What Is the Fear of Chewing Gum?

Chiclephobia is the Fear of Chewing Gum

Teenage girl in sunglasses, blowing bubble gum
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Chiclephobia, or the fear of chewing gum, is a rare specific phobia that manifests in a variety of ways. If you're a chiclephobic, you're likely to have a fear of:

  • actually chewing gum themselves
  • coming close to a person chewing gum
  • the sight of previously chewed gum

Do I Have Chiclephobia or Just a Fear of Gum?

Chiclephobia is a diagnosable anxiety disorder. As part of her initial assessment, your therapist will compare your symptoms against the criteria for an official specific phobia diagnosis as outlined in the most recent edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association.

Symptoms of specific phobia include:

  • having a fear of a specific object or situation that is disproportionate to the actual risk
  • being aware or unaware of your unreasonable phobic reaction
  • experiencing your symptoms for at least 6 months

How Did I Get Chiclephobia?

A traumatic event during childhood is one of the reasons why you would develop chiclephobia. You could have experienced this traumatic gum incident yourself, or have seen it happen to someone else, either in person or virtually on a YouTube video or morbid cartoon show.

Some sufferers vividly remember accidentally sticking a hand in gum that was stuck to the underside of a desk at school, or having a bubble pop all over their face. You may have seen your mother choke on a piece of gum or maybe bullies threw pieces of Bazooka Joe at you on Halloween.

Fortunately, figuring out the traumatic event that causes your phobic reaction to chewing gum is not necessary for successful therapeutic treatment.

Chiclephobia Treatment

How do I know if I need treatment for chiclephobia? The general threshold for seeking help from a mental health professional for specific phobia is if your phobic reaction interferes with your work, personal life or necessary daily tasks.

During your initial visit, your therapist will ask you questions, written and/or oral, to figure out if you actually have chiclephobia or a different psychological condition, such as a fear of swallowing or choking (pseudodysphagia).

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) interventions are clinically proven to be effective and are a common part of a specific phobia treatment plan. Depending on the severity of your case, it's not unusual to meet your goals within one to three sessions.

In CBT sessions your therapist is likely to guide you through the following steps:

  1. graduated exposure to your fear in a relaxed atmosphere you control
  2. correcting your misappraisal of risk and replace

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