Medical Definition of Cryophobia

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Cryophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of cold, including cold weather and cold objects. Sufferers from cryophobia experience anxiety even though they realize their fear is irrational. To avoid cold, they may live in a warm climate, dress more warmly than necessary, stay indoors on cold days, and avoid cold foods and ice cubes.

"Cryophobia" is derived from the Greek "kryos" (cold, frigid) and "phobos" (fear). "Kryos" has given us English words such as "cryometer" (a thermometer for measuring very cold temperatures) and "cryotherapy" and "cryosurgery" (medical techniques that freeze and destroy diseased tissue). Related term: Thermophobia, fear of heat.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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