Lachanophobia and Other Weird Food Phobias
Phobias can be tough to live with. A person with acrophobia has an unreasonable fear of heights and folks with arachnophobia are terrified by spiders. These unreasonable fears can have a specific origin, like being bitten by a spider, or can have no known cause and the treatment for them varies from confronting the fears head on to intensive psychotherapy.
Some phobias can be downright weird, for example, the fear of little clusters of holes is unofficially called trypophobia. But there is a growing segment of out population that has unreasonable fears related to food.
Lately, it seems as if just the simple act of buying or preparing food is enough to throw anybody into a panic attack. There's new worries that foods with gluten are damaging our digestive systems, genetically modified foods are prevalent on the market and we never really know if that next bowl of spinach salad is going to give us salmonella!
These things, however worrisome, are not phobias but there are many of them are that related to general food issues, like mageirocophobia which is the fear of cooking. This can affect people in small ways, like worrying too much about cooking a certain thing (overcooking noodles or panic about your Thanksgiving turkey) or larger ones like my mother was afflicted with. She was paranoid about the possibility of picking up germs or other nasty things from under cooked meat (teniophobia is the fear of tapeworms!), so she overcooked everything. I had to have been a teenager before I found out that cheeseburgers weren't supposed to be crunchy. I have a somewhat irrational fear of burning my food, which causes me to check what I'm making obsessively and can make me undercook some things. This could be in reaction to my mother's obsession.
Some other, general food phobias:
- Cibophobia is the fear of eating or food in general.
- Consecotaleophobia sufferers are afraid of chopsticks.
- Mageirocophobia is the fear of cooking.
- Phagophobia is the fear of swallowing, of of choking when eating.
- Thermophobia sufferers have a fear of hot things, like coffee or soup (or, in some cases, bathwater as this is not limited only to food).
- Deipnophobia is the fear of dinner or, more specifically, dinner conversation.
- Entomophobia is the fear of insects, and some folks are so afraid of eating one that they will not buy or eat packaged, prepared foods.
- Geumaphobia is interesting, it is the fear of taste. This can translate into specific flavors (like pickles, for instance), or sweet, sour or savory foods. Some unfortunate people can't handle any taste at all.
Body dysmporhic disorder and other weight related issues can cause food phobias, although the primary fear is of gaining weight, a person who is afflicted with these disorders can become terrified of food or of specific kinds of foods.
Totally Weird Food Phobias
One of my very best friends' husband is afraid of onions and I once knew a woman with a terrible anxiety that had to do with meat that was still on a bone - she would become violently ill watching someone eat it. I also have another friend who will become sick on her stomach if she sees someone else eating beef that's been cooked medium-rare or lighter.
There may be a phobia for just about everything. These are some fears that people have that are based on specific foods or tastes. Some of them are unofficial as in they have not been officially documented as a diagnosis. Phobialist.com does have a huge list of officially recognized phobias.
- Arachibutrophobia is the fear of peanut butter or, more correctly, the fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the roof of one's mouth.
- Lachanophobia is a fear of vegetables that goes way beyond kids disliking broccoli. Folks who suffer from this phobia could also be afraid of veggies because they may have been grown in soil that is contaminated.
- Mycophobia is the fear of mushrooms. Lots of people don't like them because they're slimy and, well, grown in poop, but some folks are deathly afraid of them.
- Ostraconophobia sufferers fear shrimp, crabs and other shellfish.
- Alektorophobia is the fear of chicken, and can translate to their cooked meat and/or eggs.
- Ichthyophobia's sufferers fear fish, live and cooked.
- Acerophobia is the fear of sour tasting foods, so no lemon in the sweet tea, please.
- Alliumphobia causes people to be terrified of garlic.
- Carnophobia suffers are afraid of meat, cooked or raw.
- Sitophobia is related to specific food smells or textures.
- Methyphobia is the fear of alcohol, and not necessarily just the after effects of imbibing.
- Oenophobia, likewise, is the fear of wine.
If Your Life is Disrupted by a Phobia
Phobias, although they can be seen as unusual, weird and even funny, are no laughing matter for some folks. If you have a crippling fear and don't know where to get help, try first calling your family doctor. He or she may have advice or may refer you to a therapist or psychologist.
I would caution you against some of the "remedies" you may come across on the internet because most of the people offering advice are not medical professionals.
Though some phobias can be faced and overcome, they are a form of anxiety and anything major should be treated by a professional.
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