We know that in most countries products that contain poison are to be properly labeled. We also know that there are poison control centers that can help in the event of an accidental poisoning. Those who have an unnatural fear of poison are said to suffer from Toxiphobia.
Poison is used to control pest populations, used in fertilizer and in common household cleaners to affect comprehensive cleaning action. The trouble with a toxiphobe is they believe that they may be the one poisoned by these products designed for other more helpful uses.
What causes the fear of poison?
An overly protective parent or guardian may have inadvertently instilled a sense of horror related to anything poisonous. It may have been that their behavior was actually a learned response from someone they trusted when they were younger.
It is also possible that a sense of obsession could have created an atmosphere where fear was allowed to bloom early and often. Obsession can lead to compulsive behaviors that can also add to any underlying fear you may have.
The media can also contribute to the fear by showing images and descriptions of poisonings. Because poisoning is really a very small problem in the United States it often receives significant press when detected. This can lend to the idea that poisonings are common and perhaps even unavoidable leading to a sense of depression in one who fears.
Another broad category of those who may fear being poisoned is someone who may have actually been poisoned and survived. They may fear the feelings and pain they may have endured during a time when they weren’t sure what would happen to them.
Symptoms of Toxiphobia
One of the primary symptoms associated with this phobia is suspicion. The individual may have little trust when it comes to the products they consume. They may develop a sense of trust with a grocery store, but may never eat out. They may not trust friends enough to allow them to cook for them or bring them a drink. They will be very hands on and personal when it comes to the things they place in their bodies.
Other symptoms may include…
- Air hunger
- Elevated heart rates
- Panic attack
- A sense of paranoia
In the mind of a toxiphobe everything has the potential to kill through poisoning.
How to Overcome Toxiphobia
This fear can be treated by a qualified therapist who understands how to blend information with understanding. They can equip their patient with knowledge about poisons and why it may not be healthy to obsess over the potential for poisoning.
By understanding why certain poisonous elements are not likely to be found in food or drink a toxiphobe can begin to see their fears calm down a bit while their trust in others increases.
The predominant advise we can give is to seek help for your phobia and find a better way to engage life without fear.
The fear of poison is also referred to as:
- Fear of being poisoned
- Poison fear