Cibophobia: How to fight and overcome food phobia

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 12, 2017

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Quick Bites

  • Food phobia is also known as cibophobia.
  • It is of two main types – food aversion and the fear of swallowing.
  • You probably avoid certain foods thinking they can be risky.

A phobia is a fear of an object or situation. These are inconvenient, but not life-threatening. Food phobia, also known as cibophobia, is of two main types – food aversion and the fear of swallowing. When you have a food aversion, you may avoid foods with a certain texture, colour or smell. The fear of choking makes it difficult for a person to swallow or cause panic at the thought of swallowing solid foods.

How to tell if you are cibophobic?

If you are cibophobic, you probably avoid certain foods altogether, thinking they can be risky. Most food phobias are associated with mushrooms, cottage cheese, pickles, eggs, mayonnaise, milk and broccoli. 

Those with cibophobia are also extremely concerned about expiration dates and tend to check it every time they are at the supermarket. They are also concerned with the doneness of cooked foods, overcooking to the point of burning or drying. They might avoid certain restaurants, refuse to eat seafood or throw out leftovers. 

What can be done for cibophobia?


A fear of food is not as complicated as most other phobias. Hypnotherapy aims to make it comfortable for you to deal with the phobia in 3 to 4 sessions. Hypnotherapy can help you stop restrictive eating and help you get in control when you eat something you have fear of. 

Exposure therapy

Exposure therapy has been found to be helpful in treating food phobia. A study at the Tulane University has helped treat individuals with food phobias, using a cognitive behaviour approach. In the trials, the therapy focused on changing a person’s thought processes. Moreover, a psychodynamic approach was used to discover the underlying reason for the fear. 

Self help

Write down what exactly it is that scares you. If you're dealing with a fear of a certain food, ask yourself what about it frightens you. This might cause you anxiety, but keep with it. Ask yourself of what the worst thing is that can happen if you face your fear. Make yourself ready and face the fear, it might be able to help your phobia. 

Working it out with a friend

You confide in a trusted friend for many of your concerns. Explain that you have food phobia and what triggers it. They will tell “Everything is fine” and hearing this from them will give you an emotional support. 

The social stigma of cibophobia can cause you distress. It can make it extremely difficult to hide increasingly restricted eating patterns. Overcoming food phobias can help you live a comfortable life.

Image source: Shutterstock


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