OCD and Emetophobia
Understanding Emetophobia in relation to OCD
What causes the development of Emetophobia?
Most do not know what caused their symptoms in relation to the development of Emetophobia. It is likely that similar to the development of OCD, this is likely
to be a consequence of external stressors, possible unpleasant or traumatic experiences during childhood, and a sense of somehow being out of control. Of course, the links between Emetophobia and OCD are more evident than most other conditions, with the trigger relating to the thought around being sick. The compulsion usually leads to avoidance of specific group settings or places. Anyone can have Emetophobia, although women are more likely to experience this phobia than men.
How common is Emetophobia?
Emetophobia is becoming increasingly common, with 1-3 % of the male population, and 4-7% of females suffering from this specific anxiety disorder. Although
it is clear that there is a difference between sexes, the exact reasons for this are still somewhat unknown. Such variations are likely to be a result of social expectations, gender roles, and possible biological traits.
How can our program help?
There are clear overlaps of symptoms concerning Emetophobia and OCD. It wouldn’t be an overgeneralization to say that the individual components that make up the OCD cycle fit almost precisely with the signs and behaviours of a person experiencing Emetophobia. The trigger is anything that increases the perceived risk of the threat, in this case, potentially vomiting or the feeling that the risk ensues. There is then an emotional response of acute anxiety, which in turn leads to the compulsion, which is usually avoidance in the case of those afraid of being sick. Other compulsions often include seeking reassurance and occasionally researching.
The typical therapies used to treat Emetophobia successfully include Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
(ACT), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), Compassion Focussed Therapy (CFT) and talking therapy, all of which together prove to be very successful in overcoming Emetophobia, and are part of all of our intensive therapy options. We also find that offering Psychoeducation, whereby we help the person fully understand the inner workings of the condition helps dramatically to reduce fears from the outset. The behavioural component of our programs provide clients with simple and effective ways of tackling their fears quickly. Such behaviour work also benefits greatly when conducted on an intensive basis, due to the habitual nature of Emetophobia.
We work with many people every year with Emetophobia, with high levels of success, as the condition lends itself so well to the program that we provide, especially the intensive treatment options.