Pocrescophobia: (An Update)

Pocrescophobia is an abnormal fear of becoming fat or gaining weight. Pocrescophobia is also known as Obesophobia.  

The word obesophobia originated from Greek words obese means ‘fat’ and phobia means ‘fear’.

A fear of putting on extra weight can become life frightening if it is not known and treated.

An individual with this fear will not eat food as his body needs leading to other psychological and health problems.

In This article we will discuss Pocrescophobia.

Like all phobias, pocrescophobia is a type of an anxiety disorder. Phobias involve an intense and unreasonable fear of a specific object, place, or situation.

You may experience overwhelming dread around situations associated with weight gain, like being near a scale.

If you have pocrescophobia, chatting or thoughts about weight gain makes you feel an exaggerated sense of anxiety.

A person suffering from pocrescophobia may get it very difficult to eat everything that is not a part of the strict diet map they follow.

They may also face a lot of problems while going out and eating at restaurants.

This fear of putting on weight can become life-threatening if not treated in time.

Pocrescophobia and Panic Attack:

Panic attack is a state of severe terror and anxiety which also include:

  •   rapid heart rate
  •   breathing difficulties
  •  weakness
  •  fainting
  •   dizziness
  •  tingling or numbness
  • excessive sweating
  •  chills
  •  feeling a loss of control
  •  chest pain

If a person with pocrescophobia happens to figure out that they have gained weight, yet just the smallest amount, they might begin to experience a panic attack.

Symptoms of Pocrescophobia:

Phobias should never be taken very lightly.

Because, all phobias can to some degree limit an individual’s daily activities and are in some cases the root cause that make someone experience anxiety and leading up all the way to depression.

Symptoms of pocrescophobia vary from one person to the other, depending upon the state of mind, level of fear, and different personality characteristics.

The fear of putting on weight may make people with pocrescophobia socially awkward and prevent them from getting into a healthy relationship with others.

Pocrescophobic people may possibly not be able to eat anything cooked by others because of the fear of false ingredients and number of calories.

These people may take their own foodstuff anywhere they go or travel.

A pocrescophobic can experience any if not all of the below mentioned physical or psychological symptoms.

Physical Symptoms of Pocrescophobia:

One can experience these physical symptoms of pocrescophobia which are as follows:

  •  excessive exercise
  •   starving
  •   sweating
  •   underweight
  •   trembling
  •  hot flashes or chills
  •  shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  •  a choking sensation
  • frequent dieting
  •  rapid heartbeat
  •  pain or tightness in the chest
  •  a sensation of butterflies in the stomach
  • counting calories all the time
  •  nausea
  •   headaches and dizziness
  •   feeling faint
  •  numbness or pins and needles
  •  dry mouth
  •  need to go to the toilet
  •  ringing in your ears
  •  confusion or disorientation
  • hyperventilation
  •  rise in blood pressure

Psychological Symptoms of Pocrescophobia:

You might experience these psychological feelings when you experience weight gain or you are in a situation that you relate with weight gain etc.

These psychological symptoms are:

  •  fear of losing control
  • fear of fainting
  • low self-esteem
  • feelings of dread
  • fear of dying
  •   less confidence
  •  fear of harm or illness
  •  guilt, shame, self-blame
  •  Withdrawing from others
  •  Feeling sad or hopeless
  •  Feeling disconnected
  •   Confusion, difficulty concentrating
  •  Anger
  •   irritability
  •   mood swings
  •    anxiety and fear

Risk Factors of Pocrescophobia:

 The main complication of pocrescophobia is an unhealthy fixation with body weight and food.

This increases the risk of developing an eating disorder, which is a serious condition characterized by dangerous eating behaviors.

Normally, a fear of obtaining weight is caused by psychological factors.

Two of the severe eating disorders which at times result due to an anxiety related to putting on extra weight are:

·         Anorexia Nervosa

·         Bulimia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa:

Anorexia Nervosa is an intense fear of weight gain. It is a condition where the person simply refuses to eat.

People may think that they are overweight, even if they are extremely underweight.  Besides pocrescophobia, common symptoms include:

  • extreme thinness
  • distorted body image
  • fixation with body weight and shape
  • very limited food intake
  • excessive exercising
  • Use of laxative or diuretics
  • forced vomiting

But anorexia nervosa doesn’t simply engage a problem with food or weight.

Anorexia nervosa can lead to serious complications similar to muscle wasting and multi-organ malfunction just because of the rigorous lack of calories. .

For people with this condition, extreme dieting and losing weight are the ways to understand underlying emotional issues.

Bulimia Nervosa:

Bulimia is a condition where the person bingeing (overeats) and then purges immediately after, usually by forced vomiting. Symptoms of bulimia nervosa include:

  • intense criticism about body weight and shape
  • intense mood changes
  • hiding food for bingeing
  • anxiety about food
  • avoiding situations that involve food

People with bulimia nervosa might be a little underweight, moderate weight, or overweight (obese).


Bingeing or binge eating is an eating disorder in which people frequently consume large amounts of food, at times up to 15,000 calories in one sitting.

They often eat when no one is around, and they might feel bound to hide and save their food.

Binge eaters don’t induce vomiting after eating and are often overweight or obese.

About 2 percent of adults in the United States suffer from binge eating disorder.

Symptoms of Bingeing:

It can be difficult to spot a binge eater by apparent look.

If one suffers from this eating disorder, he/she might be overweight or obese, or stay at his/her ultimate body weight.

