Imagine you are an elderly person walking down the street late at night. You spot a group of teenagers hanging out on the same side of the sidewalk that you are on. The group seemed rather loud and raucous, but begins to quiet down as you approach. You lock eyes with one of the kids and suddenly begin to question your safety. Do you cross the street or do you feel like this will bring unwarranted attention towards yourself? Your body begins to tremble and your heart drops. This is a fairly common occurrence that should not create such a stressful situation. While the teens are most likely preparing to make room for you to pass through, some may fear that they will be attacked. This may be diagnosed as ephebiphobia. Ephebiphobia is an irrational or unwarranted fear of the youth, usually seen in the elderly and reinforced by negative media imagery.

Symptoms of Ephebiphobia

There are many ways in which ephebiphobia can be diagnosed. Here are a few of the most common ways to tell whether or not you or someone you know may be ephebiphobic:

  • Refusal to interact or participate with younger people regardless of the scenario.
  • Willingness to vote or go against anything that may be viewed as a positive for youths, primarily to avoid assisting any part of their “agenda.”
  • Complete avoidance of young people, regardless of the surroundings.

Symptoms usually associated with a fear of the youth are very similar to those seen in panic or anxiety attacks. Sufferers may experience a shortness of breath, nervousness, rapid heart rate or an inability to think or speak when placed in a stressful situation. While this phobia is not physically harmful, it may develop into more serious problems later in life. Without proper treatment, ephebiphobia may lead to a personal seclusion away from most of society out of a fear of youths. This seclusion may even create more serious problems, most commonly depression, in the future. Remember, there is no sense in fearing the young people in the world. You have been where they are.

Causes of Ephebiphobia

In most situations, a fear of the young is a misplaced fear in itself. Ephebiphobia is more commonly rooted in a fear of the unknown that can be increased or skewed heavily by popular media. If you feel like ephebiphobia is negatively impacting your life and you would like to make a difference, it may be time to start exploring different treatment methods. Both professional and self-help methods have had proven success in treating a fear of youth. Try doing some online research to find which treatment methods would best suit your lifestyle and help you make a positive personal change.

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