Anxiety nausea is a nightmare, and it’s also very common! If you feel like you’re alone, just know that you’re not. It does not make you crazy! I had those thoughts when I was young because I thought I was the only person experiencing this.
So anxiety nausea – what is it? It’s feeling queasy or having the urge to throw up. It’s usually caused by fear, rather than an actual illness or disease. I remember asking the doctor ages ago why we experience this, and he said something like, when we get anxious, we get into this fight or flight mode, often blood rushes furiously away from the stomach into our hands and feet, leaving lots of acid running awry in your stomach and can cause you to feel very unwell. Sometimes when you experienced it once, you may find that you experience a bout of nausea at the same time every day. You may also find that symptoms are worse after you eat.
It can be extremely tough if you have anxiety with nausea. I personally am emetophobic as well, and I will go to any lengths to stop myself from throwing up because just the idea of it makes me freeze in absolute terror that feels worse than anything in the world. If you have emetophobia, you probably know what I’m talking about. So I have a few ways of helping yourself with these feelings.
1. Take Ginger Tablet or Ginger Root
Ginger is my go-to remedy as the first thing I take if I feel nauseous. Ginger seems to be made for the stomach. It often creates a very warm and nice feeling after you take it. Back when I was a teenager, I was just so tired of feeling nauseous all the time I decided to try ginger because the label said it helped ease travel sickness. To my surprise, it worked very well for me. There are so many ginger forms, and there are capsules (my absolute favorite), tablets (if you live in Australia, those seem to be more common), and chews/candy. I don’t take the candy as much because it’s sweet and sometimes it can make things worse, and the capsules can even be made by buying the ginger powder spice in the supermarket and some empty capsules. Most health stores should have some ginger.
So I usually take two capsules at once, because I find that one does not seem to work as well. Sometimes I even take three. What I try and do is take them without any water and try and swallow it, so it doesn’t go too far down. This seems to work much better than using water to swallow it down.
Try not to take ginger if you can taste it as sometimes the strong taste can make you feel more nauseous if you can’t stand it.
2. Watch what you’re Eating
Let me tell you a story. I had the worst nausea one morning, and I was not sure why. It just happened so suddenly, and I had the biggest urge to throw up. I did everything I could, I ended up almost doing it, but I was thankfully able to control it after heaving a couple of times. It got terrible when smells were strong or after I ate. It wasn’t until a week later I realized, it was the spirulina I had been taking that was making it worse. It’s a common symptom because you may have a bit of trouble digesting it. Sometimes, foods can be hard on your stomach and will clash with your anxiety. For me, foods such as dairy, extra spicy foods, cold salads, and such have all been major contributors to nausea.
3. Splash Cold Water on your Face
This can work more for panic attacks than nausea itself, and I suggest doing it after you take the ginger to control the physical symptoms of nausea. Sometimes, this works and other times, it may not. Sometimes, when nausea gets to the absolute worst stage, you will immediately find relief.
Cold water can trigger your heart to slow down, thinking you’re about to dive in the water for a long time. If your heart slows, sometimes you may find that your anxiety symptoms improve too. If that doesn’t work, try doing it again with ice water.
4. Concentrate on breathing and Tell yourself this will pass
When I’m anxious and having a panic breakdown, the last thing I want to hear is to try and relax and give yourself a real talk. It is hard, and it may not always work, but try and breathe in, hold your breath, and breath out. Try and think of something you love doing, or distracting yourself with something like reading. Sometimes, you may even find that someone trying to talk to you will make you feel a lot worse. I totally understand it.
The worst feeling is feeling alone and trapped in your fear, you’re shaking, and nobody seems to understand you. I totally get it. I’ve been there. That’s why if you feel alone, imagine big gentle warms wrapped around you telling you that you’re going to be okay and that this too, will pass.
5. Anti-nausea and other helpful Acupoints
There’s an acupoint called the Anti-vomiting point for people with nausea and motion sickness. It has worked with anxiety nausea as well but requires you to push down on it for a while before you can feel it working. There are also wristbands you can buy which constantly puts pressure on this spot, which you can try if you don’t want to keep pressing your hands.
Other helpful tips:
Sometimes, as an emetophobic, the triggers can be hearing that someone you knew, or your child, has got the vomiting bug. When my son had gastro, I thought I was going to die, not from the disease, but the fear. It was so intense I literally felt like I was getting a heart attack. But, as time went on, I got desensitized more and more, and it eventually passed. It was hard, almost impossible, but when I took him to the doctor, the doctor prescribed us with Zofran, which is very powerful anti-nausea and anti-vomiting medicine, it gave me so much hope!
One of the most interesting things I’ve read about emetophobia is that often, our willpower for not wanting to throw up is so strong that we don’t. Of course, that’s still unpleasant but please have hope, because having hope will help you feel a little better during the times of despair.
If you are suffering from extreme panic, please get some help! You can read my story here.
If you know you’re going to be in a situation where you’re likely going to get nauseous, such as any situation that makes you anxious, take ginger beforehand, don’t wait until you get sick.