Teria: a disorder in which eating becomes a phobia

Teria It is the new name to describe the disorder of avoidance or restriction of food intake. It consists of a restrictive diet that has nothing to do with the fear of gaining weight. There is also no distortion of body image. The avoidance goes through a dislike or fear of food, or choking or vomiting.

It should not be confused with food neophobia, which is a normal stage in the growth of children and consists in the refusal to try new foods. Nor with tricks or whims. According to Juana Poulisis, a psychiatric doctor, "It is very important to understand that someone with teria is not a capricious or selective. It is a psychiatric disorder, behind there are biological traits and it is related to the functioning of the brain: something generated habits and food selections. ”

It is also important to clarify that this disorder does not have its origin in the difficulty of acquiring food or in cultural or religious practices.


The disorder can occur in three different ways:

1. How avoidance or disgust by the characteristics of the food, for example its flavor, color, smell, texture, temperature, etc.

2. How fear of choking or throwing up which is not related to functional alterations, for example reflux.

3. For one lack of interest in eating or feeding.

The age of onset of the disease is around 9 years and is common in both girls and boys. It can also occur in conjunction with other pathologies, such as anxiety disorders, panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder, but association with depression is not common, as it does in other eating disorders.


The malnutrition and vitamin and mineral deficit They are your biggest risks. Depending on the degree of restriction and weight loss, patients may be forced to receive artificial feeding with probes or to the use of supplements, which often end up aggravating the psychiatric condition.

Malnutrition itself can lead to growth problems, interruption of menstruation or the absence of its manifestation, fatigue, anemia, fatigue and cardiovascular problems. The disease also alters interpersonal and family relationships, generates isolation, family discussions during lunch, poor school performance, etc.


First, by consulting with a specialist in eating disorders that may, over time, arrive at the diagnosis and put together an interdisciplinary team. As in any disease, knowing the name and what it is is key to knowing how to handle it.

Part of the treatment consists in the repeated exposure of the patient to the rejected food, and this requires that the parents be patient and able to understand and respect the rhythm of the disease, without forcing or forcing the children to eat. The specialists also advise to maintain a relaxed and pleasant climate during the family meal, avoiding discussions and tense moments so as not to increase the rejection of food.