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10 Strange Phobias

Emetophobia -- Fear of Vomiting

Emetophobia is actually quite common, but it's unlikely you've heard of it. Why? Because people don't like to talk about their fear of vomiting.

People suffering from emetophobia may find themselves afraid of being sick, often avoiding situations that may cause them gastrointestinal distress. They may avoid foods prepared by others, or certain foods and beverages in general, because they fear food poisoning. This puts sufferers at risk of developing eating disorders. They may be sticklers about cleanliness, again fearing food poisoning, bacteria or other contamination. Women may avoid pregnancy because they're afraid of the vomiting associated with morning sickness. They may also avoid hearing, seeing and caring for others who are sick.

Because the root of this phobia often lies in a traumatic childhood experience, such as feeling a loss of control or being a burden when sick, coping with emetophobia means exploring the anxiety behind it. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help a sufferer learn coping mechanisms, and if the fear triggers panic attacks, medications may be helpful.