Advertising gimmick instead of clinical picture. Cenosillicaphobia initially makes one think of an anxiety disorder. In fact, however, it is a term created in the beverage industry that provides amusement and good sales. The fear of the empty glass seems to be particularly widespread among beer and wine lovers.
What is cenosillicaphobia? Meaning, definition, explanation
The term cenosillicaphobia is formed according to the name for well-known fears such as arachnophobia or verbophobia. These are specific phobias that are triggered by a particular object or situation. In the case of arachnophobia by spiders, in the case of verbophobia by the written, spoken, heard or thought word. Accordingly, cenosillicaphobia refers to the fear of empty glasses.
Similar to medical names for anxiety, the term cenosillicaphobia is composed of various word parts taken from ancient Greek and/or Latin. In the case of cenosillicaphobia, there are three:
- kenos (Greek) = empty
- silex (Latin) = pebble
- phobos (Greek) = fear
If we understand silex as the quartz from which glass is made, we thus get the fear of empty glass as the meaning for cenosillicaphobia.
Origin of the term cenosillicaphobia
The term cenosillicaphobia can be traced back on the Internet to the early beginnings of this millennium. Since 2001, it has apparently enjoyed great popularity, especially among friends of beer and wine culture. And their suppliers. People like to speak self-deprecatingly of the fear of the empty beer or wine glass, and many a brewer and vintner, as well as one or two bars, spur customers on to consumption with the highfalutin scientific name for the worry about the lack of replenishment. The comical effect results from the tension between the name classification as an anxiety disorder requiring therapy and the actually harmless wish that drinking should continue.
Symptoms of Cenosillicaphobia
In line with its definition as an anxiety condition, cenosillicaphobia is also readily attributed with corresponding symptoms. For example, the nervous look at the glass or the bartender, a dry feeling in the throat, increased thirst. Again, there is a grain of truth in this: Those who haven’t had enough yet keep an eye on whether supplies are needed, and where they can come from. Of course, this has little to do with the actual symptoms of a specific phobia. These include rising blood pressure, racing heart, shortness of breath, sweating, hot flashes, shivering, disorientation and fainting, as well as the feeling of shame and helplessness and the fear of being hurt or killed in the course of the panic attack. While sufferers of a true phobia often withdraw into isolation out of fear of the trigger, health and social consequences, cenosillicaphobia has a distinctly social side. While one may experience the fear of the empty glass while enjoying it at home, it becomes entertaining in a group setting and invites people to continue drinking together!
Causes of Cenosillicaphobia
While actual phobias have their cause in a mixture of often distant traumatic experiences, behavior learned in childhood, heredity, and chemical processes in the brain, the development of cenosillicaphobia apparently progresses far more rapidly. All it takes is a single experience of a dwindling supply of beer or wine in the glass and a single mention of the phobia by well-meaning producers, bartenders or fellow drinkers to set the fear of the empty glass in motion. A change in brain chemistry is then more likely to occur in the course of combating the fear, namely when enough alcohol alters thinking.
Treatment of Cenosillicaphobia
Fortunately, cenosillicaphobia can be remedied as quickly as it occurs. The promise of enough refills and a refill of the glass are usually enough to spare the sufferer more severe symptoms. While true phobias must be treated with cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, hypnotherapy, energy therapy and, if necessary, medication to deal with or even overcome the fear, in the case of cenosillicaphobia, treatment is in fact rather counterproductive. Typically, neither those directly affected nor brewers, winemakers, and innkeepers desire a definitive end to the condition. The aim is only to temporarily calm the fear; a resurgence when the glass empties again is quite desirable.
While in the case of real phobias various relaxation techniques, information about causes and symptoms of the fear as well as an exchange with affected persons can provide relief, these measures seem to have rather an opposite effect in the case of cenosillicaphobia. The more those affected know about it and exchange information about it, the greater the fear of an empty glass and the urge to refill it as quickly as possible. In the case of alcoholic beverages, the relaxation occurs at best as a consequence.
Cenosillicaphobia is therefore not a medical anxiety disorder. If it is, it is probably extremely rare and has not been researched, as there is no relevant literature on the subject. The term appears exclusively around breweries, wineries, the hospitality industry, and friends of social drinking. The comical side of fake fear may not be recognized by all those affected by actual phobias. However, this is not the first time that a comical side has been wrested from the phenomenon of fear, especially in the environment of the Internet. The quite real fear of long words, with correct name Sesquipedalophobia, circulates in the Internet jokingly under the monstrously long designation Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia. In contrast, cenosillicaphobia does not include a medical condition worthy of treatment from a medical point of view.