What is Diabetophobia?

Diabetophobia is simply the fear of diabetes disease, but taken to irrational and abnormal degrees. Diabetes mellitus is a common condition that prevents the body from processing or producing insulin properly, resulting in glucose problems in the blood and urine.  People concerned about developing diabetes will avoid eating sweets, but those with diabetophobia will go to extreme lengths to avoid carbohydrates or sweets, etc., even to the point of having a dangerous or impaired diet.

Diabetophobia is considered a specific phobia. The term originates from the disease Diabetes mellitus, which is in turn derived from the Greek word “diabetes” meaning “siphon” or “to pass through” and the Latin word “mellitus” meaning “honeyed or sweet”.

Symptoms of Diabetophobia

Phobics may seek unnecessary medical attention in order to stay “safe” from the disease.

  • extreme anxiety, dread
  • shortness of breath
  • rapid breathing
  • heart palpitation
  • excessive sweating
  • nausea
  • dry mouth
  • confusion / inability to articulate clearly
  • lack of focus
  • irritability
  • diarrhea
  • shaking
  • feelings of powerlessness
  • obsession with the subject of the phobia
  • fear or feelings of losing control
  • avoidance behavior
  • headaches

Learn more about phobia symptoms

Causes of Diabetophobia

This fear can in part be brought about by fear of needles due to the knowledge that diabetics frequently have to take injections of insulin.

People suffering from adrenal insufficiency may be prone to developing diabetophobia (as well as having attendant medical issues), giving rise to the possibility that hereditary factors may play a significant role in the formation of this phobia.

Diabetophobia is a specific (or “isolated”) phobia, centered on non-social key factors. Isolated phobias tend to have some previous trauma (often in childhood and often physically injurious) as a root cause; a fear of bees may stem from an injury in childhood, for instance.

Upbringing can also play a role, such as parental warnings about a direct threat (such as “snakes can bite and kill you”) which is especially notable in cases where a threat is more imminent. (An allergy to bees or peanut butter, for instance, would naturally reinforce a real medical concern.)

It is thought that genetics and hereditary factors may play a role in specific phobias, especially those related to a danger of injury. (A primal “fight or flight” reflex may be more easily triggered in those with a genetic predisposition, for instance.)

By contrast, social phobias (like a fear of body odor or touch) are less well understood, are driven by social anxiety and are broadly labeled as “social anxiety disorder”.

In all kinds of phobias, external experiences and / or reports can further reinforce or develop the fear, such as seeing a family member or friend who is affected. In extreme cases, indirect exposures can be as remote as overhearing a reference in conversation or seeing something on the news or on TV and movies.

Diabetophobia, like most phobias, stems from a subconscious overprotection mechanism, and as with many phobias can also be rooted in an unresolved emotional conflict.

Learn more about the causes of phobias

Treatment for Diabetophobia

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)
  • Habit strategies to relax
  • Cognitive therapy (CT)
  • In vivo exposure
  • Response prevention
  • Hypnotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Energy Psychology
  • Medication
  • Meditation

Learn more about phobia treatments


Book Shelf

The list of books below are hand picked by the staff at Massive Phobia. It's a mixture of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Habit Strategies, Trauma Healing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Buddhist Knowledge and Somatic Study. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did.