Smash Negativity Team

The Phobia of Meat: Everything You Should Know About Carnophobia

Carnophobia, The Phobia of Meat

Have you ever witnessed someone have a panic attack at the sight of meat? You might have wondered what the fuss was all about, right? The phobia of meat is very real; it’s even enough to cause anxiety attacks.

The phobia of meat, also known as carnophobia, is an exaggerated fear of meat. Most times, the smell or sight of meat produces irrational fear in certain people so much that they have to endure a painstakingly large amount of anxiety.

People with a phobia of meat find it difficult to be around meat or anyone eating meat because of the consistent and intense fear they have for meat.

This phobia is, interestingly, not caused by sympathy towards animals but by past experiences that may or may not be their own. Let’s understand carnophobia more by knowing what causes it.

Causes Of The Phobia Of Meat

Shutterbug75, Pixabay

Like any other phobia, there is no known cause for the phobia of meat but there are certain things that have been known to cause exaggerated responses to the stimulus called meat.

First of all, those who suffer from carnophobia were not born with it; it doesn’t come genetically but it can be acquired depending on the kind of environment and social interactions one is exposed to. Let’s talk about the causes below:

1. Personal Trauma: Those who suffer from a phobia of meat may have had direct contact with meat that was all bad. Bad experiences could include falling ill after eating food that contained meat or a very traumatic visit to the abattoir.

All these experiences and more could make one afraid of meat, especially when they occurred during childhood.

2. Other People’s Negative Experiences: As a child or a growing youth, we are easily influenced by those around us and therefore their experiences rub off on us in one way or another.

If the people around a person only have bad things to say about meat, then my phobia becomes a possibility.

These two are the major causes of the phobia of meat because, as previously stated, carnophobia is an intense, consistent, and exaggerated fear of meat. This fear is not because of the health risks meat poses or anything of the sort.

Symptoms Of The Phobia Of Meat

Most of the symptoms of the phobia of meat are obvious and easily detectable. The symptoms include:

1. Intense Anxiety: Merely seeing or hearing about meat can trigger intense anxiety in those who suffer from the phobia of meat. This intense anxiety may confuse those around the person at that particular time, as they might not know that the person has carnophobia.

2. Inability to Think: This is most likely going to happen to anyone suffering from carnophobia because, accompanied by intense anxiety, the person will not be able to think straight. Everything about that person then becomes nonexistent because the person is somehow not in touch with or in control of himself or herself at that time.

3. Muscle Tension: When carnophobia is triggered in someone, the muscles of that person become very tense and may feel spastic until the end of the episode.

4. Increased heart rate: This is one of the symptoms that accompanies intense anxiety and muscle tension. The heart rate of those who have a phobia of meat shoots up, which may lead to very severe health issues if not managed early.

5. Increased Breathing Rate: when the carnophobia is triggered, the person will breathe fast because he or she is losing oxygen as much as he or she is taking it in due to the intense anxiety.

6. Panic Attacks: This occurs when the anxiety becomes so severe that the person has to be hospitalized to become stable.

7. Refusal to Eat Meat: Anyone with a phobia of meat will most likely refuse meat, no matter how enticingly packaged it is. They might just tell you they are vegetarians instead of exposing their fear of meat to you.

8. Nutritional deficiency: Most people with a phobia of meat have nutritional deficiencies like iron deficiency and the like.

9. Perspiration: Excessive sweating occurs when carnophobia is triggered because the body is trying to regularize itself.

10. Shakiness: Some people who suffer from a phobia of meat just shake at the sight of meat or just hear about meat.

11. Avoid Areas Where Meat May Be: This symptom is prevalent; those who suffer from the phobia of meat try as much as possible to avoid places where meat may be, even restaurants where meat is served.

Solutions To The Phobia Of Meat

HNBS, Pixabay

Although the phobia of meat has idiopathic origins, it can be cured or suppressed by using one or more of the interventions below.

1. Anti-anxiety medications: this is not a permanent cure but a temporary one. It can help suppress the symptoms of the phobia of meat when it is triggered.

2. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT): Cognitive-behavioural therapy is a psychosocial intervention that helps people maintain a healthy mental status. It helps you take a step back to analyze your fears instead of automatically reacting to them.

3. Exposure Therapy: Exposure therapy entails exposure to that which is the primary source of the fear, little by little. This helps the person suffering from the phobia of meat to be immune to meat so much that the fear he or she has reduces and finally goes away. For this to be effective, the therapist using this method has to be very proficient in handling phobias.

4. Exercises: Aerobic exercises can go a long way in helping one control certain symptoms in their bodies. Exercises like swimming, jogging, cycling, and others can improve lung volume and capacity and help the heart be strong enough to withstand certain triggers of the phobia of meat.


The phobia of meat although an exaggerated, intense fear can be overcome, breathing exercises as simple as taking enough air in through your nose and letting it out through your mouth can go a long way in reducing the symptoms that accompany carnophobia.

Reducing your caffeine intake will help as well, and practicing meditation can help you be in more control of your body through your mind.

Sign Up for More!Subscribe to our newsletter to have first-hand access to our special offers and life tips.

More resources

Leave a Comment