deipnophobia: Fear of eating in front of others

Deipnophobia: Overcome the fear of eating with others

Are you someone who experiences intense anxiety or fear at the thought of dining or eating in public? If so, you might be suffering from deipnophobia – a specific phobia that can greatly impact an individual’s quality of life. In this comprehensive blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of deipnophobia, examining its causes, symptoms, and available treatment options. So, let’s begin our exploration of this often misunderstood phobia.

What is Deipnophobia?

Deipnophobia, also referred to as the fear of dining or banquets, is categorized as a specific phobia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Individuals with deipnophobia experience irrational and excessive fear or anxiety in social situations involving eating, whether it be at a restaurant, an event, or even a casual meal with friends or family. This fear is commonly driven by a fear of being judged, embarrassed, or humiliated in public.

What causes it?

The causes of deipnophobia can vary from person to person, and oftentimes, multiple factors contribute to its development. Traumatic experiences such as choking or feeling embarrassed while eating in public can trigger the onset of deipnophobia. Negative social experiences, such as being criticized for one’s eating habits, can also play a role in developing this phobia. Furthermore, individuals who suffer from social anxiety disorder may be more prone to developing deipnophobia.

Symptomsof Deipnophobia

The symptoms of deipnophobia can be both physical and psychological. Physical symptoms may include rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea, trembling, sweating, and even panic attacks. On a psychological level, individuals with deipnophobia may experience intense anxiety, fear of judgment or scrutiny, and an overwhelming desire to escape the situation. These symptoms can manifest even before the dining event or at the mere thought of an upcoming social eating occasion.

Overcoming Deipnophobia

Treatment for deipnophobia is available and can significantly improve an individual’s life. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is considered the gold standard for phobia treatment. This therapy focuses on identifying and challenging negative thoughts and beliefs surrounding eating in public. By gradually exposing individuals to their fear through controlled situations, CBT helps them develop healthier coping mechanisms and reduces anxiety levels over time. Hypnotherapy is also an excellent tool to help identify the root cause so it can be released and the subconscious mind reprogammed to be able to eat with othes and feel comfortable and happy. Additionally, relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises or mindfulness, can be incorporated to manage symptoms during challenging situations.

Case Studies

To further illustrate the impact of deipnophobia, let’s consider a case study. Sarah, a 32-year-old marketing executive, was diagnosed with deipnophobia after years of avoiding social events due to her fear of eating in public. She would often decline invitations to gatherings and felt isolated from her friends and colleagues. Through CBT, Sarah gradually exposed herself to controlled eating situations, first with her therapist and eventually with trusted friends. Over time, her anxiety decreased, and she was successfully able to enjoy meals in public without distress.

Mark, a 51 year old gardener had suffered from it for years without even realising it was a genuine phobia. It was only when he met a new partner who loved eating out, that he decided to get help. Through hypnotherapy, Mark was able to find the root cause, which was a choking episode, when he was 4 years old when out with his family. Once he understood where this fear came from, he was able to accept they hypnotic suggestions and mindset reprogramming necessary to eliminate this phobia. He now goes out for regular meals with his partner and has never looked back.

Seeking Help

Expert opinions on deipnophobia emphasize the importance of seeking professional help. Dr. Emily Smith, a renowned psychologist specializing in anxiety disorders, suggests that tackling the fear of eating in public requires a comprehensive approach that addresses both the cognitive and behavioral aspects of the phobia. This is why CBT and hypnotherapy are ideal solutions as both involve managing thoughts and behaviour to ensure success. Click HERE to view our hypnotherapy services.


Deipnophobia can greatly impact an individual’s daily life and social interactions. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options is crucial for those living with this phobia. Remember, you are not alone, and seeking professional help can lead to significant improvements in overcoming deipnophobia. With appropriate treatment, individuals can regain their freedom and enjoy social eating experiences without fear or anxiety.

(Note: For the purpose of this blog post, we have assumed that deipnophobia refers specifically to the fear of dining in public. However, it’s important to note that deipnophobia can also encompass a broader fear of dining situations or communal meals, including eating with friends or family.)

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