Fear of Puking - have your heard of such a thing?

Had a nice dinner with my little girl (she’s 27). She told me of two people she knows who have a fear of puking. One absolutely abhors seeing someone puking. It’s not the sight of the puke itself, it’s the sight of the person puking that really bothers her. If she sees it, she has to leave right away or it really bothers her. The other (also an a dult female) gets the willies and heebie-jeebies if she hears a person puking. Not the sight of the puking event, but the sound of it.

Have you heard of such a thing? Might there even be a word for it? If there is, I’m confident our Doper community would know. OK… a googling just now turns up emetophobia, great, there is such a word. And an SDMB search on emetophobia yields 18 threads. Wow.

Anyway I’ve never heard of that before. How many of you have? Or have not?

Gag me.

I’ve heard of (and suffered from) Sympathy Pukes. Being in proximity of a puker bringing up the need to join in.

Fear, no. But I’m not really fond of watching people puke.

Watching (or listening) to someone puke is pretty low on my list of fun things to do. I suppose I’ve hung out and comforted people who were sick, so I don’t have that phobia. And I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of it before. But it seems like an obvious phobia, and I’d be surprised if it weren’t a thing. Puking is much nastier than, say, bleeding, and it’s pretty common for people to be sickened by the sight of blood.

If someone in a movie pukes, I stop watching till they’re done. Decapitation, torture, knife in the old eyeball, etc I watch.

I had this as a child - maybe 8 or 9 years old? I was terrified of being sick, thinking I would gag to death or something, and wouldn’t ever stay over with friends in case I was sick. I would ask my parents every night if I was going to be sick in the night.

I think it stemmed from the fact that I wasn’t ill often as a child - puking-sick maybe every 2 years, when it would be a whole night of it, so my memories of being sick were really bad.

Of course, eventually, I WAS sick in the night, and surviving that sort of made me get over my phobia.

Still loath it though.

Yes, it’s called emetophobia and I’ve had it since I was a kid. The fact that I’m posting in this thread is significant progress, but I’m wildly uncomfortable doing it. Even seeing the thread titles of the two threads on this subject are upsetting me every time I come to the boards, but at least it’s not causing panic attacks like it would have in the past.

You could get her a couple of nice movie DVDs to take her mind off this phobia.

Like “Eight Million Ways To Die” (for the scene where Rosanna Arquette barfs all over Nick Nolte) or “The Caine Mutiny” (where a new naval officer is forced to climb the mast, gets sick to his stomach and is given a fellow officer’s cap to puke in).

Think of it as desensitization therapy.

*Or just take her to Chipotle.

One of the persons is her new roommate. My wife and I want to meet her over dinner.

Halfway through dinner I was thinking of suddenly saying, Oh I think I’m gonna be sick, and fake some gagging convulsions.

My niece has this same phobia – she can’t stand the idea of someone vomiting.

When I used to puke, I really used to retch utterly uncontrollably, to the point where I was gasping for air and struggling, the pain was absolutely awful, I’d usually end up on the floor drenched in sweat and totally exhausted, it was like having someone setting a switch inside me to retch.

I’ve had heavy impacts to my guts - none was ever as bad as that retching, no punch could ever hurt as much

After that I would be knotted up inside and it would be sore for days afterwards - and it really didn’t matter what the cause of it was.

I would describe it as traumatic, used to feel like I was completely ripping apart inside.

That is not a phobia at all, if I ever felt ill I would dread the prospect of actually having to throw up - phobias are generally irrational fears, but the sheer pain of vomiting to me was very real, and fear of it was a perfectly rational outlook

My daughter has this. Just the sound of someone coughing too hard will have her up and running out of the room.

This. Vomiting is a period of sustained, involuntary, extreme unpleasantness. I hate sticking my head so close to a toilet bowl, I hate having stomach contents pass through my mouth and nose, I hate the violence of the retching. Last time I threw up I developed a Mallory-Weiss tear and was spitting out disconcerting amounts of blood for a while afterward, prompting a trip to the ER to make sure I was going to be OK.

I can’t think of why I shouldn’t be afraid of such an experience.

I’ve heard it suggested that this is an evolved response: if all the apes in a troop have been eating the same contaminated food, and one of them vomits, the other apes have better survival odds if they barf right now instead of waiting for their food to make them feel sick too.

Sounds absolutely awful, I cannot imagine the pain and discomfort, and dread of future bouts. I am sorry you have this, and – not wanting to rub it in, am being sympathetic here – am grateful I do not.

You’re either a good dad, or a really BAD dad…

I am both, at the same time.

Aren’t we all?

This is not merely a fear of having to throw up yourself. It’s an adverse reaction to being in proximity to anyone who is throwing up. It was very awkward to have this phobia while on the college party scene. Likewise, to have this phobia when volunteering as an EMT. Essentially, when I see a person throw up (or see puke, or hear it, etc.), I have a physical reaction of breathing more rapidly, increased heart rate, etc. It also makes it hard for me to think rationally. This one time, I was EMT on scene where a person had just puked, and right after he puked I was asked to take his pulse. I was so thrown by the experience that I couldn’t focus or even remember how to take a pulse, so I asked someone else to do it and walked away to compose myself.

Interestingly, it was also being an EMT that enabled me to make significant progress with this phobia. When I would run away and relegate the duties to someone else, I did. When I was in college and a friend threw up, they would warn me not to walk into the room, because my friends knew how much it freaked me out. But when I was the only EMT on-scene, and a woman who had just puked came up to me asking for help, I had to straighten up. I had to, I was representing the department, and what worse way to represent the department than to run away screaming when a patient comes to you for help? So, in July 2013, I cleaned puke off a stranger’s face. One of the proudest moments of my life, knowing what I had overcome to do that.

For me, anything but a nosebleed. Oh, and as The Wrestler taught me, deli meat slicer.


I knew there were people afraid to throw up, but I thought that was all there was to it.