The following symptoms can frequently occur personally:

  • eating large amounts of food even when not hungry
  • eating speedily
  • after eating, feeling ill
  • eating alone
  • feelings of depression and loss of control
  • awkwardness at eating around others
  • recurrent dieting without long-term weight loss


Purging is getting rid of the extra calories with one or more unhealthy behaviors, such as:

  • forced vomiting
  • excessive exercise
  • by means of laxatives or diuretics
  • fasting

In several cases, these behaviors are done to organize body weight and figure.

Causes of Pocrescophobia:

Pocrescophobia, like other phobias, emerges from a mixture of external events (traumatic events) and internal predispositions (heredity or genetics).

There are many different factors that can play a role in someone developing pocrescophobia. The most major ones are:


Genetics is one of the important reasons of pocrescophobia for someone developing it.

If an individual has a family history of mental illness, especially of phobias, eating disorder, or some sort of body dysmorphic disorder, then he/she may has an increased risk for developing pocrescophobia.

Also, if someone has the genetic makeup to develop mental illness, then it may only take a traumatic experience to develop this condition.

Traumatic Experience:

Trauma is also one of the reasons why people develop phobias. On the other hand, it is possible.

Due to a past trauma if a person develops pocrescophobia could have experienced an immense amount of weight gain, or witnessed someone close experience this.

Obesity is also a cause of numerous other health problems, and in some cases even death.

Someone who experienced the death of a loved one because of gaining weight would also be terrified of gaining weight.


In today’s society, or a culture that idealizes thinness, beauty is marked by how thin someone is.

For those persons who really get into these posts they will be terrified of gaining weight in relation to the fear of being “undesirable” or being “unwanted”.

Perfectionism might be related to the stress or pressure from family and friends.

Some individuals might also have an inherited trend for perfectionism.

Personal Experience:

People that might have had badly past experiences with gaining weight develop pocrescophobia in their later age.

However, deep insecurities, repetitive criticisms during childhood about one’s body, perceived social pressures to develop mental illness maybe enough to develop this particular phobia.

Anxiety Disorders:

Other types of anxiety disorders may contribute to pocrescophobia.

For example, pocrescophobia might stem from social anxiety disorder, which involves a fear of social rejection.

You may be afraid of gaining weight because of society’s attitude on weight gain.

Weight Stigma:

Weight stigma is a practice of judging someone based on their body appearance or weight.

In today’s society, majority of the fashion industry portrays weight gain as a flaw and praises thinness.

As a result, it can cause certain individuals to develop a fear of becoming obese or gaining weight.

Some people might also experience weight stigma by their environmental factors, like family expectations or their peer group.

Weight stigma normally discriminates against people who are overweight or obese.

Diagnosis of Pocrescophoba:

There isn’t a proper test that diagnoses the phobia of weight gain.

But, as a type of anxiety disorder, pocrescophobia can be diagnosed by a general practitioner or a mental health assistant.

To determine if you have obesophobia, a provider would do a psychological evaluation like:

  • ask questions about your symptoms
  • evaluate your eating behaviors
  • analyze your medical, psychiatric, and social history

If they feel you have an eating disorder then they will recommend you for the treatment.

Treatment of Pocrescophobia:

Treatment of pocrescophobia will also vary from one person to another. Usually, therapy is a great go to.

Various forms of therapy and medication can help get to the bottom of the phobia, as well as to treat it.

Talking Therapy:

Talking therapies usually include counseling, might be very effective at treating pocrescophobia.

Talking therapy involves talking to a well trained and expert professional about your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. This therapy helps you:

·         To recognize obstructive patterns in a way you think or act

·         To resolve complex feelings

·         To make sense of things and identify yourself healthier. 


In psychotherapy, you talk to a mental health professional about your phobia. They can help decrease your anxiety about gaining weight and improve your body shape and image.

The most common method is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT aims to classify if they are the correct representation of reality and if they are not, use strategies to challenge and conquer them.

If someone experiences pocrescophobia, by the help of CBT you could identify if the fear and anxiety experienced from gaining weight is an accurate depiction of reality and if not working on ways to change that.

Rehabilitation Center:

Rehabilitation center for eating disorders is a great way to treat pocrescophobia.

Those who have fear of gaining weight or low self-esteem, these centers offer a warm and comforting environment.


Medication is useful for treating anxiety. Usually, phobias aren’t treated with medication.

But if your doctor thinks your pocrescophobia is associated to an anxiety disorder then he can prescribe anti-anxiety drugs that include:

  • antidepressants
  • antipsychotics
  • mood stabilizers
  • beta-blockers

FAQs about Pocrescophobia 

Will I gain weight if I eat more?

In today’s world, people are busier than ever and tend to eat their meals quickly.

Unfortunately, eating quickly might be making you gain fat.

Studies show that people who eat their meals quickly are more likely to be overweight or obese.

This is because it takes time for your body to tell your brain that it is full.

Thus, people who eat quickly can easily eat more food than their body needs before feeling full.

What foods cause weight gain?

a)      Potato chips.

b)      Other potatoes.

c)      Sugar-sweetened beverages.

d)     Unprocessed red meats.

e)      Processed meat

How do I stop worrying about getting fat?

Instead of obsessing about fats, focus on healthy foods.

Eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, fish, vegetable oils, whole grains, and modest portions of dairy.

Avoid processed meats, sugary beverages, and foods high in refined grains, starches, sugars, and salt.

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