Eating In Public Anxiety: What To Do About It?

Ever stress out while chowing down on a salad at a Sunday brunch? Feel your nerves percolate in the process of putting your fork down on that first delicious, delectable piece of dessert pie? Ever become so overwhelmed and overcome with eating in public anxiety, without the slightest hope of stopping it?

Eating in Public Anxiety

It’s an unfortunate phenomenon, but not one which is actually all that uncommon. You see, this form of specific food anxiety and social phobia is so common, that there’s actually a ubiquitous word for it: deipnophobia. The worst part is that this is often a phobia which is internalized young, and implicitly or explicitly learnt from a very young age as well.

In a 2022 study examining hundreds of different deipnophobia sufferers, 34.7% of them reported that they suffered from the fear due to very strict socialization in childhood. (Japan Times). Parents, teachers, and other authority figures alike, many of whom misguidedly pressured their children to overeat and not leave anything behind on their plate, whether they were full or not full.

Through my personal coaching work, I’ve come to intimately understand how many of my clients’ emotional eating struggles are informed by traumas, pain, and lingering psychological adversities that they’ve spent years struggling to overcome. Whether it’s deipnophobia or another sort of food anxiety you’re struggling to overcome, the process of overcoming these simply cannot begin without identifying the hidden emotional roots propelling this anxiety.

Bearing that information in mind, here’s what you should know about identifying deipnophobia, and how you can begin to uproot the painful emotional drivers behind that deipnophobia.

What Is Deipnophobia?

Woman eating spaghetti

Deipnophobia is a specific form of social anxiety that entails a person feeling anxiety eating in public. It’s unknown how prevalent it truly is, but here in the US, nearly one in five adults are believed to suffer from an anxiety disorder in some capacity (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Deipnophobia isn’t purely an anxiety centered directly around eating. Instead, it can be more accurately characterized as an anxiety around the social aspects relating to eating with other people. It can make table talk feel all the more unpleasant, uncomfortable, and difficult to get through when you feel an overwhelming anxiety, pressing down on you like an overwhelming, burdening weight. 

Here’s how that heavy anxiety manifests in cases of deipnophobia.

Deipnophobia is a specific form of social anxiety that entails a person feeling anxiety eating in public. It’s unknown how prevalent it truly is, but here in the US, nearly one in five adults are believed to suffer from an anxiety disorder in some capacity (National Alliance on Mental Illness).

Deipnophobia isn’t purely an anxiety centered directly around eating. Instead, it can be more accurately characterized as an anxiety around the social aspects relating to eating with other people. It can make table talk feel all the more unpleasant, uncomfortable, and difficult to get through when you feel an overwhelming anxiety, pressing down on you like an overwhelming, burdening weight. 

Here’s how that heavy anxiety manifests in cases of deipnophobia.

Deipnophobia Symptoms

Deipnophobia symptoms are reminiscent of typical social anxiety symptoms, and may concurrently occur as a byproduct of social anxiety disorder. This could manifest into a myriad range of symptoms causing you tension at the restaurant table, including:

  • Fear of judgment
  • Shame and embarrassment
  • Feeling avoidant of eating in public
  • Eating in public anxiety
  • Heart palpitations
  • Nausea and sickness
  • The perception of feeling trapped

To quote legendary designer Elsa Schiaparelli, Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.”

You deserve far better than to have your morale disturbed at the time when you should be at your most relaxed. That’s why I’d be proud to help you defeat deipnophobia through my ten-week, three step, client approved Ultimate Freedom Approach. 

Deipnophobia Treatments

Brunch at a restaurant - eating in public anxiety

You could go about treating your deipnophobia through the two different avenues you would use to treat most other forms of anxiety – via medication treatment, or through behavioral therapy, to actively observe and readjust the patterns of the mind. 

Clinical research suggests that cognitive behavioral therapy and medication have roughly equivalent efficacy as therapeutic mental health treatments.

(National Library of Medicine)

One of these approaches may individually do the trick, or you might need to use both of them in tandem to reap the most reward. Personally, when it comes to deipnophobia, I prefer utilizing cognitive behavioral therapy strategies to promote salient, proactive subconscious shifts which can, in turn, lead to positive proactive action.

Whether it’s food obsession, or an obsessive fear of people judging you for eating in public, I want to help you overcome your emotional eating obstacles – one by one, step by step!

Generalized Eating Anxiety

If you want to figure out how to kick food anxiety to the curb, and how to start eating more intuitively and mindfully, I’d be delighted to help you do that! 

Want to learn more? Book a 1:1 Clarity Call now to find out how the Ultimate Freedom Approach could help you defeat your deipnophobia – once and for all!

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