How To Understand Anorexia and Emetophobia

Anorexia and Emetophobia are two conditions, often with much in common. Here I seek to help understand and maybe ameliorate some suffering of both. *There are some 'triggers' here.

The tragic mistake, nearly always made with anorexia and often, emetophobia too, is trying to overly 'control' people who suffer from these terrifying conditions, and too often to regard these souls as generally 'defective', which clearly proves to bring them nothing but more harm and suffering.

I'm sad, sick and tired of hearing of young people dying from Anorexia.

Although a measure of patients have recovered from both conditions mentioned here, using traditional methodology and known models of applied psychology, the majority of sufferers appear to have not recovered at all, and we need to ask why that is.

These sufferers strive for identity and wish to be known for who they truly are. They often feel incredibly stifled, often by less intelligent people, and so unconsciously mask their 'natural self' with the 'acceptable' anorexia.

Usually, these problems arise from overly controlling parents, who may seem loving, but whom have been too oppressive or over-protective, which is very sad and usually absolutely unintentional, though it is most often true. In order to save life here, telling the truth about anorexia (and similar conditions) is vital for us to understand as we seek to cure this.

Therapy so far, seems to have a very high FAIL rate.

To help people with anorexia, I'd totally ignore the eating habit (add a good vitamin & Mineral supplement and DO see a Holistic GP/Nutritionist) and get to know THE REST of the character of the person here, do NOT focus on 'the flaw'. To focus on the 'flaw' of someones' character is gravely humiliating and erroneous, it can usually only inflame the problem and enhance it, as the victim, feeling undermined to the core, fights desperately for identity of the very 'self'- that means, they are fighting for their very life when you challenge them incorrectly!

If feeding through a tube is necessary, then do it, but refuse to indulge in discussing food/diet issues. Give food that's requested or wanted, within reason, even if it's not great food, good diet naturally alters with insight and maturity.

Emotionally intelligent people learn to cope and survive, others may not. Being harsh, does not equal 'maturity' - self-knowledge, can do.

A potential cure, is insight itself, that can be acquired only from within, and so encouraging creativity and respecting privacy, are not to be underestimated, in any event.

Blaming or punishing parents/siblings is not a good idea either. Encouraging independence in all, is.

These clients feel thoroughly violated through intrusive therapies and from worried families, and the anorexia serves as a veil of 'protection' from the world.

This client is not an animal in a zoo for you to gawp at or prod for your amusement or 'learning skills' - they are not for you to profit from either - neither emotionally or otherwise- and only someone who can claim they have cured an anorexic, could claim any 'superior' knowledge !

Anorexics are the only people who can cure anorexics.

I played an anorexic in a BBC TV series called 'Angels' - I appeared in four episodes. It was quite a feat for me, as I was pretty sick myself at the time.

I was chosen as I was very thin and some nurse or somebody medical- even diagnosed ME as an actual anorexic. I had no issue at all with weight, though, I did however, have a phobia about vomiting, and that is called 'emetophobia'. Fear of being sick. That meant I didn't eat very much at all. I took lots of antacid stuff too, that all made me feel very weak and generally disabled. I knew nothing of hormones/blood sugar or anything at all about the dynamics of anxiety, habits or nutrition.

The 'anorexia' played havoc with my hormones and by not eating properly, I was causing myself to be unbalanced, very weak and in a permanent state of fear and worry. Poor nutrition CAN do that!

Emetophobia is one of the most widespread phobias suffered in the world. It's a 'social' phobia and is terribly difficult to treat, as 'exposure therapy' generally doesn't work, when on most other phobias, gentle and gradual exposure therapy (or 'flooding') along with CBT - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - with diet change (to remove all sugar and other stimulants) - CAN massively ease anxiety - simply by utilizing a great diet - that is; free from processed sugar and stimulants and incorporating fresh fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables daily.

Natural antidepressants also include getting creative, using art and writing, using exercise, dancing/walking (in order to 'burn-off hormones' and to give you a mild cardio at least three times a week to start) and ,of course, building self-esteem.

