A woman has told how she was unable to be intimate with her partner due to an extreme fear of coffee.
Mum-of-two Becky Marks didn’t kiss her partner for more than six months in case she came into contact with caffeine.
The mother from Cornwall also feared ‘cross-contamination’ if she kissed her children.
She was even afraid of swallowing her own saliva in case that had been contaminated and avoided all cutlery and plates – eating only sealed microwave meals, Cornwall Live reports.
Becky sought help from Nik and Eva Speakman, regular therapists on ITV’s This Morning program – and incredibly by the end of their three hour therapy session she had overcome her phobia.
At the start of her session Becky told the Speakmans: "I haven’t kissed him on the lips for six and a bit months.
"I have tried in the past [to kiss the children] but it just causes too much anxiety."
The therapists believe Becky’s phobia and contamination OCD was triggered by the traumatic loss of a premature baby girl when she was 16.
The baby only lived for a short while after birth, just 10 minutes, and Becky sought help for grief and anxiety.
She said: "All I remember is that the doctor said caffeine makes anxiety worse."
What is a phobia?
A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder, defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation.
The phobia typically results in a rapid onset of fear and is present for more than six months.
The affected person will go to great lengths to avoid the situation or object, to a degree greater than the actual danger posed.
If the feared object or situation cannot be avoided, the affected person will have significant distress.
Occasionally they are triggered by a negative experience with the object or situation.
It is recommended that specific phobias be treated with exposure therapy where the person is introduced to the situation or object in question until the fear resolves.
Medications are not useful in this type of phobia.
Specific phobias affect about 6–8% of people in the Western world and 2–4% of people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America in a given year.
Typically onset is around the age of 10 to 17. Rates become lower as people get older.
Eva Speakman said: "He told her to avoid coffee but she somehow misunderstood and blamed drinking coffee for losing her baby."
Eva revealed that at one point Becky thought touching her teeth may have contaminated them with caffeine leaving her afraid of swallowing her own saliva.
During the therapy Becky kept leaving the room to spit, until the couple were able to help Becky understand there was no real reason for her fear.
Nik told her: "It was not your fault, it was not caffeine’s fault either."
When they presented Becky with a cup of coffee at the end of just one session she was able to drink it.
This Morning airs weekdays at 10.30am on ITV.
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