Teenager Lauren beats emetophobia and panic attacks:
“I’ve got my daughter back” says happy Mum!

Teenager Lauren is just like any other young lady – she wants to have a fun and interesting life with lots of friends and no panic attacks, fears or phobias holding her back.

But, Lauren had been suffering from emetophobia and panic attacks for years and would often react to social situations in a way that her mum described as “frightening” This had a very negative impact on her life and family, as it does for many emetophobia sufferers.

Lauren with her mum: “I’ve got my daughter back!”

Emetophobia is a fear of vomit or sick, also known as a Specific Fear of Vomit. It affects up to 8% of women worldwide and is often misdiagnosed or untreated, leaving sufferers feeling helpless and alone. It can also be associated with anxiety disorders and depression as sufferers struggle to cope.

Because of this, Lauren would struggle to eat normally or do normal things like go to the cinema or theatre, for fear of encountering someone being sick or something make her vomit. She lacked confidence and resilience and would avoid social situations, which effected her friendships and school life.

But, then she found The Thrive Programme via a recommendation and met her Thrive Consultant, who took her through the special teenager’s edition of the Cure Your Emetophobia Book. After working hard over a few sessions Lauren said: “I feel a lot more confident and I’ve got my self-esteem back. I can now do a lot of the things that I couldn’t before.”

And her Mum said: “I feel like I’ve got my daughter back! Before all of this, she was sociable and confident, then she went through this stage (the phobia) but I’ve got my daughter back now.”

Lauren is now living a normal life and Thriving, free of her phobia and panic attacks – well done Lauren!

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Emetophobia, the fear of vomiting, is widespread; it is one of the most common phobias for which people consult Thrive Programme Consultants. Research has suggested that prevalence of a fear of being sick ranges from 0.1 to 8.8% percent of the population (Hout & Bouman, 2011).

These different figures probably depend upon whether the researchers assessed participants for any sort of ‘fear’ of vomiting or solely focused upon a severe ‘phobia’. These prevalence figures suggest that somewhere between around 63,000 and 5.5 million people in the UK suffer from emetophobia.

Emetophobia is known by many names (emetophobia, specific phobia of vomiting (SPOV), vomit phobia, sickness phobia, fear of vomiting…) and is associated with other fears and disorders, such as phagophobia (a fear of gagging, swallowing or choking), a fear of pregnancy, social anxiety and obsessional disorders. People can fear vomiting themselves and/or others vomiting. Most individuals with emetophobia are female, with research studies revealing that 85-97% of their emetophobic participants are women (Hout & Bouman, 2011; Lipsitz et al., 2001; Veale & Lambrou, 2006).

Emetophobia tends to be a severe symptom and often significantly affects sufferers’ ability to lead normal lives. People with this fear often go to great lengths to avoid encountering anything that could lead to vomiting. They may, for example, be teetotal or heavily limit their alcohol consumption and avoid pubs or clubs where others may drink heavily and then vomit. They may worry a great deal about hygiene, and be fussy about making sure everywhere is clean. They may take excessive time off work or school because they worry about being exposed to germs that will cause them to be sick.

Many sufferers of emetophobia have unsuccessfully tried a range of treatments. Veale and Lambrou (2006), for example, found that twenty-nine percent of their sample of vomit phobics had received some form of therapy for their fear, which overall they rated as largely ineffective. Veale and Lambrou (2006, p. 139) have stated that “clinicians generally regard it as challenging to treat because of high drop out or a poor response to treatment.”

In 2007 Rob Kelly – an emetophobia expert with over 30 years clinical experience – launched ‘The Thrive Programme’, which is a revolutionary psychological training programme – that people can learn at home from a book/video programme – that thousands have used to transform their lives. All the ex-emetophobics in this YouTube channel used the emetophobia version of the Thrive Programme book/video course to overcome their phobia.