Some people don’t like cooking, but some are downright terrified of it. Mageirocophobia or fear of cooking is a mental condition that can interfere with your daily life activities if left untreated.
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What Is Mageirocophobia?
Mageirocophobia is the fear of cooking. Although it is common, it is usually not regarded as a phobia unless the fear, anxiety and panic start to affect the sufferer’s daily life. This specific phobia can take numerous forms. Some individuals are just scared of cooking for huge gatherings, while others are scared of cooking for themselves. A person with this condition may have an anxiety attack not only when they are compelled to cook, but even when they simply think of cooking. Moreover, seeing someone cook may also lead to a panic attack.
How It Affects Us
Someone with a fear of cooking usually experiences different symptoms like increased heart rate, rapid breathing, high blood pressure, muscle tension and perspiration. However, not every person having mageirocophobia will suffer from panic attacks. Somebody experiencing this specific phobia 1 may find going to restaurants challenging. This is because they may see the chef cooking or see kitchen supplies, which can trigger their phobia or remind them of past episodes of cooking.
In extreme cases, a person with this condition may develop a habit of eating foods that don’t compulsorily need cooking on a daily basis. Although this can help them manage their anxiety levels, in the long run this can increase the severity of their phobia. By eating foods that don’t require cooking, they avoid their fear of cooking and thus reinforce their phobia.
Read More About Phobia Here
Types Of Mageirocophobia
Mageirocophobia can not only make affected individuals afraid of cooking, but it can also cause hatred for different elements related to cooking. Here are some of the common types of mageirocophobia:
1. Fear of recipes
Some people with this phobia can feel overwhelmed or threatened by complicated recipes that require careful attention or a long period of time to cook fully. They may doubt their ability to complete the recipe or worry about missing a particular ingredient or step in the cooking process.
2. Fear of the process
Most people with a fear of cooking are often petrified of getting burned or cut during the process of cooking. They can also get overly stressed about encountering random challenges while preparing food, like running out of ingredients or water. Moreover, certain cooking techniques can appear confusing and scary to others.
3. Fear of cooking inedible food
Many people who are not familiar with cooking are often unsure about adding seasoning or preparing food. They lack self-confidence when it comes to recipes, flavors or choosing the right ingredients. Moreover, some people become too concerned with undercooked or overcooked food, while some others become overwhelmed about the texture and taste of the food being served.
4. Fear of causing illness
This is perhaps the most common type of cooking phobia. The fear of causing illness or disease is based on wastage, contamination or undercooking during the cooking process. As people are becoming increasingly aware of foodborne diseases, some individuals become afraid of cooking, especially those unaware of general cooking rules.
5. Fear of poor presentation
People who tend to be perfectionists are often prone to feeling stressed about the overall presentation of the food and cutlery. They feel overwhelmed about garnishing, table decoration and offering a perfect dining experience. This particular type of mageirocophobia can get triggered while organizing a lunch or dinner event or inviting guests at home. However, someone can have such feelings even when cooking for immediate family members.
Symptoms Of Mageirocophobia
In any type of phobia, the symptoms vary from individual to individual relying upon their degree of fear. The most widely recognized manifestations of phobias include:
- Chest aches
- Heart palpitations
- Raised pulse
- High blood pressure
- Rapid speech or failure to talk
- Dry mouth
- Stomach upset
- Nausea and vomiting
Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of specific phobias like mageirocophobia. These anxieties might become severe and lead to panic attacks. Depending upon the seriousness of their panic attack, they may even need to get hospitalized. However, this will vary from individual to individual and will be reliant on numerous factors.
Here are some of the common signs of mageirocophobia:
- Feeling anxious when anticipating or thinking about cooking
- Feeling stressed and anxious while observing someone cook
- Repeatedly looking for ways to ignore cooking
- Inability to manage stress and anxiety related to cooking
- Shaking, muscle strain and perspiration
- Panic attacks
Individuals having severe mageirocophobia may take serious measures to avoid situations related to cooking. This might become so serious in the long run that they may try to prevent situations from happening.
Causes Of Mageirocophobia
Phobias are usually a result of a number of external factors, like environment, culture and trauma. Phobias can also arise from internal predispositions, like heredity or genetic qualities. Numerous specific phobias arise out of childhood and negative past experiences as well. Studies 2 have found that heredity and genetics 3 play an important role but brain functioning 4 and past life experiences heavily influence the development of phobia.
Here are some of the leading causes of mageirocophobia:
- Personality traits or characteristics
- Anxiety-related disorders
- Over-expectations from family members
- Failures in experimentation with cookbooks or cooking itself
- Facing regular difficulties while preparing a meal
Read More About Anxiety Here
In the long run, all these reasons may work as a risk factor for developing further phobias as well.
Treatment Of Mageirocophobia
Mageirocophobia does not necessarily require treatments unless it affects the daily life of the sufferer. Moreover, educating oneself about the condition can be highly beneficial in overcoming the disorder. However, if their phobic reactions begin to affect their ability to function on a regular basis, then therapy and medication can help significantly.
Commonly used therapies 5 for this type of phobia are psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy 6 . Therapies are only used when the fear becomes very severe causing an increase in anxiety levels and leading to panic attacks. Undergoing therapy under the guidance of a mental health professional can enable the patient to replace negative thoughts and emotions associated with their fears with more positive and productive thoughts.
Read More About Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Apart from these, exposure therapy 7 can also be highly effective. In this therapy technique, the therapist gradually exposes the patient to the object of their fear over a period of time. The process is repeated unless they become desensitized to cooking and become more comfortable with the overall process.
Although there are no specific medications for mageirocophobia, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines can help prevent anxiety and panic attacks and relieve symptoms.
Read More About Antidepressants Here
3. Self-help techniques
Apart from these, certain self-help techniques like breathing exercises, meditation 8 , mindfulness, yoga, consuming less caffeine, cessation of smoking and alcohol consumption can also help with managing symptoms related to fear of cooking. Once the sufferer has successfully managed to control their phobia they can slowly learn new kitchen and cooking skills to get familiar with the cooking process.
Recover From Your Phobia
With legitimate treatment, mageirocophobia can be effectively dealt under the supervision of a therapist. However, it is important to be mentally prepared to deal with the mistakes or it may aggravate the phobia.
Fears can be really disturbing when they interfere with our daily functioning. Treating phobias at the initial stage is better or else you may experience episodes of panic attacks in the long run. With proper treatments and therapies your fear of cooking can be controlled.
Mageirocophobia At A Glance
- Mageirocophobia is the fear of cooking.
- A person with this condition may have an anxiety attack not only when they are compelled to cook, but even when they simply think of cooking.
- Someone with the fear of cooking usually experiences different symptoms like increased heart rate, rapid breathing, high blood pressure, muscle tension and perspiration.
- Mageirocophobia can not only make affected individuals afraid of cooking, but it can also cause hatred for different elements related to cooking.
- With proper treatments and therapies your fear of cooking can be controlled.
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- Sars, D., & van Minnen, A. (2015). On the use of exposure therapy in the treatment of anxiety disorders: a survey among cognitive behavioural therapists in the Netherlands. BMC psychology, 3(1), 26. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40359-015-0083-2 [↩]
- Breedvelt, J., Amanvermez, Y., Harrer, M., Karyotaki, E., Gilbody, S., Bockting, C., Cuijpers, P., & Ebert, D. D. (2019). The Effects of Meditation, Yoga, and Mindfulness on Depression, Anxiety, and Stress in Tertiary Education Students: A Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in psychiatry, 10, 193. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00193 [↩]