Mageirocophobia does not refer to the typical “bad cook”. These are not people who avoid cooking because they do not like to, or they think it is too much work, or they think their food will taste nasty. No, these are the people who are legitimately, deathly afraid of cooking. It is possible to have a legitimate fear of cooking, and these people have it.
This also involves several types of cooking, from using boiling water on a stove top to baking in the oven.
Symptoms of Mageirocophobia
Symptoms of Mageirocophobia will vary from person to person depending upon their state of mind and level of fear when it comes to cooking. General symptoms include stubbornness (refusal to cook), avoidance of kitchen or anywhere else where cooking would occur, and an overall anxiety, fear, uncomfortable feeling, and dislike of anything involving cooking.
If a person is around someone who is cooking, is shown a picture or video involving cooking, is talked to about cooking, or is forced to cook and they have Mageirocophobia, a panic attack may set in. While these are not super common when it comes to phobias, they do happen. Panic attacks, overall, are states of extreme anxiety or terror that last for brief periods of time, but have their own set of severe (mostly physical) symptoms. These include rapid heart beat, difficulty breathing, tingling or numbness in the hands, weakness, fainting, dizziness, feeling a loss of control, excessive sweating, chills, and chest pain.
Causes of Mageirocophobia
Causes, like symptoms, will vary from person to person. Some people can also develop phobias with no direct cause at all. Most often, though, phobias are caused by a trauma which usually occurs during childhood. For instance, as a child, the sufferer’s house or kitchen may have caught on fire due to a cooking accident. They could have also been burned by a stove top, oven rack, hot grease, etc. Any number of things can go wrong in the kitchen.
Fear of other things, such as fire or heat, could also lead a person to fear cooking. Again, though, phobias can also be born out of general nervousness or insecurity in the kitchen. If a person truly believes that they have no knack for cooking, then they will do everything in their power to avoid it. This avoidance could then turn into a fear.
Treatment for Mageirocophobia
Just like with the previous two sections, the best treatment option depends on the individual. Generally, therapy will work for any type of phobia. Cognitive-behavioral therapy changes the way a person thinks about and reacts to a stimulus, in this case, cooking. It also helps both parties involved (psychologist and patient) to get a better understanding of the reason behind the phobia. Shock or exposure therapy also helps because it forces a person into the situation and desensitizes them to it.
Medication is also useful for anxiety, especially during panic attacks. Other medications can also be used to treat various symptoms of panic attacks, such as rapid heart beat or difficulty breathing. Relaxation techniques, such as breathing, yoga, listening to music, etc. are also helpful in reducing anxiety and its symptoms.
Lastly, taking cooking classes are great ways for people to get over their fear of cooking. They can practice under supervision and know that they are both safe and getting better at what they fear while also getting over it.