Wed, Mar 30, 2016 - Page 5 News List

Panic attacks over red apples prompt woman to seek aid

Staff writer, with CNA

A woman who has a deep-seated fear of red apples does not know what is wrong with her, but she is hoping to find an answer after suffering another panic attack in Japan.

The 37-year-old woman, surnamed Huang (黃), said she has a phobia of red apples, but not of green ones.

She was on a group tour in Japan when the guide forgot her request to never allow her to see a red apple and handed an apple to a child standing near her, she said.

The child’s first bite of the red apple gave the woman, who was just 2m away, a tremendous shock, she said.

Huang said she sought support against a column, feeling dizzy and breathless, and took medicine she carries with her at all times to ease discomfort.

Huang said she has had at least five such incidents.

Huang said she was never exposed to apples at home when she was young because her parents disliked them and she had a bad reaction when she first saw a red apple in kindergarten when the teacher handed out a red apple to each child in the class.

She said she got goose bumps and felt tightness in her chest, prompting the teacher to seek medical assistance.

In high school, a classmate teased her by eating a red apple in front of her and she passed out on the spot, waking up in a hospital emergency room.

When she was 18, she was waiting for a friend at a park in Kaohsiung when somebody near her ate a red apple.

“I passed out immediately because I inadvertently took a glance and woke up in an emergency room again,” she said.

“I really cannot bear to see people eat a red apple in front of me. The nearer the distance, the greater the effects,” she said.

Taichung Veterans General Hospital psychiatrist Lin Ben-tang (林本堂) said fear of a specific color occurs because something is wrong with the patient’s neural transmission, and the symptoms can be eased with treatment.

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