Overcome Your Fear of Bacteria and Germs

The Fear of Bacteria: What You Need to Know if You Struggle With Emetophobia

If you suffer from a fear of bacteria because you are afraid that germs will make you sick and cause you to throw up, you may suffer from an anxiety disorder known as emetophobia. This intense fear, which is technically a phobia, will cause you to worry about vomiting constantly. You may actually become so worried about vomiting that you will arrange your life around your phobia. While people who suffer from emetophobia worry about vomiting constantly, it is interesting to note that most of them have not done so in years. As with most phobias, experts agree that a single traumatic event can trigger the intense fear of vomiting. Many people who have emetophobia develop it after a bad bout of stomach flu or after watching someone else vomit.

Emetophobia and a fear of bacteria can be triggered in any person at any age. If you suffer from a fear of bacteria and of vomiting, you will probably develop a set of behavioral patterns that allow you to circumvent this fear in everyday life. Your attitude toward food, travel, and routine social functions will change greatly. While many people develop coping mechanisms that make it possible for them to function in everyday life, the fear is deeply rooted. You will not take charge of your life until you begin seeking therapy for your phobia.

What Is Emetophobia?

While Emetophobia is the intense fear of vomiting, it is common for the person who suffers from the phobia to be afraid of other things as well.  A fear of bacteria is a common trait in emetophobics. After all, bacteria can cause illness and illness can cause vomiting.  The fear of bacteria is known as bacteriophobia, and can often manifest itself as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Someone who washes her food thoroughly and in a ritualized manner might be exhibiting an OCD-type behavior, which helps her to manage her fears. Cibophobia, the fear of food, is another common complication of emetophobia. These fears can combine, causing a person to suffer from anorexia nervosa.

People who suffer from emetophobia may harbor other intense fears. Because emetophobics fear losing control or suffer from public humiliation from vomiting, they can often exhibit social anxiety disorder or agoraphobia. These fears can make it difficult for them to hold a job or have normal social contact. Emetophobics who are high functioning may be able to work around the phobia and lead a fairly routine existence, but they might avoid social engagements where alcohol may be served. Or they may avoid dining out, for fear of food contamination and food poisoning.  Emetophobics generally avoid being around or taking care of small children as well.  According to an Internet survey conducted by Dr. Lipsitz et al, many women who suffer from emetophobia decide to put off pregnancy or avoid it completely because of the fear of morning sickness.

These fears, contrary to popular misconception, are not passing whims. They are deep rooted and cannot simply be “turned off” by the person who suffers from them. In fact, many people who suffer from emetophobia are so constantly worried about vomiting that they develop GI problems and nausea – which feeds a vicious cycle of fear of vomiting and feeling nauseated.  People avoid travel to keep from experiencing motion sickness and avoid social gatherings for fear of public humiliation.

Causes and Treatments of Emetophobia

Experts are not sure what causes emetophobia in some people but not in others. Dr. Angela L. Davidson, et al recently published a study that indicated that emetophobia is more common in personality types that are afraid of losing control. In other words, it might be possible that people who have emetophobia aren’t as worried about throwing up as they are deeply ashamed of losing control over their bodies.  Therefore, the coping strategies they develop may seem like a way of controlling the phobia. But in fact, the illness has taken control over their lives.

Emetophobia is commonly treated in three ways: exposure therapy, medication, and self-help techniques that promote relaxation. Exposure therapy involves exposing a patient to the very situation he fears in a controlled environment.  For emetophobics, this usually means watching a movie of people throwing up so that, in time, they become desensitized and no longer fear the act of vomiting. While exposure therapy has shown some promise in some patients, it has limited means of helping, as few patients willingly volunteer for this kind of therapy. Drug therapy, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, can be helpful as well. However, studies show that emetophobics are unlikely to take medication because of the fear that it will trigger nausea and vomiting.

Therefore, of the three types of treatment available, self-help therapy is proving to be the most successful in treating those with emetophobia.

Benefits of Self-Help Therapy for Emetophobia

Any discussion of self-help therapy for emetophobia must begin with a simple warning. If you are suffering from anorexia, you should not treat the problem on your own. Anorexia nervosa is a serious illness that can be fatal. If you have anorexia, you should consult with a qualified physician who can begin helping you on the road to recovery.

If you do not suffer from anorexia, a self-help program can help you treat the anxiety that is caused by emetophobia and a fear of bacteria. With self-help, you can learn relaxation techniques that are designed to calm the panic response in your body and in your mind. Yoga, meditation, visualization, and breathing exercises can all help stop a panic attack, or they can be used to reduce the overall amount of stress in your life, which can also reduce the number of panic attacks you experience. You can choose which techniques work best for you and then implement just those techniques, while discarding the ones that aren’t as effective.

Self-help is also much more affordable than traditional therapy. In fact, you can purchase an entire self-help regimen for the same cost as one hour of traditional therapy. Self-help has the additional benefit of being a completely private type of therapy. No insurance companies are involved; therefore no one has to know that you are recovering from a phobia – unless you decide to share your progress with others.

Self-help treatment will give you the skills you need to handle anxiety and conquer your fears of bacteria and vomiting. If you are ready to end your struggle with emetophobia, you should consider a self-help treatment program.

Our Recommendations

The resource we suggest for the fear of bacteria with underlying emetophobia  is the Emetophobia Recovery System.  It does NOT recommend forcing vomiting as a means of desensitization, but instead focuses on both traditional and breakthrough techniques for conquering the fear.  It has been in use for a long time, and has a very good reputation, and even offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  If you decide to order, we will be compensated, but we believe it’s truly the best program for emetophobia available and should be on the bookshelf of ANYONE suffering with emetophobia.

Although the fear of bacteria up can be an extremely challenging phobia to endure, we’re fortunate to have high quality treatment options to use during the path of recovery.  Your fear doesn’t have to be a condition you live with or accommodate, it can be successfully overcome.  If you desire to end your fear of bacteria, it is not too late to take back control and start in the road to recovery.

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