Age is a natural part of life and is something we are unable to stop, no matter how hard we may try. Growing old is one of the few definite things we can be sure to experience in a normal, healthy lifestyle. Although the process is inevitable, the idea of growing old may be a cause of concern in some people. Gerontophobia, also commonly called gerascophobia, is an extreme fear of growing old or elderly people in general. Whether the fear is rooted in the idea of growing older or the simple image of an elderly person, if left untreated gerascophobia may begin to negatively affect your life and eventually cause you to withdrawal yourself from many social situations.

Symptoms of Gerontophobia

Symptoms of gerontophobia are seen commonly throughout many anxiety disorders. When faced with their fear, sufferers will usually feel symptoms similar to panic attacks. These may include excessive sweating, a drop in blood pressure, shortness in breath, general anxiety and the inability to think clearly or speak normally. A fear of the elderly is usually unfounded and may cause more severe problems to occur later in life. This may include seclusion from the rest of society, in an effort to avoid the elderly, which may lead to more serious side effects like depression.

Treatments of Gerontophobia

There are several different types of treatment options available to those who are motivated in overcoming their fear of the elderly. These methods have had proven success in handling these phobias and can be done through self-help options or by seeking out a professional. It is important to find which treatment options are available near you and which would best fit your personal lifestyle. Here are a few of the most popular options:

  • Breathing Techniques: If your fear is only moderate or partially containable, learning a soothing breathing exercise may be just what you need to handle stressful situations.
  • Systematic Desensitization: A three part process that includes relaxation, understanding exactly what you fear and finally becoming more familiar with each of your fears on a personal level.
  • Flooding: A person is directly immersed in their fear until the fear subsides and the patient realizes that there was nothing to fear in the first place.

If your fear of growing old, or a severe or irrational fear of the elderly is starting to interfere with your personal life, it may be time to consider seeking out possible treatment options. Both professional treatments and self-help methods have been proven to successfully reduce this fear. During treatment, coping strategies are commonly introduced to help better deal with stressful situations. Be sure to do some research on the Internet to help find the best methods available to you. It will never be too late to overcome your fear of the old and get your life back on track.

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