“A phobia is an anxiety disorder defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation. Phobias typically result in a rapid onset of fear and are usually present for more than six months. Those affected go to great lengths to avoid the situation or object, to a degree greater than the actual danger posed.”– Wikipedia
The Greek term for fat is “obeso.“
Obesophobia often referred to as pocrescophobia, is an extreme dread of putting on weight or getting obese. Although some men also experience this anxiety, young people and adolescent women tend to experience it more frequently. This phobia is one of the several sorts of anxiety disorders since it compels the patient to adopt bad habits that could be harmful to their health. Maintaining a healthy weight is beneficial, but it is not advisable to support behaviors that could be harmful to one’s health if they are motivated by a desire to watch one’s weight or prevent gaining weight.
What causes people to have this phobia?
People develop obesophobia for a variety of reasons, some of which may be a result of an underlying anxiety illness like fear of social rejection or low self-esteem.
A teenage girl may decide to adopt an unhealthy lifestyle in an effort to maintain the ideal physique required for modeling as shown on social media. Another young lady might be determined to look exactly like a celebrity whom she has chosen as her role model and will stop at nothing to get that look. Even though she is on the slender side, one of my children previously told me she wants to monitor her weight because she wants to be a dancer. She started watching what she ate, exercising excessively, and standing in front of the mirror often, which worried me. Until I learned that she truly had a role model that she wanted to look like, I assumed it was simply a teenage thing. I had to intervene and give her the proper information on that.
Some people fall victim to this trap (obesophobia) in an effort to be the ideal physical embodiment of the perfect person as defined by family, friends, and society, particularly in cultures where being overweight is viewed as an illness.
Because of the experiences they have heard that may have led them to believe that being overweight is not acceptable in society, the majority of people who have been bullied because of their weight in the past may also suffer the dread of gaining weight. Some people may have become motivated to avoid gaining weight after seeing how stigmatized overweight and obese people are.
When the subject of weight increase is brought up, an individual who suffers from obesitophobia feels highly uneasy and may exhibit symptoms like worry, tension, lightheadedness, and even panic attacks. Other signs include hating eating, participating in various weight-management programs, and dieting without seeing a dietitian. Other signs include regular fasting, extreme exercise, and overuse of laxatives or diuretics.
Despite not being a sickness, obesophobia is a psychological disorder that can lead to problems like the adoption of unhealthy behaviors to lose weight, such as the use of laxatives or vomiting, which is known as a purging disorder. Another result of obesophobia is an eating disorder known as anorexia nervosa, which is characterized by people eating minimal amounts of food frequently and excessively, making them appear thin and ill.
Although there is no official diagnosis for obesophobia, if you exhibit symptoms like a constant need to diet, guilt after eating certain foods, obsession with weight gain, avoiding social situations because of a fear of food, having a negative self-image, or intentional vomiting, you may need to see a doctor as further reclining could be fatal.