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The Nature and Causes of Psychogenic Vomiting in Children

  • Post category:Disorders
  • Reading time:4 mins read

Physiological and Psychogenic Vomiting in Children

When a child is forced to eat and food is simply crammed into him, although he persistently resists crying and choking, it happens that he eventually regains everything that the educators put into him with great difficulty. There is vomiting, a biological reaction of the child’s body to a violent procedure.

However, there are also cases when the child, under the pressure of an authoritative educator, although without physical violence, only ate his meal, but a little later, when the educator already enjoys his “victory”, he still regains it in full. Such vomiting is obviously psychogenic in nature; it is an expression of resistance to a strict educator, an expression of hidden defiance and cunning revenge.

Fear of Failure: Psychogenic Vomiting as an Expression of Anxiety

There are children who suddenly start vomiting when they are burdened with a task they do not feel fit for, and yet pride does not allow them to openly admit their fear of failure. A classic example is a 9-year-old boy who vomited just before going to school when he had something harder to learn. He was of normal intelligence, but very insecure because of his heavy pampering. His vomiting lasted as long as his parents sat him down: they would put him to bed, call a doctor, and let him not go to school that day. The boy stopped vomiting only when his parents began to ignore the symptom, when they nevertheless sent him to school, but at the same time they tried to gradually make him independent and increase his self-confidence.

Overcoming Psychogenic Vomiting: A Case Study

Sometimes psychogenic vomiting occurs as an expression of a child’s protest against an unbearable life situation that causes severe anxiety, and this turns into a neurotic symptom. Such forms of psychogenic vomiting are encountered in neglected, humiliated, and otherwise psychologically abused children.

James lived with his aunt until he was five. His parents had a poor apartment at the time, and his 16-year-old daughter from her first marriage, who is severely mentally retarded, also lives with her father. The government had a good time with his aunt, and there were no educational difficulties with him there. An aunt died a year ago, so the boy had to return to his parents. In the meantime, they got a better apartment, but the father will not place his daughter in an institution for the mentally retarded. Both parents are employed almost all day. James and his half-sister are then left alone at home. The girl is very restless, dirty, teases the boy, strips naked in front of him and leads him to sexual games. James is very afraid of a weak-minded girl, he often cries, he has become very irritable and disobedient to his parents. He sleeps restlessly, occasionally screams in his sleep, and has recently started vomiting, having nothing to do with eating. In addition, he has a weak appetite. He is locked in the house all day, because his parents lock him together with his half-sister when they go to work, so the boy physically collapses because of all that. It should be noted that he also attends bitter quarrels among workers who do not agree at all. In addition, both parents often beat him. The boy’s vomiting is an obvious sign that the whole situation in the house disgusted him.