My child is afraid of vomiting and this creates a lot of discomfort in our family life!
This is a problem that occurs in childhood but also in adults. It is about being afraid of vomiting, either chronically or in certain circumstances such as when there is a strong smell, a disgusting scene or simply when eating. The phobia of vomiting is called emetophobia. It is a panic fear of vomiting. As all phobias it goes beyond the realm of the rational. It is a panic fear of vomiting but also of mouth noises. It may be the irrational fear of vomiting yourself. Sometimes it is also the fear of seeing someone vomit or of hearing them perform such an action! Thinking about vomiting or going to a place that facilitates it, such as a merry-go-round, for example, causes fear. The very idea of nausea is also distressing.
It is therefore an anxiety disorder that is related to a particular situation. The subject may prevent himself from doing many things for fear of vomiting, such as taking the car, the bus or the plane.
The child who will then put in place many avoidance strategies to avoid confronting this fear which takes up all the space in his life but especially in his mind!
There may be a cause born out of a bad experience. For example, your child was sick at school and vomited in front of his friends who made fun of him. But not always! Sometimes seeing children making fun of those who vomited at school or at a year-end performance can create similar anxiety in your child. In the event of a confrontation with the object of fear or a situation that could lead to it, many symptoms appear. Shaking, sweating, hyperventilation or a real uncontrollable panic attack.
Cognitive-behavioral therapies can help your child heal from his emophobia. Some plants can also help to relax such as chamomile or Bach Flowers. A few drops of Bach flowers on a sugar can immediately comfort the child. As a therapist, here is what I advise.
I do not recommend talking insistently about this fear because the more we talk about it the more we will feed it.
I recommend rather to test sophrology, very effective, with a qualified and competent therapist.
At home you have to set up a little Yin Yoga training followed by a short meditation on the 5 senses. The more the child learns to know and recognize his senses, the more he will detach himself from his phobia.
A little creative visualization can help regain control over emotions. Showing and demonstrating to that his mind can create beauty and soothing rather than going to his dark side can pay off!
Alongside these techniques, it is absolutely necessary to desensitize by learning to say the word vomit and to talk about it in very small doses. During an illness where he may vomit like gastroenteritis, it is good to be close to his child, to hold his head, to cool him, to surround him and to tell him that he is fine and manages like a boss! It is then also possible to make him foresee this moment. You have to show him that everything is ready and that he doesn’t have to be afraid. Remind him that he is not the only one to have gastroenteritis and that all his schoolmates are also likely to go through this condition.
I had several clients suffering from this phobia and all of them were cured by going through real sophrology sessions during which we worked together on the 5 senses and mindfulness. The word “welcome” rather than “reject” is important! It should be used to calm the situation.