Home / Lifestyle / Woman with vomiting fear would rather be shot than puke

Woman with vomiting fear would rather be shot than puke

A doctor coached Jessica Mellen as she attempted to make herself vomit to overcome her fear.ABC News

A doctor coached Jessica Mellen as she attempted to make herself vomit to overcome her fear.

A woman suffering from a fear of vomiting worked through months of therapy to make it to her wedding day.

Jessica Mellen, 29, one of the many women who struggle disproportionately with emetophobia, told ABC News that she learned to manage the phobia enough to say her vows last fall. She hopes that her treatment will cure her of her dread of morning sickness so she can have a child someday with her husband Marvin Graaf.

But even with a supportive companion who owns a Philadelphia restaurant with her, Mellen said the fear could complicate their marriage and lead to irrational decisions.

“If someone was like, ‘You can either be shot in the leg or throw up once,” I would be like, ‘just shoot me in the leg,’” she said in a Friday report on anxiety disorders on 20/20. “I would really pick that.”

Experts estimate that between 3.1% and 8.8% of the population shows at least a mild fear of vomit, according to a 2012 study published in the journal Mental Illness. Women are over four times as likely as men to suffer from the affliction, the report says.

“Emetophobics have a tendency to avoid a wide array of situations or activities that they believe might increase the risk of vomiting,” the study by a Danish researcher notes.

After Mellen explored but set aside the idea of enlisting a surrogate to avoid giving birth, she decided to pursue exposure therapy with a specialist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety.

Dr. Steven Tsao leads Mellen through five months of confronting her fears during the emotional segment, showing her videos of people puking, asking her to consume food she thinks could be unsafe and even parking her in front of a toilet with orders to make herself throw up.

Although Mellen gave up after an hour and a half of trying to puke, the doctor commended her on identifying a time when she had trouble breathing while being sick that’s the source of her fear and said she was on the path to recovery.

The emotional segment shows Mellen attempting to beat her fear of vomiting.ABC News

The emotional segment shows Mellen attempting to beat her fear of vomiting.

“The goal is that, all the anxiety that comes with throwing up – I want all that to go,” Tsao said in the report.

Mellen’s husband is committed to helping her get over the fear enough to have kids, he told ABC News.

“The more and more I realize that she is deathly afraid to throw up, the more it becomes like real for us, you know,” he said.

And despite both Mellen and her husband experiencing a brief panic from their nerves on their wedding day, the loving couple tied the knot.

“I just have to keep trying my best,” Mellen said. “It’s for me, and it’s for him and it’s for us.”

Follow on Twitter @tobysalkc

ON A MOBILE DEVICE? WATCH THE VIDEO HERE

tsalinger@nydailynews.com

This entry passed through the Full-Text RSS service – if this is your content and you’re reading it on someone else’s site, please read the FAQ at fivefilters.org/content-only/faq.php#publishers.

Lifestyle – NY Daily News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Read previous post:
Scientists precisely control gold-coated nanoparticles with lasers

Share This article Arguably, humans will soon become the first life-size nanotechnology built from the ground up to return the...

Close