Panophobia or the fear of everything phobia might sound bizarre, but it does exist in the list of non-specific phobias. It is known by other names like Omniphobia or Pantophobia. Panto stands for ‘all or everything’ in the Greek language. The word ‘Panophobia’ also might have originated from The Greek God Pan. (This deity is believed to cause feelings of panic or anxiety.)
Panophobes or Panophobics, as they are known, tend to suffer from one or more different kinds of phobias which we have covered on this website. They remain in a constant state of fear believing there is ‘persistent evil’ or ‘something terrible about to happen’. Naturally, having this condition can be detrimental to one’s success and can deeply impact one’s day-to-day life.
Causes of Panophobia
As mentioned before, Panophobia can be triggered by several other phobias. The intense anxiety or fear that something terrible is about to happen can be triggered by negative news, events or traumatic episodes in the past. The person might actually turn into a Phobophobic individual, where s/he might fear anxiety itself. This becomes a vicious circle as the Panophobe believes that his/her condition can turn into something worse, thereby intensifying the symptoms of all other phobias.
Often the causes of Panophobia or fear of everything are difficult to trace, since the Panophobe cannot remember how it all started. Nobody is born with this phobia; the brain just learns to fear everything negative or that which it perceives as ‘being dangerous’.
The fear of everything phobia can be different for different people, but it generally increases over time. The sufferer can end up with hundreds of phobias thus making him afraid of intangible or tangible items or situations.
A person suffering from Panophobia can appear socially withdrawn, anxious and afraid all the time. S/he might stay away from events and interactions.
There are various physical and psychological symptoms accompanying the phobia:
- Dizziness or fainting
- Heart palpitations
- Rapid breathing
- Avoidance behavior
- Crying, screaming
These sufferers also experience an adrenalin rush all the time as they are constantly on the alert. This may be followed by a period of fatigue or ‘crash’ that leaves him/her drained.
There is good news for those suffering from Panophobia. It is a curable condition and many therapies like Hypnotherapy, gradual desensitization etc are known to help.
- Most therapists use Gradual desensitization to slowly re-introduce the phobic to objects or situations s/he is afraid of. When done in a controlled environment, the phobic gradually learns to dispel his fears. S/he also learns to rationalize fearful or anxious thoughts into positive ones.
- In other extreme methods, the Panophobe is given adrenalin boost and then guided through the fear response caused by a particular situation. This helps the phobic avoid the “fight or flight” response that his mind is constantly attuned to on account of perceived “danger all around”.
- Energy therapies like mind-body Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation, positive visualization or affirmations are also encouraged as part of the overall therapy for treating Panophobia.
- Neuro Linguistic Programming is another beneficial therapy that can help the Phobic become more aware of how the brain creates reality. This can help the Panophobe overcome the preconceived notions.