Lachanophobia (Fear of Vegetables)
Lachanophobia is the irrational fear of vegetables. Someone suffering from this condition may endure extreme amounts of anxiety when in the presence of vegetables or even when thinking of them. Simply being opposed to eating vegetables is not intimation that someone has lachanophobia. Someone with this disorder will not merely scoff at the left over vegetables on their plate. Instead, they would experience immense bouts of anxiety at the mere sight of them.
In fact, someone with lachanophobia may experience anxiety that is so intrusive and intense that they may have a full blown panic attack that will require them to be hospitalized. Though such an occurrence may not be typical, it is definitely plausible to happen, especially when looking at the fact that panic attacks are usually quite common among people suffering with anxiety disorders.
Someone suffering with lachanophobia may not have much of a problem with avoiding their fear of vegetables, especially if they are an independent adult. However, they may encounter other issues as a result of their irrational fear of vegetables, such as being malnourished. It is very possible for them to become deficient in certain vitamins and minerals due to their fear and refusal to eat vegetables.
Like with all other mental disorders, there is a spectrum of intensity that will differ for everyone. So, while one person with lachanophobia will experience great discomfort and anxiety when seeing or thinking about vegetables, someone else with lachanophobia may take it to an even further extreme by having a full blown panic attack which may require them to be hospitalized.
Symptoms of Lachanophobia
Just as you would imagine, anxiety will be the most profound symptom of lachanophobia. They may experience very intense bouts of anxiety if they happen to see vegetables at a grocery store or at a restaurant. They may be able to realize that their fear of vegetables is completely irrational, but when in the midst of intrusive anxiety they will likely be unable to accept this. Such an inability to think logically is a large reason as to why they suffer to the extent that they do.
Someone with lachanophobia may also take things to the extreme by avoiding highways that pass by vegetable fields or they may make a conscious decision to avoid certain parts of a grocery store so that they will avoid seeing vegetables. Besides avoiding seeing vegetables, they may also convince themselves that vegetables do not contain healthy vitamins and minerals. They may refuse the nutritional facts and benefits of vegetables.
Below, you will see some more common symptoms of lachanophobia:
Intense anxiety when looking at vegetables
Anxiety when thinking of vegetables
Denial of the health benefits of vegetables
Unable to cope with strong emotions
May experience panic attacks
Signs of malnutrition
Going out of their way to avoid vegetables
Causes of Lachanophobia
There is no known cause of lachanophobia. However, genetics and one’s environment may both play very significant roles. For instance, someone with a family history of mental illness, especially with anxiety disorders may have a higher chance of developing lachanophobia. This would likely be due to them having a higher risk of being genetically predisposed to developing mental illness.
If they were to have such a genetic predisposition, then it may only require them experiencing some sort of traumatic event. A traumatic experience that may be intrusive enough for someone to develop full blown lachanophobia may be that they became very ill after eating vegetables once before or perhaps they found that the vegetables they were eating contained insects inside of it. Regardless of the specifics, experiencing a very traumatizing event may be enough for someone to develop lachanophobia insofar as they have the proper genetics.
Though we do not know definitively what causes lachanophobia, there is a consensus among many mental health professionals that genetics and environment (also known as nature VS nurture) plays a very significant role in the development of any given mental disorder. With that being said, the best we can do to try and uncover why some people develop lachanophobia while others don’t is to look closely at the individual’s family history and environment.
Lachanophobia Treatments (abridged)
There is no treatment specifically designed for lachanophobia. However, exposure therapy may be very advantageous for someone suffering with an irrational fear of vegetables. Exposure therapy is a very common and effective form of treatment for people suffering with most phobias. Just as the name implies, the therapist will slowly expose the patient to their fear over time. The main goal of exposure therapy is to try and desensitize them from their irrational fear. Theoretically, the more someone is exposed to something they fear, the less it will bother them over time.
The therapist may expose the patient to vegetables by first showing them a picture of a vegetable. Then, they may show them a video of vegetables or a video about gardening. The goal here would be to slowly expose the patient to vegetables gradually. Eventually, the therapist may bring in a vegetable or two into the session for the patient to observe and even touch. Though this will likely give the patient a very high amount of anxiety, they will likely feel less anxiety the more they are exposed to the same stimulus.
Besides exposure therapy, anti-anxiety medication may also be very beneficial for someone suffering with lachanophobia. However, merely taking medication alone may not be enough to truly improve the symptoms associated with this disorder due to the fact that the patient will likely need to learn how to improve their cognition by changing the way they think about vegetables, as well as learning how to cope with very strong emotions.
