Emetophobia is the irrational fear of vomit. It is one of the least-known phobias, but it’s estimated to be the fifth most common phobia in the world. Having this condition causes a great amount of shame to sufferers so it tends not to be talked about.
What makes emetophobia have such a strong influence on a person’s everyday life is not the fear of actual vomit itself. The biggest problems arise because emetophobics overreact to any threat or smallest signs of the possibility of vomiting or seeing vomit. This makes them avoid or strictly control many activities which are necessary for day-to-day life.
One such example is maintaining a social life when you’re emetophobic. This can present numerous difficulties and challenges for somebody who cannot stand even the slightest hint of somebody being sick or vomiting.
So what could be a worse place for an emetophobic to go to than a place where people get drunk – a bar? Not much. The equation goes straight through an emetophobic’s head: people + alcohol = vomit.
Emetophobics hate going to bars because they just KNOW that someone, somewhere will drink too much. It’s impossible to control what others around you are doing and this is what causes a lot of anxiety to them. They fear that there will be a drunkard that doesn’t reach the restroom in time or accidentally stumbles on them. To somebody with emetophobia, a bar is simply a time bomb about to go off.
Among the many other things a sufferer avoids, it is very common, almost universal to find that the emetophobic avoids drinking alcohol. The connection between drinking just slightly too much and vomiting is too strong. So when they do go to a bar, they will most probably be the designated driver, being the sober one in the group.
And having to drive home a group of drunk people in an enclosed space means terror to an emetophobe. They have to drive in the constant fear that somebody will ask them to pull over, or simply vomit in the car. Most emetophobes can not pull this off.
Another thing – even if the emetophobic person manages to get himself or herself to go to a bar, maybe getting a single drink, probably not, but there’s still a huge challenge. And that is going to the restroom. Going to a clean restroom in a high-end mall is a tough challenge by itself for any emetophobic, but going to a restroom where people probably have thrown up if not that night, then at some time in the past, is almost sure to bring on a panic attack.
Hopefully this article will give you an idea of the kinds of challenges an emetophobic person goes through every day of his life. If you think about it rationally, the fear of vomit shouldn’t be so debilitating, but it’s when the fear is about any threat of vomit, that’s when you start to see it’s a serious problem.