Fear of eating (cibophobia): causes, symptoms and treatment

There are many types of phobias; these disorders are characterized by irrational fear and persistent in situations, objects, activities or people.

The main symptom of this disorder is the desire to avoid the dreaded stimulus, and the development of phobias is usually due to environmental factors.However, some experts say that our body is programmed to feel fearSince it is an adaptive emotion, which has been useful to the human species for centuries, it would therefore be relatively easy to suffer from this condition.

Irrational fears can become very disabling, as in the case of cybophobia or fear of eating, Which can cause serious health problems for the person. In this article, we’ll talk about this strange phobia and explore its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

    What is cybophobia?

    Cybophobia is an anxiety disorder which causes great fear and discomfort in the sufferer as the person experiences great irrational fear of eating or eating their own food.

    this disorder it must be different from other pathological conditions such as anorexia or bulimia, Which have their origin in the ideas that the person has about the aesthetic consequences of food intake, although sometimes it can be related to these. However, irrational fear of having a negative body image while eating, such as thinking that food may contain toxins or germs, can contribute to the development of cibophobia.

    Some features of this disorder are:

    • People with cybophobia they show an irrational obsession with foodThis can lead you to become obsessed with the nutrients they contain and where they come from.
    • They can avoid eating food even though it is necessary for good health.
    • They avoid dishes cooked by other people because they need to know exactly what they are eating or how the dish was cooked.
    • Avoid eating foods prepared on the previous days in to intoxicate.

    Symptoms of this phobic disorder

    As you can see, the person suffering from this condition tends to avoid food due to their irrational ideas about them, and although in many cases they show knowledge of their problem, they cannot control this. situation.

    Symptoms of cybophobia do not differ from other phobic disordersAs the symptoms are characterized by consequences at cognitive, behavioral, physical and physiological levels.

    At the cognitive level, the person has irrational ideas of fear, suffers from anxiety, loss of focus, disorientation and extreme worry. Their behavior also changes, mainly avoiding the phobic stimulus.

    The physical and physiological symptoms are characterized by tachycardia, chest tightness, excessive sweating, dizziness, tremors, chills.

    • In severe cases, the person may experience panic attacks. You can read more about this condition in this article: “Panic Attacks: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment”.

    Causes of phobias

    phobias they often come from environmental factors. In fact, phobic disorders are learned and developed through a type of associative learning called classical conditioning. This type of learning was originally studied by Ivan Pavlov, although it was popularized by an American psychologist known as one of the forerunners of behaviorism, John Watson.

    Watson was the first researcher to study this phenomenon and led a young child to learn an irrational fear from a white rat he had previously worshiped. At the start of the experiment, the boy, named Albert, was playing quietly and enjoying the company of the white rat.

    However, in Watson’s experiment, whenever the white rat appeared, there was also a loud noise that frightened the little one. In the few sessions, little Albert associated the loud noise with the presence of the white rat, and so whenever the white rat appeared alone, Albert felt a strong irrational fear that had nothing to do with the harmless creature.

    • If you want to dive into classic conditioning learning. you can read this article: “Classical conditioning and its most important experiments.”

    Other causes of this disorder

    however, classic conditioning isn’t the only way a phobia can develop, And cybophobia can result from observational learning. In fact, some authors speak of vicarious conditioning as one of the possible avenues for acquiring irrational fears. If you want to know more about this concept, you can read this article: “Vicarious conditioning: how does this type of learning work?”

    On the other hand, other authors believe that people are biologically predisposed to be afraid because it is an emotion that occurs thanks to the primitive brain because it was very useful for our survival. Learn from fear it is produced by primary and non-cognitive associations, So that phobias do not respond to logical arguments.

    Treatment of cybophobia

    Scientific studies show that psychotherapy is really effective in treating phobiasAnd one of the types of psychological therapy that has shown the best results in research is cognitive behavioral therapy.

    This form of therapy combines cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy techniques, and some of the most widely used for the treatment of phobias are the techniques of relaxation and exposure techniques. In fact, the quintessential technique in the treatment of phobias is cognitive desensitization, which combines the two.

    Systematic desensitization involves teaching the patient different coping skills (For example, relaxation techniques) for when he is in the dreaded situation, and he is exposed to this to the phobic stimulus gradually so that he himself experiences the irrationality of his fear.

    On another side, ePharmacological treatment is indicated in severe cases, But always in combination with psychological therapy.

    Other types of therapy used to treat this disease are: mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, or hypnotherapy.

    Related Articles:

    • Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy: what is it?
    • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Principles and Characteristics
    • Hypnotherapy: what does it consist of and what are its benefits

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