I recommend some favourite self-help experts such as Louise L.Hay, Susan Jeffers and Wayne Dyer. There are also some really great experts right here at

Emetophobia isn't well understood and can be unique to each sufferer, meaning that for some, it's fine to see other people being ill - but not themselves! Some feel they would rather die than hear someone belch (!) but most are OK if they can cope with planning healthy pregnancy and babies but - generally it is unwise to have children if you suffer phobias and if you are already a parent, be aware you need to lose those phobias or your kids are very likely to suffer very badly from them too. Terror and living a life in fear makes people pretty selfish, no matter how nice the 'rest' of you is. Fear needs to be understood and treated properly, with lots of respect and with care, exercising caution, you can be 'challenging the life' of a person when you challenge their beliefs.

Some of these emotional conditions come about from trauma, or even *perceived trauma* in childhood. It's why it is a good idea never to shout at or scare little children, not even in jest. 'Toughening kids up' usually comes naturally at the right age, through peers - parental pushing of things usually only has a horribly negative effect that can often disable or scar a child for life.

Encourage the 'wanted' behaviors in your children, the good things, and work on your ability to ignore/extinguish negative behaviors. This means rewarding people when they behave well and ignoring them when they are not. See a Behavior Therapist.

I used to train psychology graduates in Behavioral Modification, they are generally, fairly efficient people.

Always listen to little children, give them plenty of time to talk and really listen to what's going on with them. Spending time with your kids, just to listen and talk, is actually vital in order to produce healthy and inquiring minds.

Encourage creativity and independence where possible
but try never to push - you could be interfering with natures' intentions - your kids are born with some bedrock core differences in their unique DNA and are born with an identity that you need to allow to blossom into the unique 'orchid' they will be!

Emetophobia is very difficult as nobody (I know) likes to vomit, and many people feel it is the worst thing that could ever happen to them, and would rather tolerate massive amounts of physical pain than have an operation they may need as that may cause them to be ill from medication (!) So let's hope, maybe there is a pill somewhere in the making (DEAR 'big pharma'?) that can change that bad vibe in order to free-up this truly dire phobia?

A brave lady I knew tried 'exposure' eleven times (as had been advised by her dad, ex armed-forces) and was left in a state of desolation and despair as none of the fear had gone! She remained agoraphobic and depressed, in utter hopelessness of not being understood and with no hope of relief happening in the near future - she 'accumulated' SEVERE PTSD in an effort to not be seen as her 'label' alone - 'a defect' - and this frustration at not being understood, can also can happen A LOT - with Anorexia.

Not encouraging news but the truth must be told, we need a cure for emetophobia too, and not one psychiatrist on earth, to my knowledge, can claim any success so far, not in this regard.

My baby used to get sick now and again and once I was bouncing him in the air and he puked in my face, it was hilarious and it never occurred to me to be afraid of baby-sick! It's kinda yuck, but it's also funny and natural. So, maybe not all phobic parents are bad parents if the phobia can be 'masked' and isn't too severe?

People who care and people who love you, or people who MATTER, wouldn't ever think less of anyone for having an upset stomach! If it annoys someone, good, throw up on their designer suit or shoes! Let them enjoy talking about your vom, what a lack of life they have!

I remember becoming a fan of Victoria Beckham and David Beckham, when on TV Victoria told the world she had become sick on an aircraft and David had sweetly cleaned her.
That's a truly loving, natural and secure couple. Victoria has also openly joked about the 'posing' and said in the press that they have a great laugh with the fashion thing - the fashion industry can be very humorous, and many designers are great fun due to that aspect of the art.

Others - maybe need more info on how superficiality can kill innocent young kids, surprisingly - lots of boys as well as girls.

I once helped my mum clean up a cousin who had been mugged in the street and who had 'lost his nerve' - poor guy - we hugged him, cried with him, got covered in the stinky mess he'd made in his pants (aged 40 plus) and we all got cleaned up together, washed the clothes in the bath - though we nearly gagged BUT LAUGHED at how foul it stank!

We're all just human - and sometimes maybe we are way, way too superficial.

Elizabeth Lucye Robillard

Author's Bio: 

Elizabeth Lucye Robillard was an actress, a political campaigner, a para-legal and now holds a certificate in Nutrition. Elizabeth is a consultant behaviorist and supports ACT Therapy incorporating 'mindful' meditation. Elizabeth is currently studying Herbalism and Addictions in order to practice as General Practitioner in holistic medicine.

Disclaimer: The entire contents of this article is based upon the opinions of the author, unless otherwise stated. The information on this page is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a medical professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended as a sharing of knowledge and information from the authors' own experience from community and health-based research.