Psychogenic vomiting: features of the disorder, treatment

Nausea or vomiting are symptoms of many diseases. Sometimes the accession of such symptomatology indicates that there is a deterioration in health. But more often, uncontrolled release of stomach contents is considered an independent nosology, which is included in the list of psychological disorders that require urgent correction. As a rule, psychogenic nausea or vomiting is the result of experienced stress, conflict, which are accompanied by anxiety and even fear. Sometimes it is hereditary.


  1. Features of the disorder.
  2. Causes.
  3. Symptoms.
  4. Ways of treatment.
  5. Complications.

Features of the disorder

Psychogenic vomiting is a pathology that is identified in emotionally labile patients. Typical symptoms are nausea, turning into uncontrolled emptying of the contents of the digestive tube. This usually occurs against a background of nervous shock or anxiety, passes on its own as soon as the negative emotions go away. In other words, such reactions from the digestive system are very stable and have a reflex nature – it is a kind of mental reaction to the environment.

Today, it is believed that this eating disorder can be detected in any adult, however, there is a special risk group associated with it. These are:

  • patients with neuropsychiatric disorders;
  • women under 40;
  • patients with digestive disorders;
  • adolescents.

As usual, behavioral eating disorder patients are unaware of the seriousness of the problem, miss alarming symptoms, and neglect treatment, becoming accustomed to occasional vomiting, considering it the norm of everyday life. But such carelessness provokes a sharp deterioration in health.


Triggers of the pathological condition are the body’s response to stress due to increased excitability of the brain. It is worth emphasizing that vomiting of a neurogenic nature is episodic, and its frequency and abundance are correlated with a particular case.

The main reasons are the following:

  • high anxiety, for example, on the eve of some important event;
  • a reaction to a memory;
  • a response to a stressful situation or conflict;
  • uncontrollable nausea of neurogenic nature during exacerbation of psychosis.

Vomiting in the morning, even before breakfast, is considered to be a distinctive feature of the pathology. As the disease progresses and becomes more severe, nausea and vomiting become frequent. If these symptoms are associated with bulimia, that is, provoked artificially, gastric emptying is spontaneous. During the body’s encounter with emotional overload, the brain generates a signal that the body is ready to resist. The presence of a nervous disorder in patients provokes an erroneous reaction.


Clinical signs of the pathology include:

  • hyperhidrosis due to active sweat glands;
  • asthenia: weakness, apathy, lack of physical strength;
  • tachycardia;
  • increased nervousness;
  • hypotension.

For all this, the nervous system responds inadequately to familiar, in general, things, routine situations, which in the normal state do not cause the body anything at all. It is interesting that as soon as the stress ends, the patient returns to normal, the psychogenic nausea recedes, often replaced by an increased sense of hunger.

Methods of treatment

The approach to the correction of psychogenic vomiting is complex. Since long-standing pathology negatively affects metabolic processes, reducing extracellular fluid volume, patients develop alkalosis, hypokalemia, nycturia and other life-threatening conditions.

Thus, treatment should be approached responsibly. Use:

  • medications;
  • psychotherapeutic techniques;
  • diet therapy with a balanced menu and sufficient calories;
  • development of normal eating habits;
  • the recruitment of extra pounds under the supervision of a fitness trainer and nutritionist;
  • treatment of concomitant pathologies.


Despite the seriousness of the pathological condition, refusal of therapy for a long time is fraught with serious complications. Among them, the most dangerous are pain behind the sternum, internal bleeding in the digestive tube, and metabolic disorders. The presence of the above symptoms becomes a reason for emergency hospitalization. The success of treatment of the pathology is correlated with the timeliness of the visit to the doctor and the accuracy of diagnosis.

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