Food and water are the two most precious things in life and are the only absolutely crucial things a person needs to survive. A lack of either resource will eventually cause a decrease in health, both mental and physical, and could eventually lead to something as severe as death. Cibophobia is a serious condition that causes a person to fear food, usually when it is prepared by someone other than themselves or contains an unfamiliar ingredient. This phobia is not to be confused with other eating disorders, like anorexia, as the fear has absolutely nothing to do with body image.

Symptoms of Cibophobia

There are many different ways in which a fear of food can manifest itself in a person. Visiting a restaurant with a person with cibophobia is often very difficult, as the person may worry that the food was cooked improperly or through unsanitary methods. It may be initially difficult to spot a person suffering with cibophobia, but by watching out for these signs and maintaining open communication you may be able to help save them from more severe symptoms in the future. Other signs that may help determine if a person may be suffering from cibophobia include:

  • Avoidance of perishable foods
  • Obsessive with expiration dates
  • Reluctance to eat meat, specifically chicken or beef
  • Extremely picky or wary about certain foods or dishes

Treatment of Cibophobia

If a person with cibophobia is left untreated, their diet may become increasingly limited, as they will have no reason to eat foods that they are uncomfortable with. For example, they may stop eating meat or vegetables altogether due to their irrational fear which can lead to severe health problems. Those with the disorder can also exhibit obsessive behavior over their food, such as sniffing or touching/examining it excessively to ensure its safety. If forced in these situations, a person may even begin to experience panic attacks or moody behavior that can lead to an avoidance of social situations or eating any food that they have not prepared themselves. When properly diagnosed, individuals are encouraged to seek out professional assistance in dealing with their phobia to avoid severe health complications in the future.

A fear of food is an extremely dangerous phobia that can lead to severe mental and health problems if it is ignored. Cibophobia often eventually turns into an outright obsession and is treated very differently from other eating disorders as it is affects a persons thought process and is not caused by a body image issue. Visiting with a professional can help you properly diagnose yourself to find the best treatment available.

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