When asked what the term emetophobia means, I would put money on the fact that most of the general public would say they have never even heard of the word before, let alone know the meaning of it.
But, the amount of people who are phobic about vomit (Emetophobia) is a strikingly high percentage. Figures are about seven percent of women and three percent of men.
Despite being really quite common, little is written or spoken about this disease, perhaps because it is too easy to trivialise. To those who are not sufferers, the fear of vomit may not seem serious. However, the conditions can have severe consequences and be quite debilitating in extreme forms
Let’s be honest, how often is a person violently sick compared to the number of days in our lives we are fine, how often do you see somebody be sick in a toilet on a night out? I think the general consensus would be the answer is not that often.So why do so many people suffer with this particular phobia and why do they find themselves SO restricted by the affects it has on them in day-to-day living?
What most of us would not think to take into account is the fact that for a person who suffers with the fear of being sick, there is potential peril around every corner. For most of the sufferers of emetophobia, it is not usually the fear of being sick that triggers panic but actually the fear of the consequences of being sick.
However sufferers themselves often initially believe that it is the act of vomiting of which they are frightened. But really it can be the unwanted attention, the humiliation of been seen to be out of control or having to clear up a mess afterwards, messing up your clothes and not being able to quickly change. This can extend to being frightened of being vomited upon by someone else or many , albeit unlikely, but none the less terrifying scenarios to the emetophobe.
There are so many triggers that may set off a person suffering with emetophobia that most of us would not even take into consideration. The media obviously are aware that there are illnesses like obesity and cancer that will generate more stories compared to strong phobias like emetophobia.
So, building awareness and sympathy with the public will always be a long haul. However it is a cause that deserves coverage given how common a condition it is and how debilitating it can be in extreme forms