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How do you stop the urge to make yourself throw up?

10 Answers
Last Updated: 11/25/2020 at 3:05pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
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Jui Shankar, Ph.D


My worldview offers a systems perspective that values diverse clients and their struggles. I believe supportive and nonjudgmental therapeutic relationships empower clients.

Top Rated Answers
January 2nd, 2018 11:19pm
As a recovered bulimic, I recognize this specific pain. When you feel the urge to make yourself throw up, ask yourself how you're feeling. Did you have a good day? Did somebody say something that triggered you? Do you just feel uncomfortable after a meal? If you are following a meal plan by your doctor, try your hardest to trust the process and know that your recovery team does not want to make you unhealthy. If you don't have a recovery team or meal plan, I highly suggest seeking professional help. Self-induced vomiting can lead to serious consequences if left untreated. You are doing a fantastic job by seeking new perspectives on this forum! If you really feel the urge to throw up, you can also: -Go on a long walk (ask your recovery team about this one if you feel it is necessary) -Ask a close family member or friend or one of us listeners to help distract you in a fun, healthy, and productive way by means of conversation or games that require cognitive effort! Puzzles and board games are a great help. Us listeners are also here to help you clarify what you're truly feeling. -Personally, I put post-it notes of positive affirmations all over my bathroom and especially on the toilet seat. When you're about to act on your eating disorder, it can be beneficial to have something positive staring right at you as a reminder that what you're feeling does not define you as a person or physical entity. You are unique, loved, and appreciated. Your body is your vehicle, it does not define your spirit or your character.
July 6th, 2015 8:31pm
Try resisting the urge for 5 mins, and then if you manage, try another 5 mins...and then another. The urge usually passes with time. During those 5 mins, try to distract yourself with something, like talking to someone, or playing a game, reading, tidying etc. I hope this helps. Good luck!
June 17th, 2015 5:28am
Distractions that are healthy for you, and the support of friends and family could both help. You might also consider talking with a Doctor, and/or working with a therapist or counselor.
April 6th, 2015 4:29am
when my eating disorder was at it worst, the urge was always there but I had two or three good friends that would on a regular basis follow me into the bathroom and sit with me until I could breathe through it and carry on doing an activity that took my mind off of the idea of vomiting. You know I have for the most part dealt with my eating disorder over 15 years ago and if I over eat I still have the urge to throw up.
Anonymous - Expert in Eating Disorder
May 26th, 2015 8:11pm
If you're feeling like you want to make yourself throw up, start painting or reading, also go to walk, run a bit, do some relaxing exercises.
November 25th, 2020 3:05pm
There are many possible reasons why you may experience the urge to throw up. Some common causes include a stomach bug, food poisoning, pregnancy, and a side effect of surgery or motion sickness when in a car, boat or even airplane. While other more serious health conditions such as bulimia, extreme substance abuse or a heart attack can also cause nausea and vomiting. Bulimia is a self-imposed eating disorder, where sufferers stick their finger down their throat to induce vomiting by triggering their gag reflex. Sufferers can also have a tendency to use laxatives, as the main objective is to rid the body of food before it can be digested to control their weight. This may result in a cycle of this behavior - Bulimia is a very serious condition and can be life-threatening. People suffering from bulimia should seek treatment with a medical health worker experienced in eating disorders. It is normal for children to vomit occasionally, with the most common cause being gastroenteritis which is an infection of the gut or digestive tract usually caused by a virus or bacteria. This generally lasts no longer than a couple of days, however, if symptoms last longer you should immediately contact your doctor. When you feel the need to vomit – it is most often your stomach in distress. A trigger in your brain may pick up the point that something is not right – and signals something is abnormal in your gut leading the body to vomit. Strong smells can also trigger your gag reflex. To try to stop vomiting there are several things you can try. Deep breathing through your nose and mouth may help to calm anxiety and also activates the parasympathetic nervous system, eating bland foods and sipping on a warm ginger or herbal tea or ginger tea ale soda or ginger candy and there are also several over-the-counter medications that may help. Some are designed to help meet the needs of kids. Habits such as regularly changing your toothbrush, or elevating your head when sleeping might help too. There are many articles written and published case studies on vomiting and nausea that offer advice and tips on how to manage this condition. Researchers have many different methods and advice that can help you better understand causes and treatments to help get your life back on track. It can help to change your habits and continue to seek medical help and services until this problem/condition is resolved as in some instances, this might take time.
June 16th, 2015 11:58pm
Depends on the individual. One step is accepting that feeling and watching is simply pass by. A second, something I've done, is drink Coca Cola
April 8th, 2015 6:25pm
You should call someone or engage in a different activity that gives you pleasure instead. Read a book, drink tea, do something to take your mind off of it.
May 17th, 2020 2:08pm
This is a really great question. First of all, I'm glad that you want to stop the urge to throw up. In order to stop the urge, we need to be able to recognise what causes it. Do you get the urge to throw up after you've eaten when you're feeling certain emotions like fear, stress, or sadness, or do you feel an urge to throw up because you feel like you've lost control? Recognising the thought patterns surrounding your purging is very difficult, so if this seems too hard right now it might be a good idea to focus on distraction techniques instead. For example, do an activity for five minutes to see if the urge to purge passes.
January 15th, 2018 7:37am
Distractions are a great tool. If you can find a healthy way to refocus your thoughts at that moment you want to throw up then slowly over time it will become a lesser occurrence. For example if you feel the need to throw up go walk around the block a few times, call a friend or paint what you are feeling at that moment.