Published on October 12, 2023

What’s Obesophobia and How Do You Keep it at Bay?

by Psych Times Staff

Obesophobia, often referred to as pocrescophobia or phagophobia, is a mental or physical problem that is not well-known or well-defined. However, it may also be used popularly to refer to a worry or dread about gaining weight or being fat. It’s important to note that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does not list “obesophobia” as an acknowledged mental disease.
Many people aim to cut fat with these pills, as they believe in their potential to assist in shedding unwanted pounds and achieving a leaner physique.

It may be more realistic to refer to someone who is experiencing worry or fear over their weight or body image as having a particular phobia, a disorder of body image, or an eating disorder like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. The symptoms of these diseases might include anxiety over gaining weight or becoming overweight.

It is advised to get assistance from a mental health expert to address issues with body image, weight, and anxiety. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and suggest the best course of action. Different forms of therapy may be used during treatment, including:

1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

CBT is a common and effective method for treating phobias and anxiety. It helps find and challenge irrational thoughts and beliefs about body image or weight issues. A popular and highly effective type of psychotherapy that emphasises the interaction between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

In CBT, individuals work with a trained therapist to identify and challenge negative thought patterns and beliefs that contribute to emotional distress or problematic behaviour. By gaining insight into these cognitive distortions and developing healthier ways of thinking, CBT empowers people to make positive changes in their lives. CBT is evidence-based and has been successfully used to treat a wide range of mental health issues, including anxiety disorders, depression, phobias, and more. It offers practical tools and strategies to help individuals improve their mental well-being and achieve their therapeutic goals.

2. Exposure Therapy:

Exposure therapy includes exposing patients to the events or stimuli that make them anxious one at a time. Exposure therapy may aid people with body image issues in facing and controlling their anxiety linked to gaining weight.

A specific type of cognitive-behavioral treatment called exposure therapy is made to help people face and overcome their own phobias, fears, or agonies. It works by gradually exposing people to the dreaded stimuli or events in a beneficial way, according to the notion of systematic desensitisation. People can address their worries as a result of this exposure, discover that their fears are frequently irrational, and create healthy coping mechanisms. Treatment for disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), certain phobias, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) has proven to be quite successful when using exposure therapy. By lessening the influence of fear and anxiety, it gives people the ability to recover control over their lives.

3. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (behave):

ACT encourages people to behave in accordance with their beliefs and aspirations regardless of their concerns about their weight or body image by focusing on mindfulness and accepting one’s thoughts and feelings.

A new treatment strategy called acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) combines mindfulness strategies with components of cognitive-behavioral therapy. Instead of seeking to suppress or control thoughts and feelings, ACT focuses on assisting people to accept them without passing. The objective is to promote mental flexibility so that people may live more fulfilling lives by identifying their values and deciding to engage in activities that are consistent with those values. ACT emphasises the importance of being present at the moment, identifying one’s thoughts and feelings, and making decisions that encourage personal growth and well-being. It is particularly useful for disorders including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and stress.

4. Support Groups:

People who have challenges with their body image and weight often find a feeling of connection and understanding in support groups. It might be helpful to exchange experiences and ways to deal with other people who have the same worries.

5. Medication: 

A psychiatrist or physician may occasionally recommend medication to treat anxiety or depressive symptoms that may go along with body image and weight-related worries. This is necessary for the person who is involved in his phobia. 


If you or someone you know is battling with issues connected to body image or fear of gaining weight, it’s imperative to speak with a mental health expert for a suitable diagnosis and personalised treatment plan. Keep in mind that asking for assistance is a constructive step towards enhancing mental and emotional well-being. We have to follow these steps to overcome this fear or phobia. 

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