Today on the A – Z of hypnotherapy and well-being, we’re talking Emetophobia aka a fear of sickness.
It affects around 5% of the population and it’s not just a mild disliking of it, it’s sheer panic at the thought of having feelings of nausea, vomiting, other people being ill or a combination of all of three of these things. Although it is a phobia, it often crosses over into the territory of anxiety and OCD.
If you suffer from Emetophobia you will probably feel like there’s no escape from it as you can’t leave your family, friends, workplace and even if you could, you can’t leave your own body.
For that reason, you might find yourself taking excessive safety precautions like avoiding certain foods, public places, meat aisles in supermarkets…It’s not uncommon for the people who come to see me to even avoid their own children when they are ill for fear of becoming sick.
One technique that you might find helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed is called 7/11 breathing. You breath in for the count of 7 and out to the count of 11. This isn’t just a distraction technique (although it does help to do that), it turns off the Sympathetic Nervous System (aka the fight or flight system) and activates it’s opposite counterpart, the Parasympathetic Nervous System (aka the rest and digest system).
There are different approaches to helping this, some of which involves exposing you to videos of people vomiting or actually making yourself ill, but I prefer to work in a kinder way that allows you to reduce your anxiety and make a proper assessment of the situation without the need to face your fear.