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“Help, My Child is Afraid of Others Vomiting Around Them”: Understanding and Coping with Emetophobia

Emetophobia, the fear of vomiting, is a common and yet quite debilitating anxiety disorder that affects children and adults alike. For those who suffer from emetophobia, the fear of vomiting is often accompanied by other forms of anxiety, such as panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety. If you’re a parent whose child is afraid of others vomiting around them, you may feel helpless and unsure of how to provide your child with the support and resources they need.

Fortunately, there is effective treatments available to help children and adults cope with the symptoms of emetophobia. In this blog post, we’ll explore what emetophobia is, how it affects children, and what you can do to help your child manage their anxiety.

Understanding Emetophobia:

Emetophobia is a form of anxiety disorder in which an individual experiences an intense fear or phobia of vomiting or seeing others vomit. This fear may be so intense that it can interfere with daily activities and life functioning. While emetophobia can occur at any age, it often begins in childhood or adolescence, and girls are more likely to suffer from it than boys. Some common triggers for emetophobia include seeing vomit, hearing or reading about vomiting, feeling nauseous, or having a perceived traumatic experience with vomiting.

How Emetophobia Affects Children:

Emetophobia can have a significant impact on a child’s life, preventing them from attending school, socializing with friends, participating in activities, or even leaving the house. Children with emetophobia may develop avoidance behaviors, such as refusing to eat certain foods or avoiding places where they think they might be exposed to vomit. They may also experience physical symptoms such as nausea, sweating, trembling, or heart palpitations when faced with a trigger.

What You Can Do to Help Your Child:

If your child is afraid of others vomiting around them, it’s important to provide them with a safe, supportive environment where they feel comfortable expressing their fears and emotions. Here are a few things you can do to help your child overcome their emetophobia:

  1. Educate them about emetophobia. Help your child understand that their fear is a real medical condition and that they are not alone in their struggle. Explain to them that emetophobia is treatable and that they can overcome it with professional help.


  1. Seek professional treatment. Emetophobia is a type of anxiety disorder that requires professional and specialized treatment. Consult with a mental health professional who specializes in treating anxiety disorders, and has specific training in CBT and ERP. Emetophobia, typically responds well to cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and exposure therapy.


  1. Create a plan for managing symptoms. Work with your child’s therapist to develop a plan for managing their anxiety symptoms. It’s important to be patient and supportive throughout this process, as it can take time for your child to overcome their fears.


  1. Provide ongoing support and encouragement. Let your child know that you are there to support them and encourage them through the process of overcoming their emetophobia. Be patient, understanding, and empathetic to their needs, and celebrate their successes along the way.


We’re Here To Help

As a parent, watching your child struggle with emetophobia can be overwhelming and challenging. However, with the right tools, resources, and support, your child can learn to manage their fears and lead a healthy, happy life. By educating yourself and your child about emetophobia and seeking professional treatment, you can help your child overcome their anxiety and reclaim their life. Remember, you’re not alone, and there is hope for a brighter future. At GroundWork, our orlando therapists provide evidence-based CBT and ERP for children struggling with emetophobia; we’re here to help.

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