How is it even possible that I've never heard this word before? So useful.

Sitophobia : An exaggerated or irrational fear of food.

As a ophidiophobe (fear of snakes), I can certainly convince myself that my aversion is semi-rational. Heck, this fear is so common that they even provide creepy music on the soundtrack whenever there's a snake on screen. But my fear isn't just about actual snakes it is even to the thought of snakes. It is to thinking about thinking about snakes. That snake SOUNDTRACK can unsettle me for hours. I'm having trouble even talking about this, actually.

Food fears, though, have become pretty normalized. Some of it is just talk, even social preening, but there is a genuine social movement to fear fats and carbs and certain kinds of fats and "additives." This makes it hard for families to know when that sitophobia is a creepy soundtrack of creeping mental illness.

I'd embrace a cobra for my kids. Might take some training and would certainly take a lot of support, but I'd do it. We're asking no less of sitophobics.


  1. hey laura,
    would love to see a post similar to this but on anosognosia and eating disorders! possible????

  2. I'm glad you mention this Laura, because I know of a number of people with non-fat-phobic AN who have what is nowadays described as 'orthorexia' (a fear of eating perceived 'unhealthy' food). Of course it's just anorexia nervosa/OCD, but some of these people cut out so many foods they believe to be 'bad' for them that they fear eating anything lest it poison their system in some way.

    I personally feel that the DSM would do many people a favour if it ditched all the body image stuff and just focused on aversions to food - which might have a variety of different meanings for different individuals - and hence provide different individuals with a personalised treatment programme.

    Of course, re-feeding to a healthy weight and adopting a balanced diet would be essential to ALL such individuals. But different people attribute different fears to their food restriction.

    What do you think of CRON by the way?

  3. CRON frightens me witless, frankly.

    I'm sure not all CRON participants are mentally ill but the pseudoscience of it offers a refuge for very ill people at best.

  4. Anonymous, good idea: guest post?

  5. Holy cow!!!! I just read a website detailing CRON (which up until today I only knew as a Unix job scheduler). It could have been a description on how to be an may feel cold, it may hurt to sit, you may get dizzy. Holy, holy cow.

  6. CRON is classic orthorexic stuff.
    The facile comment on if you feel..."just eat a little more" is darn scary. So once you've become sick doing this, just eat more. Really?

  7. laura - prefer not to be a guest post. i like your spunk on things. this is a word i never knew until i heard you say it. a word that might be a vehicle for a new generation of suffers to not own a lifetime of responsibility that we do not want recovery enough, are not trying enough, or are responsible for becoming sick and struggling for years to find anyway out. i wish i had come to know of this word 10-15 years ago.


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