Algophobia (from the Greek: ἄλγος, álgos, "pain" and φόβος, phóbos, "fear") is a phobia of pain - an abnormal and persistent fear of pain that is far more powerful than that of a normal person. Algophobia is much more common in elderly people. It can be treated with behavioral therapy and anti-anxiety medication.
According to behavioral psychologists, the phobic reaction is a learned behavior. A common example of this would be an elderly person who hears about all of their friends suffering from various ailments and pains. This person will begin to anticipate the problems and experience the results before anything actually happens to them. People suffering from this probably have hyperalgesia.
The Fear of Pain Questionnaire (currently the FPQ-III) has been used to test for Algophobia in the past, and was found to have good internal consistency and test-retest reliability.
- McNiel, D. & Rainwater, A (1998). Journal of Behavioral Medicine. Volume 21, Number 4.
- Barker, R. L. (1992). Fear and Phobias. Mental Health and the Elderly: A Social Work Perspective, 271.
- Casselman, William (1998). A Dictionary of Medical Derivations: The Real Meaning of Medical Words. The Parthenon Publishing Group. p. 20. ISBN 1-85070-771-5.
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