A study of psycho-pathology and treatment of children with phagophobia

Ayumi Okada, Chiaki Tsukamoto, Mizuho Hosogi, Eriko Yamanaka, Kumi Watanabe, Keiko Ootyou, Tsuneo Morishima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Phagophobia is a disorder characterized by a conditioned excessive fear of eating and is initiated by an event such as vomiting or choking. During childhood, vomiting often occurs as a result of infection or overeating, and painful experiences bring about maladaptive eating behavior like food refusal. There have been few reports of phagophobia, and patients have sometimes been misdiagnosed with anorexia nervosa (AN). The objective of this study was to elucidate the psycho-pathology and current treatment of patients with phagophobia by analyzing case studies. We describe 6 cases with phagophobia. Patients with strong obsessions were refractory to treatment, indicating that evaluation of premorbid personality is crucial to the prognosis. It is important to classify this disorder according to psycho-pathology into "post-traumatic type" and "gain-from-illness type" to make a treatment plan. A solution focused approach is also effective for patients and their family. Paying close attention to these conditions and to the diagnostic concept referred as "phagophobia" is useful in achieving these aims. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-269
Number of pages9
JournalActa medica Okayama
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


  • Eating disorder
  • Functional dysphagia
  • Phagophobia
  • Premorbid character
  • Solution focused approach

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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