If you don’t know what Pellagra is don’t feel bad, most people don’t. What’s interesting is you don’t have to fully understand something to fear it. In fact fear rarely looks at facts. If you fear Pellegra you suffer from Pellagrophobia.
For those who may be a bit confused as to what Pellagra is let me supply a brief history.
Pellagra is a disease that can be found in developing countries and was once a problem in many southern states. Many individuals were institutionalized for the disease that saw people suffer from diarrhea, dermatitis, dementia and ultimately death.
Because these individuals would become so sick it was often thought they were contagious and that their difficult death would be passed on to those who were around them.
In time it was discovered that Pellagra was a dietary disease that could be avoided and even reversed by adding niacin to an individual’s diet. In other words there is nothing to fear when it comes to Pellagra. It is neither contagious nor is it an incurable condition. Yet for all the logic we could present, fear may still be present.
What Causes Pellagrophobia
The stunning effects of Pellagra can cause some to think of the disease in terms of other conditions that may be contagious or life-threatening. For instance the dermatitis could cause an individual to believe that the illness was contagious. The nausea and diarrhea might appear like a contagious virus or bacterial infection. The onset of dementia may instill its own set of unique fears.
It is true the disease is not often found in the U.S., but the fear may stem from family stories or from the process of seeing the disease while visiting another country. Because the symptoms ultimately kill the individual who has Pellagra (unless reversed by diet) it can be easy for the phobic personality to treat this disease as something to be avoided at all costs.
Symptoms of Pellagrophobia
A person who struggled this phobia may develop obsessive/compulsive tendencies that may be noted by incessant hand washing, spraying a household disinfectant for germs and avoiding public places.
Other symptoms include…
- Air hunger
- Loss of control
- A belief that you may already have the disease
Even though this disease has not been a widespread problem in the United States in 70 years there may be some that simply feel the problem will return at any time so they need to work to ensure their own health.
How to Overcome Pellagrophobia
This is a perfect example of a fear that could be dispelled by simply learning more about the disease, how it develops, ways to avoid it and how it can be cured through dietary changes. Much of the food we consume has been fortified with added niacin to prevent this type of disease.
If you still suffer from the fear of Pellagra you may wish to visit with a therapist who can help you identify why this fear has a grip on your life and can help you learn ways to address the fear in a more constructive manner.
The fear of Pellagra is also referred to as:
- Pellagra fear
- The medical fear of Pellagra