If you get anxious at the thought of eating peanut butter, then you may have arachibutyrophobia.
Arachibutyrophobia: Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to Roof of Mouth
The fear of peanut butter or, more precisely, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth, is a very rare phobia that can cause genuine physical symptoms & even more troubling thoughts. Luckily with the proper treatment, arachibutyrophobia can be cured entirely.
What is a Phobia?
A phobia is an anxiety disorder specifically linked to an overwhelming fear of an object or situation. It can develop over time due to both environmental and genetic factors.
Fear vs Phobia: Difference Between Fear and Phobia
Where fear causes a fight or flight response to save yourself from a high-risk situation, a phobia triggers irrational anxiety that is severely exaggerated and can cause extreme stress.
Cause of Arachibutyrophobia
Pinpointing an exact cause of the fear of peanut butter can be a bit tricky. It can occur because of a bad first experience, watching someone else choke on a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, or due to a genuine peanut allergy.
Some of the following have been known to cause arachibutyrophobia:
Bad Experience with Peanut Butter in the Past
A particular part of the human brain, the amygdala, remembers exactly how you felt when you encountered peanut butter in the past. It also reminds you about that bad/negative experience when you see or even think of peanut butter again. A traumatic incident with peanut butter in the past can snowball into extreme form of anxiety in the future.
Inherited Personality Traits
Temperament, reaction to new things, and many other traits are inherited from parents. We also pick behavioral characteristics from the people in our surroundings, including negative emotions towards a particular thing. Thus, if your parent/s have a fear of peanut butter, then you might have the same phobia as well.
As per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), peanuts are among the top 8 foods that can cause severe allergic reactions. This can translate into a fear of peanut butter for many people as a result of being allergic to peanuts.
Arachibutyrophobia Meaning and Pronunciation
Arachibutyrophobia is inspired by the Greek word “Arachi“, which means groundnut, and “butyr“, which means butter. Together, they make Arachibutyrophobia. This isn’t precisely fear of peanut butter itself, but it is the fear of peanut butter stuck to the roof of the mouth.
Generally, this phobia is an extension of the fear of choking (Pseudodysphagia) or the nervousness of sticky textures. It is a sporadic form of phobia with varying degrees of severity.
Some people can eat a small portion of peanut butter, while others can’t consume even a small quantity. In some cases, a person with arachibutyrophobia also starts avoiding peanut-based sauces or anything to do with peanuts.
Common Symptoms of Arachibutyrophobia
The severity of this phobia and its symptoms vary from person to person. Symptoms of arachibutyrophobia or the fear of peanut butter include:
- Panic attack and extreme anxiety at the thought of being exposed to peanut butter or possibly choking on it
- Rapid heartbeat and difficulty in breathing, along with chest tightness
- Nausea at the sight of peanut butter or, in some cases, just at the thought of eating it
- Dizziness accompanied by the feeling that you might pass out or faint
- Excessive sweating and panic
- Difficulty in speaking
- Tremors throughout the body
These symptoms are caused due to anxiety and can be treated with the help of an experienced anxiety counselor or therapist.
Arachibutyrophobia Treatment: How to Cure Fear of Peanut Butter
Arachibutyrophobia can be treated entirely with the help of the right mental health professional. Choosing the right psychologist for you is critical for curing specific phobias such as Arachibutyrophobia.
Some standard treatment methods for arachibutyrophobia are:
1. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
Cognitive Behavior Therapy focuses on teaching new patterns of behavior, a new way of thinking about fear, and overcoming irrational thoughts concerning the comsumption of peanut butter.
2. Exposure Therapy
Gradual exposure to the object of fear is an effective treatment method for Arachibutyrophobia. The exposure is done in a controlled environment and doesn’t directly involve eating peanut butter. Exposure therapists start by showing clips of people safely consuming peanut butter. Their approach aims to desensitize the fear of eating peanut butter, one step at a time.
Finding an excellent online therapist can help eliminate the fear of peanut butter, the anxiety that comes with it, and the irrational fear of choking due to peanut butter.