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Child with Anxiety of Vomitting
debi0625 posted:
My 11 year old has been battling anxiety of throwing up since she was 8. I have had her in and out of therapy where she shows some signs of improvement. However, every time a virus breaks out and it affects our household, she goes into a tailspin. It is affecting her performance in her sports, social life and our family life. What can I do to help her lead a happy life free of this disorder?
Reid Wilson, PhD responded:
Hey, debi0625-
When dealing with a vomit phobia, most parents try to convince their children that they won't throw up, or they get sucked into doing things to minimize the chances. The problem with this approach? Almost everybody throws up at some point, it's usually unexpected, and it's most certainly uncomfortable and gross. Your daughter needs to accept that she probably WILL vomit, or see vomit, that it WILL be gross, but she'll get through it. Vomit is gross! But it happens, and she'll survive. When her goal is to avoid, her world will continue to get smaller, as you've already experienced. Step one: instead of focusing on NOT throwing up, she must learn to tell herself that she might, but she'll handle it. Seek out a treatment approach that helps your child gain confidence in her ability to handle something that frightens her, rather than teaching her how to avoid it or minimize it.

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