In this blog we will discuss what fruit phobia is.
We will also explore the prevalence of this rare phobia, the causes of its development, and how to cope with fruit phobia.
What is fruit phobia?
Fructophobia (from fructus, Latin for “fruit”) is the fear of fruits. This particular fear is one of a rarer type of phobia.
People with fruit phobia engage in phobia related behaviours such as avoidance of fruit, and other fruit flavoured foods.
This particular fear of fruits is due to the irrational fear of the sugar fructose that is present in fruits in general and it could also be caused by negative expercines with fruit in earlier years of childhood and development.
A phobia is an irrational fear reaction that is excessive to the situation at hand. People with phobias experience a deep sense of dread or panic when they encounter the source of their fear.
The fear or the phobia can be of a certain place, situation, or object and is usually connected to something specific.
Phobias can range from annoying and silly to severely disabling- to the point that it impacts relationships, work, and their day to day lives.
On average, it is estimated that 19 million Americans have a phobia that causes difficulty in some area of their lives and 2.6% to 12.5% of the population across countries have experienced a lifetime specific phobia at least once in their lives.
Is fruit phobia real?
While the fear of fruit might sound a little out there and a little silly to many people who actually enjoy fruit, one must empathise with people who do experience this intense fear for whatever reason.
There are very few recorded cases and studies done on this particular fear because of the fact that this particular fear does not cause major negative impacts to the point that it impacts one’s life.
Because it is not a debilitating phobia such as social phobia, there has not been enough studies done to understand the phenonment and validate it’s experience but there are many people who have blogged about their experiences with fruit phobia.
One particular writer, Sheila Jackson has written a very honest tale about her own experiences with fruit phobia.
In her blog, she expressed her experiences with fruit with more disgust than fear and has also highlighted how she has come to accept and live with the fruit phobia around other people, especially her fruit loving partner.
You can read the story here
Now, as to the question of whether fruit phobia is real or not- there is some disparing information due to the lack of empirical research done on the pehno moment.
Many people who have written about fruit phobia have also highlighted the question of whether fruit phobia is simply a restrictive eating disorder because of the fact that many people who struggle with this phobia do so because of irrational beliefs about the sugar content in the fruits.
People with fruit phobia also like to point out that sugar is the major cause of the obesity epidemic that is taking the world by storm, claiming sugar to be toxic and addictive which ultimately makes people fat..
However, much research that has been conducted finds that this might not be true. In research on nutrition that was conducted over a 10 week period between two groups where one was given sucrose- processed sugar- while the other fructose, found in fruits- there was no notable difference in the metabolism of both.
Furthermore, these studies have also concluded that consuming fruit or fructose is unlikely that it will cause weight gain or obesity. This overarching gear for high sugar content foods including fruits could be a result of irrational beliefs about sugar that are fueled by information and research that is highly biassed.
There is not enough data to indicate whether the fear of fruits is grounded on real hard facts or whether the phobia itself is an actual separate phobia from restrictive eating disorders like Anorexia Bulimia leading to avoidance of fruit due to fear of getting fat.
What are the symptoms of Fruit phobia?
People who struggle with phobia tend to live limited lives especially when these phobias are severe and impact their day to day lives.
Phobias should never be taken very lightly no matter how odd or weird it might seem as the anxiety serpong phobias can be so poented and cause so much distress and social isolation that a person might begin to develop other severe psychological progress like anxiety and depression.
The most common symptom or criteria for a person to have a phobia is avoidance behaviour. People that are suffering from phobias, most of the time purposely avoid coming into contact with what it is that triggers them to experience fear or anxiety.
People that suffer from Fructophobia, which is a food and drink phobia, try to avoid not only the exact objects or situations that trigger it but sometimes in severe cases the thought of those things as well.
People with phobias might also develop an anxiety related to their anxiety of their phobia because of how it impacts them and the panic and anxiety symptoms it might cause them so they try to avoid all thoughts and triggers of fruits.
A person doesn’t necessarily need to be in a situation exposed to fruits to experience the symptoms of the phobia because the brain is capable of creating a reaction to fearsome situations even when the subject is not actually in that situation.
But generally speaking, food and drink phobias and fears such as Fructophobia fall under the category of anxiety disorders called phobias.
People with fear of fruits (a branch of cibophobia) often experience panic attacks when they come across the trigger of their phobias such as fruit or fruit flavoured foods.
