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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2012

    Default Is Exposure Therapy the ONLY Way?

    I keep hearing that phobias are highly treatable & respond well to therapy...but I just can't see myself doing exposure therapy even with a great therapist. I have somewhat of a photographic memory with intrusive thoughts & images that pop into my head at random times & ruin my day. Things that happened years or decades ago, so the idea of adding more terrifying images to my memory bank seems like a horrifically bad idea. I've also read horror stories about exposure therapy that went wrong--situations where a therapist gave a client ipecac & he fought back vomiting for hours, retching loudly into the toilet but never throwing up (though the therapist was so sickened by it that she DID v* once she got home!)

    Even with heroin or barbiturates (which therapists obviously don't use), I couldn't see myself being able to expose myself to images, videos or sound bites of someone getting sick...even gradually and with relaxation techniques. Is there ANY other method of therapy for emetophobia that works? This is something I've struggled with since age 2. It's a reflexive physical reaction at this point. I hear coughing/gagging sounds & my heart sinks & begins to pound immediately before my mind even registers what's happening. It's so deeply ingrained I fear it's a part of my DNA. This phobia runs in my family to a crazy extent that I've never even heard of before. Realistically I just don't see exposure therapy doing anything but adding to my memory bank of triggering images. I have Asperger's so my autonomic nervous system has a super hard time calming back down once it's triggered. I make myself physically sick (diarrhea, cold sweats, nausea, trembling, retching) when someone around me is sick.

    Just curious. I'm 33 & have been ruled by this my whole life. It's gotten much worse with time, not better. I had other phobias as a kid but they all went away.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    United States

    Default Re: Is Exposure Therapy the ONLY Way?

    Aspie, I suggest you read the cure stories on my web site: http://emetophobia.scienceontheweb.net

    People have gotten cured by some different ways.
    To learn more about emetophobia, see
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2014

    Default Re: Is Exposure Therapy the ONLY Way?

    The thrive program has a book 'Cure your Emetophobia and Thrive'. It claims to have cured lots of people with no exposure.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2017

    Default Re: Is Exposure Therapy the ONLY Way?

    Exposure is a way of helping people with emetophobia. It is an under-researched area, but it has showed to have some effectiveness.



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