How To Help My Daughter With Emetophobia

Written by Jim Folk
Last updated March 27, 2021

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

Complete 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 could 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.

As well as helping your daughter uncover and address those core fears, an experienced therapist can also support her as she works to overcome emetophobia. Extinguishing fears often takes time and effort. Having support along the way is invaluable to the entire process.

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, 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.

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.

NOTE: Due to the many variables involved with the development of a fear of throwing up, it’s unrealistic to provide a “one-size-fits-all” step-by-step approach to overcoming emetophobia. Most fears, including this one, have deeper roots that are best addressed with the help of a professional anxiety disorder therapist.

Recovery Support members can read more about the many underlying factors and fears that cause issues with anxiety in chapters 5, 6, 7, and 14.

The combination of good self-help information and working with an experienced anxiety disorder therapist, coach, or counselor is the most effective way to address anxiety and its many symptoms. Until the core causes of anxiety are addressed – which we call the underlying factors of anxiety – a struggle with anxiety unwellness can return again and again. Dealing with the underlying factors of anxiety is the best way to address problematic anxiety.

Additional Resources

Return to our Anxiety Frequent Questions archive.

anxietycentre.com: Information, support, and therapy for anxiety disorder and its symptoms, including how to help my daughter with emetophobia.