Cibophobia: The Unusual Fear and Aversion of Food

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Cibophobia: The Unusual Fear and Aversion of Food

A traumatic experienced involving food may have caused Clibophobia to developed / Photo by Sergey Edentod via Shutterstock


Suffering from Cibophobia means that one is afraid of food. It comes from the Latin word “cibo” which is translated as “food” and the Greek term “phobia” which means “fear”, Common-Phobias says. It is also known as Sitophobia, from the Greek word “sitos” meaning “bread”. Other names it is called are the food aversion or choking phobia. explains that Cibophobia is the “excessive and persistent fear of food”. This condition should not be confused as an eating disorder or with the fear of eating in public. This phobia deals with being afraid of food itself and is not linked to a person’s worry about their body image or the anxiety they have when eating with other people.  


An individual may have developed Cibophobia because of experiencing a traumatic event which involved food. For instance, they may have struggled with swallowing or choking while eating food. They may also be scared of vomiting after consuming food.

People who are affected by Cibophobia may be afraid of only certain kinds of food like perishable types such as mayonnaise, milk, and dairy products. They may have experienced gastrointestinal distress in the past for not being able to notice the expiration date. This leads them to feel anxious every time they remember the incident.

Children may also develop this extreme and irrational fear of food when they are dining with authoritative figures. Additional factors that may induce them to have Cibophobia may include seeing other children being abused having a meal and witnessing another on the news person die from eating something.


Verywell Mind states that when someone suffers from Cibophobia, they may display symptoms such as:

Avoiding perishable foods and obsessively checking expiration dates

The phobic may try to stay away from foods of the perishable kind such as mayonnaise, milk, and other dairy products. They may be extremely careful in taking note of the food product’s expiration date. They may try sniffing foods when they are about to expire.

Being too wary of specific kinds of food

People who have Cibophobia may also worry about how well the food was cooked or if it was cooked in a sanitary manner. They may also be preoccupied with the thought of the food being so overcooked it gets burned or dries up. For this reason, they may avoid certain meats like beef, pork or chicken.

Not wanting to eat solid foods

Some children and teens may avoid partaking of solid foods which often causes fights in the family. Youth who have this condition should be provided with soft foods that contain plenty of protein and vitamin and mineral supplements to keep them healthy. Due to this condition, they may be stressed from having to deal with their friends at school.

Sleep problems

Children who suffer from this phobia may also have sleep problems such as experiencing nightmares, not wanting to sleep by themselves, or having nocturnal diuresis.

Having rules for eating behaviors

Individuals with this phobia may set some rules for their eating behaviors. This differs for every phobic but this is usually associated with food that comes from restaurants where they are cannot control the way the food is cooked. They may also refrain from eating some particular dishes or stay away from certain restaurants. Other examples of food rules they may have are being reluctant to eat seafood when they are not near the coast or immediately disposing of leftover food within the day.

Not eating and drinking enough

Patients who struggle with Cibophobia tend not to eat or drink very much. This may cause them to have not enough nutrition in their body and have health issues. This is usually why people confuse it with being an eating disorder like anorexia.


Individuals who are struggling with Cibophobia should seek the assistance of a mental health professional. The most recommended treatment method for this phobia is Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), a type of therapy that will aid the patient in changing their perceptions and behaviors towards food. Phobics may also choose to go through other therapies such as hypnosis and various kinds of talk therapy. They may also take medication for their condition.

Patients have to learn how to manage their fear of food before trying to learn about learning about the dangers of food-related diseases. If they do not try to deal with their phobia first, reading about health problems linked to food may just increase their fear.

If this phobia does not get treated, it will make the phobic have more obsessive behaviors. They may excessively restrain their food intake and it will be harmful to their health. When the fear becomes too severe, phobics would rather starve themselves than to eat food that they think is suspicious. This may cause them to become more irritable, weak and feel dizzy. Friends and relatives might also think that they have acquired an eating disorder. As it becomes worse, eating in restaurants may make them extremely anxious, even if they are eating according to their personal food rules.


Undergoing Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) can change a person's perception and behavior towards food / Photo by Wavebreakmedia via Shutterstock




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