Gerascophobia and the Psychology of Aging

how to treat gerascophobia

While The American Psychological Association currently only recognizes 100 phobias, it is estimated that there are actually over 500 phobias in existence throughout the world. One of the most intriguing – particularly in light of the beauty and youth obsessed age in which we live – is Gerascophobia. Gerascophobia is simply defined as the fear of getting old. While getting older is inevitable, some of us deal with our extrinsic ideals in a very different way to others. Indeed, most people wouldn’t likely admit to being excited about growing older and we all worry about the changes that come with the aging process. However, for some people, this may be a genuine fear. Gerascophobia is a fear that may significantly affect your day-to-day life and may even prohibit you from living the happy life you deserve.

Causes of Gerascophobia

There are underlying causes or factors linked to the psychological issues people experience. Typically, gerascophobic individuals are prone to anxiety, and many also have underlying health concerns, such as thyroid related problems, adrenal insufficiencies, and hormonal imbalances.

Alongside this, there may be societal factors that contribute to people believing growing old is a bad thing. For example, getting older for some people may mean living alone, losing their independence, or losing loved ones. These potentially drastic and tragic changes to their lifestyle may trigger irrational fears to develop in people who are already sensitive to the idea of death.

Additionally, gerascophobic individuals may develop a fear of old age through having first-hand negative experiences of ageing or death. Witnessing their parents or people close to them suffering as a result of ageing may contribute to the fear of being subjected to similar conditions later in life.

Symptoms of Gerascophia

While symptoms vary from person to person, the most common symptoms of gerascophobia are listed below:

  • Feeling separated from reality
  • Anxiety attacks and feeling breathless
  • Sweating, dry mouth, shaking
  • An inability to think clearly
  • The constant fear of dying

Treatment for Gerascophobia

If you or someone you know is actively suffering from gerascophobia, rest assured that there are actions you can take to conquer your fear if the issue is approached in the right way. While some choose to fight the causes of ageing by exploring body modifications, such as fat transfer surgery in London or elsewhere, getting to the root of the problem may help to change the way you think about the issue.  Modern cosmetics may offer a superficial solution to the problem, but psychotherapeutic treatment and cognitive behavioural therapy may prepare individuals to tackle their fears directly.

As with all issues cooncerning your physical health or mental wellbeing, it is important to get in touch with your GP and research the best form of specialist care for your particular situation. By attending therapy and counseling, there is an increased probability that people with gerascophobia will be able to alter their mind-set and better understand how their fears may have manifested in the first place.

Treatments available to individuals experiencing gerascophobia include anti-anxiety medication, psychotherapy, behavioural therapy and other relaxation techniques. The support of loved ones may also play a significant role in helping to reduce other anxiety related issues, as can self-help techniques such as meditation, positive visualization and yoga.

Image courtesy of rach.321

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