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How To Help My 15-Year-Old Daughter Who Is Afraid Of Throwing Up?

Jim Folk author
Written by: Jim Folk.
Last updated: November 26, 2019


Question

I am writing for my daughter, who is 15. She has a phobia of throwing up. I've been working with several therapists, but I really want to nip it.  We are constantly reassuring her that it will be ok if she does throw up, but she lives with the fear every day. Your web site was highly recommended. I'll await your response.

Answer

We have a section on "Overcoming A Fear Of Vomiting" in the Recovery Support area of our website that you might find helpful. You might want to read it with your daughter and talk about using that information to help her overcome her fear. You can find that section in Chapter 6.

You might also want to connect your daughter with one of our recommended anxiety disorder therapists. A therapist can get to the core fears associated with your daughter’s fear of vomiting. Identifying and successfully addressing the core fear (or fears) can extinguish the fear of throwing up (emetophobia) once and for all.

Sometimes, multiple core fears need identifying and extinguishing before emetophobia is overcome. An experienced therapist can uncover and address those fears, as well as support her as she works to overcome her fear.

Moreover, some children respond to a therapist's help more readily than the help coming from a parent. Having your daughter work with a therapist can also prevent unnecessary parent/child relationship strain if the child feels like she is failing her parent by having difficulty overcoming this fear.

Having your daughter work with a therapist can also help her contain for herself rather than feeling like she has to rely on you to help her feel better. (Containing for our children robs them of the opportunity to learn this important skill for themselves, which often creates issues with anxiety.)

There are many benefits to having your daughter work with a therapist directly, especially since your daughter is showing signs of issues with anxiety. Dealing with those issues now can free her from problematic anxiety, which can benefit her for the rest of her life.

As you might already know, the sooner we deal with our anxiety issues, the better off we are. Successfully addressing problematic anxiety in early adolescence is the best time to address anxiety issues, since the longer we struggle with anxiety, the more complicated it often becomes.

Last, teenagers are usually keeners, meaning they are typically eager to learn, and therefore, learn quickly. Adopting healthy behavior now can have a profound impact on not only your daughter’s personal life but also on her relationships and education (anxiety often causes problems with relationships and educational achievement).

Again, addressing her anxiety issues now would be the best course of action.

Rae Harwood and Marie Filion are trained and experienced in working with adolescents and anxiety.



The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist is the most effective way to address anxiety disorder and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed - the underlying factors that motivate apprehensive behavior - a struggle with anxiety disorder can return again and again. Identifying and successfully addressing anxiety's underlying factors is the best way to overcome problematic anxiety.


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