Gerascophobia is an abnormal, incessant or extreme fear of growing older or ageing
Causes of Gerascophobia
Why does one fear of aging? Often, to ‘normal’ people, it may seem quite odd that one can fear such a natural phenomenon. However, the fear of getting old phobia actually tends to have deeper roots.
Most common underlying factor behind such a fear is anxiety. By nature, Gerascophobic individuals are anxious or high strung. They tend to have certain underlying health issues, which may or may not include hormonal imbalances, adrenal insufficiency, thyroid related problems and so on.
In the United States, hundreds of thousands of elderly people live alone. The fear of getting old, and being unable to care for self or falling down and not being able to get up or call out for help etc can terrify the phobic..
Getting old also means retirement, death of near and dear ones etc. The thought of losing a spouse, losing one’s income, not being able to support self or loved ones financially are depressing thoughts that may lead to the phobia.
Gerascophobia can also be attributed to firsthand or secondhand negative experiences related to aging. The phobic might have seen the difficulties faced after getting old. Possibly, his parent might have developed debilitating conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, AMD or other age related degeneration. They even might have been sent to a retirement home or required full time assistance. Growing old thus translates to becoming dependent on others, losing one’s self esteem and “being weak”. All these factors play heavily on the phobic’s mind.
Symptoms of Fear of Getting Old
Those who truly possess an excessive Fear of Getting Old will often exhibit some of the following symptoms:
- Excessive sweating
- Dry mouth
- Being overly cautious
- Heart palpitations
- Inability to speak
- Becoming angry
- A feeling of detachment from reality
- Uncontrollable shaking
- Feelings of unsteadiness