If you think you may have lachanophobia or if you are experiencing some of the symptoms described in this article, then you should talk to your doctor as soon as you can so that you can get properly diagnosed and treated. Upon seeing your doctor, he may refer you to see a specialist such as a psychiatrist or a therapist.
Psychiatric Medications for Lachanophobia
These types of medications are very useful to help prevent panic attacks. Such drugs can be extremely useful for people suffering from severe lachanophobia due to the fact that people with phobias often experience panic attacks as well. Some common anti-anxiety medications include Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin, among many others.
These types of drugs are not typically taken on a daily basis, but they may be insofar as their lachanophobia is severe enough. However, this is something that you should first discuss with your doctor before you decide to do so to ensure that it is safe and effective.
These types of medications aren’t only for people who suffer from depression as they can also help people suffering from anxiety disorders as well, such as lachanophobia. Some common antidepressants are Paxil, Zoloft, and Lexapro, among several others. These drugs may be able to help reduce some of the symptoms of lachanophobia.
These types of drugs are typically taken on a daily basis. They can indeed help prevent panic attacks from occurring, but they are more so used to help reduce people’s daily anxiety. Talk to your doctor to see if taking antidepressants can help to reduce your symptoms of lachanophobia, as well as whether or not it is safe to do so.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) for Lachanophobia
MBSR is an 8-week evidence-based program that offers secular, intensive mindfulness training to help people who are suffering from anxiety, stress, depression, and other sorts of mental anguish. MBSR may be able to significantly help someone who is suffering from lachanophobia as mindfulness meditation has been shown to be very beneficial for anxious people. In such a structured program, someone with lachanophobia can expect to learn a plethora of different skills that can help them to relieve the intense anxiety that’s associated with their specific phobia.
Talk to your doctor or therapist to see if MBSR can help you to reduce the intensity of your symptoms of lachanophobia, as well as where to find MBSR programs in your area.
Meditation for Lachanophobia
There are many different forms of meditation that exists which can be very advantageous for someone suffering from lachanophobia. Specifically, mindfulness meditation has been shown to be quite beneficial for helping people to enter into a more equanimeous state. There are many different ways with which you can implement mindfulness meditation and there are also many different meditation apps which are designed to make things as easy as possible for you.
Mindfulness has the potential to significantly help those suffering from lachanophobia due to how it will help one to distract themselves from their fear by refocusing their attention onto something else that does not have any sort of emotional baggage attached to it, such as by focusing on the breath for example. This is one of the most basic ways that one can meditate and be present.
For someone with lachanophobia in the midst of a panic attack, redirecting one’s attention to the various sensations felt when breathing can actually help to reduce the amount of mental anguish experienced during such an influx of anxiety.
To implement mindfulness meditation to help relieve one’s symptoms of lachanophobia, you can do so by paying close attention to the way the muscles in your abdomen and chest contract and relax with every inhale and exhale. You can spend time dwelling on how it feels as your chest expands during each inhale and how it sinks in with every exhale.
Besides focusing on your breathing, you can also focus on the sounds around you, the way your skin feels as you touch certain objects, the way foods taste, as well as the way certain aromas smell. Essentially, honing into your 5 senses can significantly help you to reduce some of the anxiety that is associated with lachanophobia. Also, remember that it will take a lot of practice to become an adept meditator. So, practice is key.
Exposure Therapy for Lachanophobia
As previously mentioned, exposure therapy is one of the most common ways to treat anxiety disorders such as lachanophobia. It can be an efficient way to help desensitize the patient to their specific fears. Be that as it may, it is imperative that the therapist implementing it on their patient is very adept at doing so. For example, if the therapist were to slightly expose someone with lachanophobia to their fear, then it may not be very effective as they may need a higher amount of exposure to truly trigger any sort of worthwhile change in the patient.
The same can be said for the antithesis of this scenario. If the therapist were to excessively expose someone with lachanophobia to their fear, then doing so could be highly counterproductive to the point to where their lachanophobia may become immensely worse due to the therapy alone. So, it is paramount that the therapist implementing exposure therapy for someone with lachanophobia has a very strong sense of just how severe their symptoms are so that they can know the level of exposure that the patient will likely be able to handle.
Yoga for Lachanophobia
There are numerous different yoga poses that can substantially benefit someone who is suffering from lachanophobia. In part, this is due to the meditative state of mind that yoga tends to emit in those who practice it on a consistent basis. Yoga can be thought of as meditation in motion. It can help to relieve some of the anxiety associated with lachanophobia due to the mere fact that by engaging in yoga, your attention will be redirected to something more productive.
There are many different types of yoga that someone with lachanophobia can benefit from, such as hatha yoga or hot yoga, among many others. Nevertheless, regardless of the many different forms of yoga that exist, virtually all of them can help to relieve some of the stress and anxiety that is associated with lachanophobia.
