Fear of food is also called cynophobia. Many different phobias have been described in the psychopathology-related literature. Still, perhaps none are as debilitating or have profound health implications as cynophobia, the excessive and persistent fear of food. Food phobia is also called “food aversion or choking phobia.” The word Cibophobia or Sitophobia derives from the Greek Sites, bread, and phobias, which means fear.
The fear of food, food, and eating in public is often confused. Note that the latter is a social anxiety disorder in which the individual refuses to eat or drink in front of others for fear of embarrassment. On the other hand, cynophobia is persistent, and patients, typically adolescents and young children, cannot accurately verbalize what they fear.
Causes of cynophobia
- Fear and avoidance of food, chewing, or ingesting fluids usually stem from a negative or traumatic episode such as choking, vomiting, etc., after eating or drinking.
- Some people continue to experience this fear well into adulthood.
- Cynophobia is often associated with anorexia, bulimia, and other behavioral and eating disorders.
- Some cases of fear of food are specific; the phobia is only afraid of perishable foods like milk and dairy products, mayonnaise, etc.
- This can occur due to a previous bad experience of eating these expired foods, which can cause gastrointestinal upset.
- The brain remembers those feelings every time it is faced with a stressful situation.
Some children fear food when they eat in front of authority figures. Child abuse and news of death while eating some food can also lead to fear of food phobia in a young mind.
Symptoms of fear of food phobia
- People who suffer from cynophobia deal with many physical and psychological outcomes associated with this condition.
- The fear of food leads to an excessive obsession with how food is cooked or the expiration dates of edible items.
- This leads to overcooking or avoiding meat altogether, refusing to eat at certain restaurants, etc.
- Some phobics eat and drink very little, leading to nutritional deficiencies and health problems.
- Her condition is often mistaken for anorexia or other eating disorders.
- The phobic lives in constant fear of choking on food.
- They may vomit, cry, or throw a tantrum when forced to eat.
- Some children and adolescents refuse to eat solid foods.
- Your diet should be supplemented with protein-rich soft foods and vitamin and mineral supplements to maintain your health. His condition often leads to arguments in the family. Anguish and difficulties with peers in school are also familiar.
- Sleep-related problems, nocturnal diuresis, nightmares and refusal to sleep alone, tantrums, and other behavior problems are also frequently seen in these children.
Treatment for fear of food
Structured diagnostic and behavioral tests should be performed to assess the patient’s degree of avoidance and fear of food. The patient should be asked to try a series of sequential steps such as:
- Go over and eat three or four dreaded foods, sit next to the food, hold a spoon, fill it with food, lift the spoon, touch the food to the lips, put the food in the mouth, and swallow it.
- Parents/therapists should write down various symptoms throughout these different steps.
- A daily or weekly log should be kept to record the foods and drinks that the phobia has consumed at home.
- This should be done for at least six months with a weekly review session with the therapist.
- Parents and therapists should provide positive reinforcement such as material rewards, praise, and attention to the child who has cynophobia.
- On the contrary, vomiting, crying, tantrums, etc., must be ignored.
- Behavioral and cognitive-behavioral therapies, NLP or neuro-linguistic reprogramming therapy, hypnosis, and gradual desensitization therapies effectively treat cynophobia.
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.