Anguish, emotional torment, stress, constant worries


Being nauseated all day and vomiting can be the symptom of some psychological conflict. Emotions look for escape valves, and it is often the body that manifests these mental knots. We analyze it.

Anxiety, emotional suffering, stress, constant worries ... Psychogenic vomiting is the result of various psychological disorders . However, for the medical community this fact remains, in many cases, a challenge. There are people who, without presenting any organic cause that justifies these constant nausea, can reach very serious states of dehydration.

These are complex situations that require the attention of various specialists : psychiatrists, psychologists, gastroenterologists ... We are not facing a clinical condition that exclusively affects women with eating disorders . Psychogenic vomiting can appear in the elderly and, more frequently, in children.

The first time this problem was described was in 1960 . Often, health professionals were faced with situations that they did not know how to treat and that, in many cases, could end in death. For older patients, uncontrollable nausea and dehydration pose a serious health risk.

The first to give evidence to the medical community of this type of realities were geriatric psychiatrists. However, over the years the spotlight was placed on younger women. Let's find out more information below.

Psychogenic vomiting: origin, causes, people affected and treatment

Psychogenic vomiting is a rare medical condition that causes nausea, severe and recurrent vomiting without an underlying organic cause to explain it. So far, various medical treatments have been tried to reduce the effect, but the results are usually not satisfactory.

On average, the only strategy that works is psychological therapy sometimes combined with the administration of psychotropic drugs . It should be noted that, in recent years, research on this condition has increased. Thus, works , such as that of the Department of Psychosomatic Medicine at the University of Kyushu (Japan), explain what are the causes behind this exhausting situation.

Major depression

A good part of the patients who have been admitted with a manifestation of psychogenic vomiting presented an undiagnosed major depression . They are people who show evident psychosomatic symptoms and who have not sought psychological help for months or years.

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders have a very wide spectrum of physical manifestations. Thus, headaches, digestive disorders, muscle pain and even skin disorders are very common.

Therefore, a small part of the patients with some anxiety problem (panic and agoraphobia disorders or generalized anxiety disorder) can show psychogenic vomiting.

Post-traumatic stress disorders

Having a past of mistreatment, having suffered abuse, suffering bullying or even workplace harassment, often occurs in certain cases with psychosomatic disorders. Compulsive vomiting is associated, above all, with traumatic childhoods .

Conversion disorder

Conversion or dissociative disorders usually show signs of neurological origin without an illness or physical cause to explain it. They occur with memory loss, inability to move any limb and also with nausea and vomiting.

Eating disorders

As we noted at the beginning, it is common to believe that psychogenic vomiting is an exclusive characteristic of young women with eating disorders. Now, we know that this group is not the only one. However, yes, it is a prototypical manifestation in people with bulimia .

Also note that in many cases it is not voluntary. Sometimes it is a compulsive and uncontrollable response that the patient cannot master but that nevertheless continues to respond to a psychological origin.

Psychogenic vomiting, very common in children and the elderly

Both children and the elderly suffer from this type of condition and, on average, they are usually the most affected and also show a greater risk to their health. Behind it, there is often psychosocial stress, emotional distress, temper tantrums in children, and depression in older adults .

They are situations that cannot and should not go unnoticed. It is important that they receive specialized health care urgently . Psychologists and psychiatrists are the professionals who will offer the best response to these situations. Failure to respond quickly can lead to serious cases of dehydration.

How are psychogenic vomiting treated?

The main strategy to deal with this type of psychophysiological conditions is to treat the symptom and the person as a whole. The symptom can not be neglected because it can lead the patient to dangerous situations but the essential thing is to attend to the psychological reality of the person.

The type of therapy will be based on the needs of each patient. Treating a person with a dissociative disorder is not the same as treating a child who is bullied at school or a young woman with bulimia. We must take into account the unique realities of each person, if we are dealing with an elderly person with major depression, for example, we will also need family collaboration, as well as their GP.

Stress and anxiety management techniques, cognitive restructuring, boosting self-esteem and enabling relaxation and emotional management resources are usually the most important points. In any case, and to conclude, let's remember that emotional conflicts and mental problems always have an impact on our body .

Psychogenic vomiting is an example of this.

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