05. tbl. 100. árg. 2014

Emetophobia: morbid fear of vomiting and nausea

Emetophobia: sjúklegur ótti við uppköst og ógleði

Emetophobia is an intense, irrational fear or anxiety of or pertaining to vomiting. It is classified among specific phobias in ICD-10 and DSM-IV. This disorder is often hidden because of the shame associated with it among sufferers. As a result emetophobia has been studied less than most other anxiety disorders. Not much is known about the epidemiology, treatment and outcome of this disorder. We describe a woman in her thirties who has been living with emetophobia since she experienced emesis two successive Christmas Eves as a child. Subsequently her fear of vomiting has influenced many aspects of her daily life.


Table ISymptoms associated with emetophobia
Panic attacks
Anxiety and depressive symptoms
Avoidance and other behaviors which reduce anxiety
Gastrointestinal symptoms
Reduced social activity

Table IICommon behavioral patterns of subjects with emetophobia
Avoid or severely limit alcohol consumption
Check best-before dates on food items
Avoid sea-travel or flights with small airplanes
Avoid public transport, prefer driving own car
Avoid going to theatre or cinema, choose end of row seats
Avoid pregnancy due to fear of morning sickness and not being able to care for it correctly if it were to become sick
Take great care in choosing meals and restaurants when eating out
Avoid bars and clubs
Avoid dinner parties and crowded rooms
Prefer not to eat in public, and if you do, sit near a door

Key words: Emetophobia, vomiting, emesis, anxiety disorder, specific phobia.

Correspondence: Engilbert Sigurðsson, engilbs@landspitali.is

Kolfinna Snaebjarnardottir1, Engilbert Sigurdsson1,2

1Faculty of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, University of Iceland, 2Mental Health Services, Landspítali-National University Hospital.

Þetta vefsvæði byggir á Eplica