Medical Definition of Emetophobia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Emetophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of vomiting. Sufferers of emetophobia experience undue anxiety even though they realize their fear is irrational. They usually are especially worried about vomiting in public and embarrassing themselves. Consequently, they often avoid office meetings, banquets, dances and other social gatherings. The anxiety produced by this phobia can cause stomach "butterflies" and nausea.

"Emetophobia" is derived from the Greek word "emetos" (vomiting) and "phobos" (fear). Related English words include "emesis" (vomiting), "emetic" (that which induces vomiting, such as the syrup of ipecac used to bring up poisons) and "emetology" (the study of vomiting).

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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