If you have never practiced yoga before, then it may be in your best interest to take a class or watch some guided videos that can help you through each pose. Just like with meditation, the more you practice yoga, the more adept you will become at it. Besides helping you to reduce your symptoms of lachanophobia, you can also expect to acquire increased strength and flexibility, among other benefits.
Exercise for Lachanophobia
Exercise has been shown to be extremely beneficial for people suffering from anxiety disorders, including lachanophobia. Specifically, cardiovascular exercise can significantly help to relieve one’s stress. This is not to say that weight-resistance training would not benefit someone with anxiety, but rather that aerobic exercise is has been shown to be more effective at releasing those feel good chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins.
According to the American Psychology Association, exercise can help to condition the mind to better cope with stressful situations. This makes sense when we take into consideration the high amount of stress that the body is put under during strenuous exercise. So, if you yourself are sedentary, then engaging in some form of aerobic exercise may be able to significantly help reduce your symptoms of lachanophobia by making it much easier for you to cope with the anxiety and stress that’s associated with this condition.
There are many different aerobic modalities that you can partake in to help reduce your symptoms of lachanophobia, such as swimming, biking, skiing, walking, and jogging. You can also acquire the many benefits of exercise by playing sports such as tennis, soccer, basketball, and racquetball, among many other sports. Engaging in some form of exercise consistently may be able to help relieve some of the pain associated with lachanophobia over time.
Caffeine Reduction for Lachanophobia
It is no secret that consuming large amounts of caffeine throughout the day can aid in making you more anxious. This makes sense when we look closely at how caffeine affects our body’s physiology. When we consume a high dose of caffeine, our heart will start to beat faster and we become more tense. Essentially, our body will begin to go into a “fight or flight” state of mind. Such a frame of mind is often a precursor for someone with lachanophobia to experience panic attacks.
So, consuming little to no caffeine throughout the day may be able to significantly help reduce your day to day anxiety. Although doing so will likely not make all of your anxiety go away, it will indeed help you to reduce any unnecessary suffering that you would have otherwise experienced if you were to consume a large amount of caffeine.
Beverages like coffee and tea are often high in caffeine, as well as some energy drinks. In fact, even some foods have caffeine in them as well, such as dark chocolate. Being more conscious of your daily caffeine consumption may help you to reduce some of the symptoms associated with lachanophobia.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for Lachanophobia
DBT is a very effective form of treatment for people struggling with emotion regulation. It is often used to treat people suffering from borderline personality disorder. Nevertheless, it can also be very advantageous for someone suffering from anxiety disorders like lachanophobia too. This is due to the numerous amount of coping skills you can expect to learn in a DBT group. These groups typically last about 6 months long and can have anywhere from two people to several people depending on how many join the group.
One very effective DBT skill for helping someone with lachanophobia is half-smiling. This technique works by having you think about that which you fear or upsets you all while slightly raising the corners of your mouth by lightly smiling, thus the term “half-smiling.” Although, it isn’t enough to just think about your fear while half-smiling, you also have to try and refrain from entertaining those painful emotions that your specific fear may evoke.
Mindfulness meditation is also heavily used in DBT and can greatly benefit someone with lachanophobia as it is done in a group setting, which helps to put the patient out of their comfort zone. These group mindfulness practices may include drinking warm tea to hone in on the sense of taste and tactile senses or simply focusing on the breath.
Coping ahead is another very useful DBT skill that can help someone with lachanophobia. With coping ahead, you will want to find a place where you can sit down quietly without distraction. Close your eyes and then think about the many different possible scenarios where you would face your specific fear and overcome it or cope with it. Doing so will help you to be much better adept at coping with your lachanophobia when you are actually exposed to the specific fear associated with it in real life.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for Lachanophobia
CBT is a psycho-social intervention that aims to improve one’s mental health. It is a modality that is often used to treat people suffering from anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder and OCD. Someone with lachanophobia may also be able to benefit from CBT as well seeing as how it would allow them to have a much better understanding as to why they think and behave the way they do in relation to their irrational fears.
CBT can be immensely helpful for someone with lachanophobia given the sheer automaticity of their symptoms. For example, when someone with lachanophobia is exposed to their fear, they will almost always have an instantaneous subconscious reaction to their fear. Such a lack of introspection is likely a large part of why someone with this condition will suffer to the extent that they will. CBT can help you to take a step back and analyze your fears more deeply than you typically would.
Besides learning to be more fastidious with regards to understanding one’s specific fears, someone with lachanophobia engaging in CBT can also expect to learn various other skills aimed at helping to relieve the anxiety caused by their condition.