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Old 08-22-2005, 06:36 AM   #1
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Gilesy HB User
Emetophobia

Hi all
I recently discovered I suffer from Emetophobia, which is a fear of vomiting. I've always had it and it is constantly in my mind. People think I am a hypochondriac too, which I guess I am. If I go into work and find out somebody is off sick, I panic and I have to find out what it is - is it catching and would it make me vomit? I have to know. I will over cook food to ensure that there are no bugs in it and avoid certain resturants if I am not sure about them.

I almost constantly feel nauseous these days, occasionally breathless, sweaty and I get very tired. I put this down to anxiety. Also (and this is what has prompted me to write today) I have been having trouble with my throat. I saw the posts on Global Hystericus which I had not heard of before, and wondered if my anxiety about vomiting has brought this or something similar on. Last September it started and it feels like my throat is blocked. It causes a cough and sore throat, in trying to clear it. It makes me nauseous some more. Then, horror of horrors, it seemed to trigger a gagging reflex, which in turn caused me to dry retch three or four times a day for about 6 months. (The doctor said it was learnt behaviour). As you could imagine, this for an emetophic was an absolute nightmare. I couldn't eat, lost pounds and my life was miserable. Then the retching stopped and I picked up a bit but my throat still has this full, blocked feeling.

Now as September approaches again I am getting extremely frightned that the retching is going to happen again. My hot sweats (I so hate that), breathlessnes and palpations are increasing, and right now my throat is so blocked I feel the retching isn't far away. I couldn't finish my lunch and had to run out of the works canteen. I'm so scared. The doctor does not have any suggestions and I think he thinks I waste his time.

I would be grateful for any suggestions. (It has helped a little getting this off my chest)

Thank you

Gilesy

 
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Old 08-22-2005, 10:27 AM   #2
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mjewell HB Usermjewell HB Usermjewell HB Usermjewell HB User
Re: Emetophobia

Hi Gilesy -

First of all, I think you need to seek out a different doctor. There are better doctors out there than that. Second, tell them you have emetophobia and see what he/she says. I would think the doctor's reaction to that wold tell you if they are really out to help you or not. if they blow it off as "just anxiety" or something, you definitely know its time to find someone else.

As for emetophobia, i also have it, and it is the source of my anxiety and panic. Like you, I got really bad a couple of years ago and lost 10 pounds. I also gag when i am very anxious and not feeling well, which of course sends me into a panic. I don't have the throat fullness feeling, but I do feel "gaggy" a lot. I find that chewing gum (al the time!!) helps me and I take Xanax for the anxiety. it really calms me down and takes away my nausea too, which is wonderful. Like you, i feel like I am nauseous more than not, but I can't realy discern the difference between anxiety and true nausea anymore. Since I rarely if ever actually get sick and vomit, I'm pretty sure its just anxiety, which is a bit comforting.

I wonder if the throat fullness is because your muscles are tensing up from anxiety?

Anyway, you are not the only one who has this, but like I said, if your dr isn't helping I would suggest finding someone else. Xanax helps me alot, but I also try to take care of myself by drinking lots and ltos of water, exercising every day and eating well. When ia m really healthy I tend to get less anxiety and nausea.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 11:08 AM   #3
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Nan18 HB User
Re: Emetophobia

I have emetophobia, too...have had it all my life and it is always with me. Based on the symptoms you describe, I would suggest you see an Ear, Nose & Throat doctor or gastroenterologist to make sure you don't have GERD (acid reflux disease) or a possible hiatal hernia. You are describing all the symptoms of these conditions (sore throat, cough, feeling like food is coming up your throat, etc.). I just recently found out that I have both these things after some testing. I'm not sure how I got them, but I'm sure all my obsessing about vomiting can't have helped things. Stress does terrible things to the body. They have medicines for reflux, though I'm not sure how much it actually helps. There are a lot of differing opinions about acid conditions and how to treat them. I'm looking into alternative treatments.

It's really ironic that the very thing we are afraid of is the thing we end up experiencing. Even though I can't offer much in the way of answers, I just wanted to say I'm sorry you're dealing with this and you're not alone.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 11:51 AM   #4
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Comptons HB User
Re: Emetophobia

I'm not emetophobic - but I can relate to the throat thing. For me - it's an anxiety symptom. Sometimes it feels as if it's about to close completely up and I'll start coughing, gagging, etc. Today I'm a little anxious (don't know why) and my throat is just really tight. When I try to relax and get busy with work it seems much better. I've had throat scans, and visited ENT doc and mine was determined to be anxiety related....yippee - yet another anxiety addition. You'll get through this, just try to stay calm.
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Old 08-22-2005, 11:57 AM   #5
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Comptons HB User
Re: Emetophobia

I forgot to mention - brushing my teeth seems to help me when my throat feels this way. Don't know why, but it does....
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Old 08-22-2005, 01:10 PM   #6
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Gilesy HB User
Re: Emetophobia

Thank you so much for your replies. Having read them i feel a lot better in myself tonight. It's good to know somebody understands what I go through.

It's not easy changing a doctor in the British NHS. Also, I live in a village and I am allocated that one and that's all there is. I cannot afford private consultations.
Emetophobia is the most peculiar thing, because it is contstantly on my mind. It's inescapable. Unlike arachnaphobia for instance where you can actively avoid spiders; you cannot avoid nausea, indigestion even hunger etc., Somebody suggested therapy similar to the type where arachnaphobes go into a spider filled room and stayed there. What he was suggesting was that I make myself vomit. You will understand, I'm sure, that this is an absolute impossibility.
Comptons, thank you - Yes I find that brushing my teeth helps the throat 'thing'. I don't understnd either!

Thanks all.

{REMOVED}

Gilesy.

Last edited by ms_mod; 08-22-2005 at 02:29 PM. Reason: Please don't ask members to violate board rules by posting website addresses. Thanks,Ms_Mod

 
Old 08-22-2005, 01:53 PM   #7
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hry33 HB Userhry33 HB User
Re: Emetophobia

to gilesy
an antidepressant med would calm you a lot if you can find 1 that woeks for you
thgere are emetophobia support groups and much info on the net
soime get help by carrying an airsick bag with them
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Old 08-22-2005, 03:43 PM   #8
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mjewell HB Usermjewell HB Usermjewell HB Usermjewell HB User
Re: Emetophobia

hry33, just curious, where did you hear the airsick bag thing from? I've noticed you mention that a lot, but as an emetophobe just the thought of an airsick bag sends me into a panic. Plus it is the fear of the act of vomiting itself that sends most emets into a tailspin, not where they will do it.

 
Old 08-22-2005, 04:35 PM   #9
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junglemonkey HB User
Re: Emetophobia

Hey, I think I've got it too

I'm waiting for a consult to start treatment.

This phobia is horrible because you can't run away from it like you can insects, heights etc.

As regards airsick bags - I hate to even touch them if I'm on a plane. Even to see them. Sure, they look just like a paper bag but you know what they're for.

When I used to panic if I felt sick I would run to a bathroom thinking I would vomit. Now I get as far away from a toilet as possible as though the very fact I am in there will make me do the dirty deed! Same goes for the airsickness bag - it's like a definite reminder I may vomit.
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