6 popular food phobias (and how to deal with them)

There are a huge variety of phobias, for example, acrophobia (fear of heights), claustrophobia (closed spaces), arachnophobia (fear of spiders), aerophobia (fear of flying). These are some of the most common fears that we face in life, but despite this, we can live with them, simply avoiding the causes of our phobia.

But there are a number of fears that many did not even know about – they are associated with food and can greatly harm human health since it is very problematic to avoid them. We will understand the issue in more detail together with nutritionist Anna Ivashkevich.

Cynophobia

Let’s start with the most global phobia – the fear of food. It is often confused with anorexia, but these are two completely different things: people with anorexia are “afraid” of food, as it can harm their figure and spoil it. But those with cynophobia are afraid to eat in a panic not because of the desire to keep weight under control, but because they are afraid of dying. 

Phobia can develop in childhood, when a child, for example, choked on some product, and his psyche formed an attitude: food is evil, it can do harm. After eating, a person becomes nauseous, a frequent and uneven heartbeat begins, at the thought of food he covers up with sweat, feels anxiety, nervousness, dizziness, and even disorientation in space, in other words, he starts a panic attack

This phobia should be taken very seriously since we cannot exist without eating. Avoiding a certain food that causes fear is one thing, but completely avoiding food can lead to extremely negative consequences, including serious illness and even death. 

Therefore, in the case of such a phobia, it is imperative to consult a psychotherapist and, in parallel, be monitored by a nutritionist – the joint efforts of specialists will help to overcome this problem.  

Mycophobia

You can be afraid of food in general, or you can be afraid of mushrooms – a person with mysophobia has a strong fear of poisoning with this product. In this case, the following factors can be the causes of the phobia: 

  • Past experience – severe mushroom poisoning, which affected the further attitude towards this product
  • Often heard stories of acquaintances or friends about poisoning, even in joke format
  • Articles, videos on TV and on the Internet about constant mushroom poisoning, especially in the autumn-spring period.

It may seem like you can live with this phobia by trying to avoid the fear-inducing product, but it’s not that simple. If a colleague at work, for example, ordered a pizza or pasta with mushrooms, then a person with mysophobia may have a panic attack – already with familiar symptoms (from dizziness to nausea). Having found mushrooms in an eaten dish, a patient suffering from a similar disorder may feel the symptoms that appear with ordinary poisoning, even if the mushrooms were normal – vomiting, diarrhea, disruption of the central nervous system, fainting, weakness, and fever. 

This problem is also being solved together with specialists – competent therapy will help correct the situation.

Carnophobia

If you see a person who does not eat meat, it may not be a vegetarian, but a person suffering from a fear of meat. Just as at the moment of the formation of other phobias, this fear may be caused by not the most pleasant memories from the past:

  • In childhood or conscious age, a person saw how an animal was killed
  • Severe poisoning occurred after eating meat
  • Man cut himself badly while cooking a meat dish
  • The child was traumatized by the process of beating or cutting meat. 

Carnophobia manifests itself most often at the sight of raw meat with the following symptoms: nausea, light-headedness, panic attack. But fried meat that is not cooked with blood may not cause any negative emotions in a person suffering from this phobia – so not all people with such fear avoid meat dishes. However, these disorders still require intervention as they are associated with trauma and stress.

Lahanophobia

All of us in childhood was not very fond of broccoli and celery, but there are people who experience an irrational fear of all vegetables and fruits (less often of berries). 

This mental disorder can also be the result of trauma at an early age – for example, parents often put pressure on the child and forced him to eat vegetables, as a result of which the child began to hate any manifestation of vegetables, and later this hatred grew into fear. 

The diet of a person suffering from this disorder may consist of grains, meat, fish, and dairy products, but even a small piece of carrots, cucumbers or cabbage can lead to panic. Even if the usual food is on the same plate with vegetables or fruits, then a person with lahanophobia will not eat it. The smells, textures, tastes of these foods all lead to increased sweating, palpitations, and panic attacks. 

This phobia is easier to treat than others thanks to the work of psychologists and nutritionists. Without vegetables, our diet will not be as complete, even if you are trying to adhere to a healthy diet, and therefore you should promptly seek help from specialists.  

Ichthyophobia

In this case, it will not be entirely about fear, but, rather, about a disdainful attitude towards the entire category of fish and scaly ones. The unpleasant appearance of products, sharp scales, smell – all this can provoke disgust, which later transforms into a phobia. 

The causes of the problem again lie in childhood. For example, one of the relatives brought a fish from a fishing trip and threw it into the bathroom. The fish can jump out of the water, frightening the baby, in addition, he can be greatly impressed by the fact that the fish beats in the bathroom for a long time, trying to get out of it. Also, a person could severely choke on a bone from a fish while eating, and this experience caused a negative attitude towards the product.

With a competent approach to the treatment of this phobia, a psychologist can achieve the desired result – a person can get rid of fears and introduce fish into his diet (and even enjoy fish dishes without fainting at the sight of an aquarium).

Mageirocophobia

A person with this type of phobia will not get carried away with a cooking show, will not please half with a delicious dinner, and will not arrange a dinner party – the whole point is that he has a fear of cooking. It would seem that this phobia is not so dangerous, since modern reality offers a lot of options for delivering ready-made meals. But not everything is so simple. 

The fact is that people suffering from such a phobia cannot cook at all – this applies to breakfast, cooking elementary meals for snacks, drinks. Of course, you can order ready-made food sets, but not everyone has the financial ability to solve a global problem in this way.

Quite often, mageirocophobia occurs among perfectionists who love the beautiful presentation, the correct design of the dish and the right combination of ingredients. In addition, among the reasons are the following:

  • Fear that the person might poison the people for whom they are cooking
  • Fear of making a negative impression on others if the dish fails
  • Fear not correspond to one or another social status. For example, the imposed attitude that a good wife and mother should cook a variety of delicious meals for the whole family every day can cause stress and panic, which ultimately leads to the occurrence of such a phobia.
  • Concerns related to the discrepancy between the real food prepared by the person and the image that he represented (for example, with a photo from the Internet or a cookbook) 

This phobia can also be dealt with with the help of a psychologist – starting to cook basic meals, a person will gradually adapt to the cooking process. But in this case, constant control is very important, since, for example, a sandwich that has fallen butter down can greatly aggravate the situation, and a burnt onion in a frying pan will again return a person to the peak of a panic state. 

It is important to understand that, in general, a person can adjust their diet to avoid foods that cause fear. However, any phobia is a serious psychological problem that requires intervention, and therefore you should not run away from your fears, try to work through them and return harmony and joy to life.

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