Various symptoms of fruit phobia in the presence of a trigger include:
- hot flashes or chills
- shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- a choking sensation
- rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
- pain or tightness in the chest
- a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
- Nausea and urge to vomit
- headaches and dizziness
- feeling faint
- numbness or pins and needles
- dry mouth
- a need to go to the toilet
- ringing in your ears
- confusion or disorientation
- tightness in the chest/chest pain and difficulty breathing
- rise in blood pressure
In some very severe cases, a person with fruit phobia might experience a panic attack when they come across a fruit or fruit-based trigger.
These panic attacks can be extremely frightening and distressing for the person suffering and can happen suddenly and without any prior signs or warnings.
In such cases with someone with severe fruit phobia they can have one or more of the following panic attack symptoms
- fear of losing control
- fear of fainting
- feelings of dread
- fear of dying
- fear of harm or illness
- guilt, shame, self-blame
- Feeling disconnected
- Irritability and anger
What causes fruit phobia?
Possible causes for the development of fruit phobia include:
- Misguided information of fruits can also be one causal factor of this phobia. People who are raised by people that either are afraid, or have transmitted a sense of uncertainty or danger related to fruits might experience Fructophobia.
- Past Negative Experience with fruit such as choking, vomiting etc that might further cause anxiety due to the negative experience that happened earlier on in life.
How to cope with fruit phobia?
For many people who struggle with fruit phobia, they have never come to a point where they require treatment because of the fact that this particula phobia has not caused any iidstress of dysfunction in their lives as they can all together avoid triggers with no consequence.
However, if you feel like you would like to seek out treatment for fruit phobia you can consider the following things:
Therapy that is targeted towards phobias such as CBT that provides exposure therapy as well as behavioural therapies that involve systematic desensitisation of the trigger by repeated and gradual exposure.
While most phobias are curable, there is no single treatment available for all of them, or guaranteed to work.
It strongly depends on the person suffering and severity in which that person is experiencing Fructophobia.
In therapy the professional guides you through various issues such as:
- help you recognise unhelpful patterns in the way you think or act, and find ways to change them (if you want to).
- help you resolve complicated feelings, or find ways to live with them
- help you make sense of things and understand yourself better
- give you a safe time and place to talk to someone who won’t judge you
The therapy also focuses on identifying and changing negative thoughts, dysfunctional beliefs, and negative reactions to the phobic situation. It also makes use of virtual reality technology to expose people to triggers.
In the case of fruit phobia, usually it is not severe enough that it causes debilitating anxiety symptoms and thus there are no medical or pharmacological treatments available for this condition.
However, in case your condition is extremely severe your doctor might prescribe you medications to help with the symptoms of anxiety such as tranquillisers.
In this blog we have discussed what fruit phobia is. We have also explored the prevalence of this rare phobia, the causes of its development, and how to cope with fruit phobia.
FAQ related to Fruit phobia
Is there a fear of fruit?
Fructophobia (from fructus, Latin for “fruit”) is the fear of fruits that is caused by irrational beliefs related to the nutritional value of fruits, especially the content of fructose. Other causes of this fear also include negative experience with fruit. .
Is there a phobia of blueberries?
No, there is no phobia related to blueberries. People with the phobia of blueberries struggle not with the fruit but with the colour of the fruit. They not only eat blueberries but any food with the colour blue. This particular phobia is caused by dangerous events relating to the colour.
What are the weirdest phobias?
Here are some of the weirdest phobias:
- Chaetophobia (Fear of hair)
- Vestiphobia (Fear of clothing)
- Ergophobia (Fear of work)
- Decidophobia (Fear of making decisions)
- Eisoptrophobia (Fear of mirrors)
- Deipnophobia (Fear of dining with others)
- Phobophobia (Fear of phobias)
What is the fear of food?
Cibophobia is a general fear of food. It is considered a specific phobia, which is an anxiety disorder. People with this phobia are sometimes mistakenly thought to suffer from anorexia, an eating disorder.
Fear of fruits (branch of cibophobia). Fructophobia. January 26, 2021 Fear of. Retrieved on 7th Dec 2021. https://fearof.org/fructophobia/
“Fructophobia” Vs. Sound Science. American Beverage. Retrieved 7th Dec 2021. https://www.americanbeverage.org/education-resources/blog/post/cfructophobiad-vs-sound-science/
Sugar, Fructose, and Fructophobia. Chelsea Green Publishing. Retrieved on 7th Dec 2021. https://www.chelseagreen.com/2019/sugar-fructose-and-fructophobia/