively less but we believe we answered your doubts how to calm down emetophobia panic attack. Another important technique to focus on here is your breathing practice.

Try the 4-7-8 breathing technique (this also helps you calm down and help with insomnia). One can follow 3 simple steps on how to calm down emetophobia panic attack. Find a secure place to sit or stand and then take a deep breath through your nose counting to 4 with your muscles relaxed. Hold your breath for 7 seconds and try to remain relaxed, then exhale through your mouth slowly counting to 8. Repeat this cycle as much as you want until you feel the situation is under your control. 

To read more such insightful articles, stay tuned. 

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