Fear of eating or Deipnophobia is one of the unusual but very real phobias that exist to torture people around the dinner table. Deipnophobia derives from the Greek ‘deipno’, translated as ‘dinner conversation,’ and ‘Phobos,’ which is ‘dislike’ or ‘deep fear.’ Deipnophobia is also believed to be a fear of large meals or banquets.
Deipnophobia is a social phobia that makes the person suffering from it feel uncomfortable while eating or dining in public or front of strangers. The person fears what they might look like when eating and fears being criticized. This fear is significantly exacerbated when the person dines out or has to eat with strangers. It is a debilitating fear that causes the person to avoid all kinds of social situations.
Causes of xenophobia
- The most common cause of the social phobia, including fear of eating or having dinner conversations, is a traumatic episode in the past, usually in childhood.
- An older adult may have laughed at or scolded the phobia for not eating well or forgetting the rules of etiquette when dining outdoors.
- The episode remains deeply etched in his mind, causing an ingrained fear of social events that involve eating in front of strangers.
- Whenever an opportunity arises, the phobic mind remembers that feeling repeatedly, leading to a total panic attack.
- Even doctors and scientists cannot fully explain how a social phobia like xenophobia arises.
- Sometimes it can come out of nowhere.
- Genetic, brain chemistry, environment, and biological and physiological factors can also contribute to this phobia.
- Hereditary predisposition to chronic increased blood pressure can also lead to xenophobia.
- Broken families cause poor education; death or divorce that causes one or both parents to move can also lead to poor social skills.
If the child does not know how to behave or eat or speak during a formal event, it can lead to fear of dining or talking over dinner. An education with little love, intimidation, child abuse, and overprotective attitudes can trigger Deipnophobia.
A child can also learn to avoid social situations if his parents avoid the same.
You can also read: Fear Of The Moonlight: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
Symptoms of fear of eating
“Everyone thinks that once I eat out in a restaurant, I have overcome my Deipnophobia. They do not understand that it is a daily struggle. I can’t eat outside or in front of other people. ”
The symptoms of xenophobia can vary from person to person. Typical symptoms include:
- Freezing at social events
- Avoidance behavior – the phobic tends to go to great lengths to avoid social events that include dining out.
- Shaking, sweating, complete panic attack.
- Trying too much to converse – causes the phobic to say something socially unacceptable, in which case his awkwardness becomes one of his many self-fulfilling prophecies.
- Studies have shown that people with social phobias like xenophobia feel lonely since they don’t date, let alone get married.
- The phobic can also have problems at work. You may avoid social gatherings that involve dinner parties. This can cause them to miss promotions.
- To reduce anxiety, the phobia can turn towards alcohol or other drugs.
- This abuse can undermine trust and lead to even more social problems.
- Depression is also a common side effect of this phobia.
Treatment for xenophobia
There are two types of treatment options for a person who is afraid to eat:
- Drug therapy: Medications help reduce the anxiety and tension of this phobia.
- However, medications are not a long-term solution, as they do not treat the root cause of the phobia.
- Therefore, drug therapy should always be supplemented with cognitive-behavioral therapy to increase the chances of success.
- This therapy has shown results in reducing anxiety symptoms.
- The therapist looks at how the symptoms arose in the first place and what triggers them.
- The behavioral therapy allows phobic anxiety-provoking thoughts to deal with, acquire social skills, practice overcoming evasion, and face situations that give rise to symptoms.
- Patients need to expend energy to do so; they need to want to be exposed to the situations that trigger symptoms to feel better.
- This can take a lot of effort on your part.
Hello, how are you? My name is Georgia Tarrant, and I am a clinical psychologist. In everyday life, professional obligations seem to predominate over our personal life. It's as if work takes up more and more of the time we'd love to devote to our love life, our family, or even a moment of leisure.