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Fear of Peanut Butter: Why Arachibutyrophobia is a Real Phobia

September 26, 2023

12 min read

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Author : United We Care
Fear of Peanut Butter: Why Arachibutyrophobia is a Real Phobia

If you get anxious at the thought of eating peanut butter or have a fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the mouth, then you may have arachibutyrophobia.

Arachibutyrophobia: The Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to the Roof of Your Mouth

The fear of peanut butter, or more precisely, the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth, is called Arachibutyrophobia. It is a very rare phobia that can cause genuine physical symptoms & even more troubling thoughts. Luckily, with proper treatment, arachibutyrophobia can be cured entirely.

History of Arachibutyrophobia

It is no secret that everyone loves to eat peanut butter. In fact, the National Peanut Butter day is on September 13. Usually, the source of the word arachibutyrophobia is attributed to a May 19, 1982 Peanuts comic strip [1] by Charles Schulz, where Sally is depicted reading a school report. The popularity slowly grew when Peter O’Donnell used it in his Modesty Blaise #12 novel – Dead Man’s Handle – in 1985.

We dug a bit deeper and got our mental health experts to find out the truth about the history of arachibutyrophobia.

In the May 19, 1982 Peanuts Comic Strip, Sally reads a school report and talks about how it can be a “beautiful excuse for not going to school”

Actually, the term arachibutyrophobia was first used in 1976 [2] in The People’s Almanac by bestselling authors Irving Wallace and David Wallechinsky (who also wrote The Book of Lists). Robert Hendrickson was the lexicographer who wrote the list of phobias for the popular facts and figures compilation.

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

Whereas 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.

Is Arachibutyrophobia a Phobia or Fear? Is it Real?

If you’ve ever asked, “What is the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth called?”, then you already know the answer. In some situations, if the fear is very intense and persists over a period of time, it can become a phobia. This is why Arachibutyrophobia is a phobia. And yes, it is a real phobia.

Causes 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.

Peanut Allergy

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

Arachibutyrophobia is inspired by the Greek word Arachis, which means “peanut”, and butyrum, which means “butter”. Combining the two primary words makes 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.

Effects of The Fear of Peanut Better

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.

How to Pronounce the Fear of Peanut Butter Sticking to the Roof of Your Mouth

How to say Arachibutyrophobia, you ask? The pronunciation of the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of the mouth is arackee-buti-yiro-phobia. Try making a sentence and reading it out loud 2-3 times to get comfortable using arachibutyrophobia in everyday conversation. Whenever your family is having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, you could start a conversation about arachibutyrophobia. You can bet that most people won’t know that there exists a fear of getting peanut butter stuck to the mouth.

By the way, here’s a fun fact about the fear of peanut butter: If you’re having trouble pronouncing or memorizing arachibutyrophobia, then you might actually have hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, or the fear of long words. Now, your next question might be, “How do you pronounce hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia”? We might cover that in our next phobia blog.

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 Options

There can be 2 ways to treat arachibutyrophobia: online therapy and natural remedies.

Therapy for the Fear of Peanut Butter

fear-of-peanut-butter-treatment

Arachibutyrophobia can be treated entirely with the help of the right mental health professional. Choosing the right phobia therapist for arachibutyrophobia for you is critical for curing specific phobias, such as Arachibutyrophobia.

Some standard treatment methods for arachibutyrophobia are:

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.

Exposure Therapy

Gradual exposure to the object of fear is an effective treatment 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 you overcome the fear of peanut butter, the anxiety that comes with it, and the irrational fear of choking due to peanut butter. It is always recommended to seek the help of an online counselor or therapist for permanent treatment.

Natural Remedies for Treating Arachibutyrophobia Naturally Without Therapy

If you don’t want to find an arachibutyrophobia therapist, there is a natural home remedy for not letting peanut butter stick to the roof of your mouth. If you’re making a peanut butter sandwich, you could add a layer of dill pickles to the peanut butter layer. These are the same ones used by McDonald’s. Alternatively, you could try adding pickled banana peppers or slices of bananas to not allow the peanut butter to stick to the top of the mouth.

References

[1] C. Schulz, “Peanuts by Charles Schulz for May 19, 1982,” GoComics, 19-May-1982. [Online]. Available: https://www.gocomics.com/peanuts/1982/05/19. [Accessed: 02-Aug-2022].
[2] “Arachibutyrophobia (fear of peanut butter on roof of mouth) (1976),” Newspapers.com. [Online]. Available: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/57693615/arachibutyrophobia-fear-of-peanut/. [Accessed: 02-Aug-2022].

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Author : United We Care

Founded in 2020, United We Care (UWC) is providing mental health and wellness services at a global level, UWC utilizes its team of dedicated and focused professionals with expertise in mental healthcare, to solve 2 essential missing components in the market, sustained user engagement and program efficacy/outcomes.

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