Squeezing the Fear out of Lemoniphobia
Does the sight of a ripe lemon fill you with a sense of dread? Have you ever been overcome with anxiety when lemon wedges are served as garnishes on your plate? Has the thought of eating lemon in any form sent you into a panic?
Is there a name for the fear of lemons? Yes, there is.
If you found yourself answering yes to the questions above, you may be experiencing lemoniphobia—the fear of lemons.
As strange as it may sound, the fear of lemons is a very real phobia that can cause visceral reactions in those who suffer from it. And since lemons are such an integral part of most cuisines, it’s not easy to completely avoid this citrus fruit.
Just like any other phobia, however, you can learn to manage this fear of lemons. Keep reading to learn more about what is the fear of lemons, what causes it, and how you can learn to possibly overcome it.
What Causes the Fear of Lemons?
Lemoniphobia causes may vary depending on a number of different factors. More often than not, such phobias are developed during childhood.
It may be something as simple as someone squeezing lemon juice in your eyes, which can sting. And this may have caused you to develop a fear of lemons.
You may have tried to eat a lemon when you were a toddler and were traumatized by its sour taste. Or it could be any other such experience involving lemons that may have scared you.
You may be haunted by these prior experiences or memories, which evolved into a phobia.
Everything You Need to Know about Lemoniphobia
Phobias are reactions triggered by a fear of coming into contact with an object—in this case, lemons—and they are not the same as hatred of lemons or a general dislike for their taste.
This fear of lemons might be caused by a person’s upbringing where they were raised by those who are afraid of lemons or who have passed on a fear of lemons.
Lemoniphobia falls under the umbrella of cibophobia, which is a fear of food. And on this food phobia list is also acerophobia, which is the fear of citrus fruits like lemons and sour candies. So, lemoniphobia can be considered an offshoot of acerophobia.
While this may sound like a silly thing to fear, phobias should be taken seriously as they can trigger intense reactions in people. In fact, in 2016, this fear of lemons even led to someone’s death.
Any phobia, no matter how small, can be dangerous if left untreated.
Symptoms of Lemoniphobia
The symptoms of lemoniphobia can vary greatly depending on the person experiencing this phobia. Anxiety is a major symptom of any phobia.
In extreme cases, a phobia can trigger a panic attack.
Here are some of the most common symptoms, both physical and psychological, to help you understand how your body might react if you had lemoniphobia.
- Tightness in the chest accompanied by pain
- Dry mouth
- Withdrawing from social interaction
- Fear of dying
- Fear of fainting and losing control
- Mood swings
Those with lemoniphobia may experience a few or all of these symptoms. It depends on the severity of the phobia, which can range from mild to severe.
How Do You Deal with Lemoniphobia?
Just like any other phobia, lemoniphobia is an irrational fear. Let’s take a look at some of the common lemoniphobia treatment methods.
Talk therapies such as counseling may be particularly effective in helping deal with lemoniphobia. Talk therapies are noninvasive treatments that involve talking with a qualified and experienced professional about your thoughts and feelings. For example, if you’re questioning what does a lemon have to do with fear, talk therapy will help you understand your phobia better.
There are different types of talk therapies, but they all try to help you assess your thoughts and get more clarity. They will help you:
- Identify and change problematic patterns in your thinking or behavior (if you want to)
- Resolve complex feelings and find strategies to cope with them
- Better understanding yourself
- Provide you with a safe space and time to speak to someone who will not criticize you
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps you determine whether your feelings are an appropriate response to the reality around you, and if not, helps you address and overcome them.
CBT can help you identify the root of your fear and anxiety concerning lemons and work on ways to deal with it.
Exposure therapy is a form of therapy that is known to show significant results in people dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and phobias.
A phobia causes you to avoid the object of your fear in any way, and this therapy tries to re-introduce you to the object in a safe environment. But, don’t worry; you won’t be suddenly asked to drink lemon juice. The exposure will be gradual and accommodate your level of comfort. The therapist would typically first ask you to imagine or picture a lemon, and then imagine its taste. They may then bring a lemon into the room. Eventually, you may be asked to touch or interact with the lemon.
This form of therapy will help you process your emotions about your phobia and unlearn your negative feelings, eventually helping you become comfortable with the object of your phobia.
Self-Help: What Can You Do to Help Yourself?
Self-help is also an effective way to overcome your fears. You can learn to manage your anxiety by trying different relaxation methods when you are confronted by your trigger—lemons.
Deep breathing exercises are known to help with anxieties. Talking with a family member or someone you trust can also help with your healing process. We are often not ready to accept certain issues that terrify us as we don’t want to believe it’s true. However, talking about it to someone can help you understand that your phobia exists but is also irrational.
There are numerous support groups both online and offline depending on your area of comfort and how you prefer socializing. You can talk to others going through the same thing as you, which will assure you that you are not alone. This may make it easier to overcome your phobia.
Coping with Lemoniphobia
You won’t find lemoniphobia on a list of common phobias, but that doesn’t make it any less important or irrelevant.
If you notice your fear of lemons at an early stage, you can try different self-help methods or inform a trusted friend or family member about it. You can also try slowly exposing yourself to your fears by going out with your lemonade-obsessed friends whom you trust.
However, if your psychological or physical symptoms are extreme, then consider seeking professional therapy.
Lemoniphobia is a very real phobia that can cause anxiety, stress, and a host of unpleasant physical and psychological responses. But don’t let this fear stop you from living your life. Work on ways to overcome it by asking for help from a trusted friend or family member or seeking professional help.
Overcoming your lemoniphobia will allow you to experience life from a more positive perspective without having to worry about getting triggered by this citrus fruit.