Neophobia Fear of new situations

The  Neophobia  (word derived from the néos Greek ( again ) and Phobos ( fear ) is the fear or uncontrollable phobia and consciously unfair to things or new experiences . It can manifest as a lack of willingness to try new things or break the routine.


In a high percentage of children, an innate refusal to try new foods can be observed, a phenomenon called  food neophobia since despite the fact that humans need a varied diet and are able to get used to any diet, this tendency to consider a diet is observed. threatens to have too many ingredients in the diet.

Children begin to show food neophobia from 2 years of age and, in other more serious cases, it can persist into adulthood.

Thus, it is important not to force them to eat a new food, and to incorporate them one by one, in small quantities and repeatedly.
There are cases in which it is important to offer a new food at least ten times so that it is not rejected.

Experts have found that children show more tolerance to new foods after two weeks of patient and continuous exposure.


Physical symptoms refer to all those bodily alterations that the individual experiences when they come into contact with ” the new “.

The physical anxiety response can vary in each case, but it always refers to a high increase in the central nervous system. A neophobic person may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Pupillary dilation
  • Feeling of suffocation
  • Headaches
  • Increased sweating
  • Muscle tension
  • Hyperventilation
  • Tachycardia
  • Feeling of unreality

These manifestations are accompanied by cognitive symptoms . That is to say, of a followed by thoughts of new things.


The etiological study of neophobia is based on the way in which people acquire fear responses.

It is known that there is no single cause of neophobia. Rather, it is the combination of different factors that causes the development of this psychopathology.

The main factors that have been related to Neophobia are:

1- Classic conditioning

Having experienced unpleasant situations and experiences in relation to new things can condition the experience of fear towards the new.

[alert type = ”success” icon-size = ”hide-icon”] For example, breaking the first one while playing soccer, being teased on the first day of school, or having stomach aches and vomiting when trying a new foods are factors that can contribute to the development of neophobia. [/ alert]

2- Verbal conditioning

Receiving educational styles during childhood in which the realization of new things is rejected or a high sense of danger is attributed to the novel elements can also help the conditioning of these types of fears.


The Neophobia can adequately treated through psychotherapy . Specifically, cognitive behavioral treatment is the psychological intervention that has shown the greatest efficacy.

These interventions are based on treating the three components on which the phobia affects: the behavioral component, the physical component and the cognitive component.


We list a series of guidelines to follow in order to overcome this phobia:

  • Trying something new takes courage.  And the need for courage is in itself a benefit. Once you make the decision, everything will be easier, and you will feel that trying and knowing new things is a blessing.
  • Trying something opens the possibility for you to enjoy something new . Entire careers, life trajectories, are marked by people who assume or decide to take a risk and suddenly discover a love for something that they had no idea existed.
  • Trying something new prevents you from becoming boring . Even the most routine person gets bored if he is not continually challenged in some way.
  • Trying something new forces you to move forward . We do not grow from the adoption of routine measures, which we always take or which do not require any risk. Growth seems to require taking new actions in the first place, adopting a new attitude or way of thinking, or literally taking new action . Pushing yourself into new situations, so to speak, often forces you into a beneficial change.
  • Get support or encouragement . Talk to your friends, family, and other interested people in your community.
  • When making an important decision, take breaks  that include heavy breathing, movement, and time outdoors. Sitting can be boring. Jump up, change the light, open the window, do a few spinal twists and jumps. Keep your body and mind energized.
  • Be open to the Unexpected or  Have space in your agenda for learning, following these steps we can have good results when trying to overcome Neophobia.
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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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