Every family holds a certain amount of anxiety. If you like the word "stress" better, it's interchangeable with "anxiety." It's as though a family is a "container" for anxiety and if there isn't much that happens to that family or that the family has to deal with, then the anxiety is mild and considered "normal." It shows up as merely some amount of worry, fretting, or stressful exhaustion.
But when the family container simply cannot hold all of the acute anxiety (stressful things that happen) then it overflows into one member of the family. Someone ends up with one or more of the disorders shown in the diagram above. There is even some evidence that someone in the family may fall physically ill, thus freeing up the other members of the family to better health. But that's for another blog. If the family anxiety is high enough, it will even overflow to more than one member of the family.
Anxiety disorders do have a genetic component, but like many genes sometimes they are turned on, and sometimes they remain off. And like most things, genetics can only account for about 50% of your probability in getting it. Family anxiety or stress accounts for the rest.
Even the happiest of families have stress: mom overworks, dad worries about money, grandma needs to be cared for or dies, there is arguing or silent distancing. There is a family secret, a divorce, a parent with depression, a brother who's in hospital, a problem with alcohol or a teen that rebels. The list of possible family stressors is endless.
If the family anxiety was high enough, you may have ended up with another disorder shown in the first diagram along with your emetophobia. All anxiety disorders are interchangeable in some way.
As I was trained in Family Systems Theory, I do not treat emetophobic children. Because the anxiety doesn't belong to them - it's somewhere else in the family. Treating the child, as well as "talking with" the child and even excessively comforting or feeling sorry for the child is what Family Systems experts refer to as an "anxious focus" on the child. If just one family member can work on owning up to and managing his or her own anxiety and stop focusing anxiously on the child then the child will get better. Their emetophobia will probably disappear by the time they're teenagers.
To learn more about Family Anxiety and how to develop a comprehensive plan to bring about real transformation in your family, you can read my book: Evoking Change.