Fear is a natural emotion that we all experience in some form or another. And there are many different fears that we as humans possess.
They can be things that make us uncomfortable or put us in danger. You might dislike heights, for example, or fire, or sharp objects.
And that’s totally reasonable. But it’s unlikely that these fears disrupt our day-to-day lives, they don’t stop us from getting on with the day ahead.
However, a phobia is a little more serious than fear.
You’ll likely still feel that uncomfortableness and sense of danger, but these emotions are significantly more intense.
There’s a good chance that you will make a point of specifically avoiding particular situations that involve the phobia and the abnormal thoughts and behaviors are much harder to get a handle on.
It is likely that a phobia will disrupt your day-to-day life.
And there are many different types of phobias out there. But today we’re focusing on mageirocophobia.
This is a phobia and deep-seated anxiety that focuses on preparing and cooking food.
Keep reading to learn more about this phobia, its symptoms, causes, and treatment.
What Actually Is Mageriocophobia?
So, mageirocophobia is a very intense fear of cooking.
This might mean that you are particularly anxious about the thought of having to prepare food, try new recipes for the first time, or having to cook for other people.
Even watching someone else cook might spike those intense emotions of anxiety and fear.
The reason behind your fear can vary from person to person. For some, it stems from pre-existing mental health issues such as OCD or perfectionism.
It can also come from a place of fearing making mistakes such as starting fires, contracting food poisoning, producing unappetizing food, and more.
However, it’s really important not to feel embarrassed or self-conscious about this phobia.
Talking about your fear, especially to a healthcare professional, can be the most important and very first step towards overcoming it.
Symptoms & Causes Of Mageirocophobia
There are two main causes that can cause an individual to have mageirocophobia; genetics and environment.
In terms of genetics, it could be that your family has a past history of mood disorders that can increase the chance of heightened anxiety or phobias.
And then environmental factors may be related to trauma.
For example, if you’ve previously received harsh criticism for your cooking, that may have contributed to your feelings of heightened anxiety.
Or alternatively, you may have experienced an unsafe cooking experience such as a kitchen fire which has significantly increased the intensity of fear in the kitchen.
There are many different symptoms of mageirocophobia; both behavioral and physical. Let’s take a look at them in a little closer detail.
A sufferer of this particular phobia may exhibit behaviors such as:
- Avoiding Kitchens – The individual is likely to try and avoid spending time in a kitchen over the fear of seeing some cooking.
- Profession Selection – The individual is likely to select a job where it is unlikely that they have to think about or see people cook food.
- Avoiding Restaurants – The individual is likely to avoid eating out at restaurants where it is likely they’ll witness the chefs cooking the meals.
A sufferer of this particular phobia may exhibit physical symptoms when thinking about being exposed or being exposed to their trigger such as:
- Dry Mouth
- Excessive Sweating
- Muscle Tension
- Racing Heart (Palpitations)
- Stomach Upset (Nausea or Diarrhea)
If you relate to the information in this article, there’s a good chance that you may have mageirocophobia.
If this is the case, you should speak to your healthcare provider immediately who may be able to diagnose you with the phobia and thus recommend treatment too.
You won’t have to undergo any tests to have a confirmed diagnosis.
Instead, it is likely that they’ll ask you a series of questions concerning your physical and behavioral symptoms. You’ll be asked questions like:
- Do you have any personal or family history of anxiety or specific phobias?
- How often do you think about preparing or cooking meals?
- How do you feel when you think about preparing or cooking meals?
- What aspects and areas of cooking give you the most anxiety?
- Has the fear of cooking disrupted your daily routine?
- Do you avoid specific activities or places that you once enjoyed due to avoiding triggers?
Management & Treatment
So, if you do get diagnosed with mageirocophobia, what are the next steps? Well, your healthcare professional is likely to advise you on the best form of treatment.
More often than not, this is a type of exposure therapy that slowly and gradually exposes you to your triggers in order to help you find better coping mechanisms.
Don’t worry, you’ll start off small with low-risk exposures. For example, you may start by looking at pictures of people cooking.
And as you progress through the treatment you’ll make the necessary steps to be able to cook independently again without such intense feelings of fear.
However, you may also be offered a variety of other treatments too such as cognitive behavioral therapy, medications, and stress reduction activities such as yoga and meditation.
Mageirocophobia can be a debilitating phobia.
It can leave you feeling isolated and alone as you have to disrupt your daily schedule and routine to avoid the triggers that offset such intense and frightening emotions.
This is why it is so important for those that resonate with the symptoms of this article, to seek out help and a diagnosis from a healthcare professional.
Through the use of treatment, you can gain back the much-needed independence and freedom to go about your life as normal.
Also, remember that there are steps you can take to live with the fear and make life a little easier for yourself.
Try to learn more about food safety rules to calm your anxiety, cook with a friend to feel less alone, take a cooking class to ensure that you know you’re doing the process right, and of course, open up and speak to your loved ones when you feel like you are struggling.