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"Fear of everything" redirects here. For the 2011 british film, see A Fantastic Fear of Everything.

Panphobia, omniphobia, pantophobia, or panophobia is a vague and persistent dread of some unknown evil.[1] Panphobia is not registered as a type of phobia in medical references.


The term panphobia was first coined by Théodule-Armand Ribot in his 1911 work The Psychology of the Emotions.[2] He defined it as "a state in which a patient fears everything or nothing, where anxiety, instead of being riveted on one object, floats as in a dream, and only becomes fixed for an instant at a time, passing from one object to another, as circumstances may determine." The term comes from the Greek πᾶν - pan, neuter of "πᾶς" - pas, "all"[3] and φόβος - phobos, "fear".[4] The Greek root word pan (ex. pan-ic) describes "the unpleasant state inflicted by the intervention of the god Pan."[2] Pan is characterized as a human-animal hybrid who "appeared as the agent of panic fear (that collective, animal-like disorder that seizes military camps at rest, especially at night) and of a form of individual possession (panolepsy)."[5] According to Herodotus, it was Pan who was able to lead the Athenians to victory in the Battle of Marathon, forcing the Persians to flee.[2] It has been argued that pantophobia may actually be considered the more accurate name to describe the non-specificity associated with a fear of all.[2]


There is no specific phobia in the DSM-5 which provides criteria for an all-encompassing fear of everything, though the defining symptom for Generalized Anxiety Disorder in this manual is "excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation) about a number of events or activities." Relevant academic literature may point to panphobia as merely a piece of a more complex state of mental disorder. Pseudoneurotic schizophrenia may be diagnosable in patients who, in addition to panphobia, also exhibit symptoms of pananxiety, panambivalence, and to a lesser extent, chaotic sexuality.[6] These persons differ from generalized anxiety sufferers in that they have "free-floating anxiety that rarely subsides" and are clinically diagnosable as having borderline personality disorder in the DSM-IV-TR. No significant changes related to this personality disorder were made in transitioning to the DSM-5, suggesting the diagnostic criteria are still appropriate.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dorland, W. (2007). Dorland’s medical dictionary for health consumers. Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier. 
  2. ^ a b c d Papakostas, Y. G.; Eftychiadis, A.; Papakostas, G. I.; Christodoulou, G. N. (2003). "A Historical Inquiry into the Appropriateness of the Term 'Panic Disorder'". History of Psychiatry 14 (2): 195. doi:10.1177/0957154X030142004.  edit
  3. ^ πᾶς, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  4. ^ φόβος, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
  5. ^ Jones, Lindsay. "Encyclopedia of Religion". Gale, Cengage Learning. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  6. ^ Sadock, Benjamin James Sadock ; Virginia Alcott (2007). Kaplan & Sadock's synopsis of psychiatry : behavioral sciences/clinical psychiatry (10th ed. ed.). Philadelphia: Wolter Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 479. ISBN 078177327X. 
  7. ^ "Highlights of Changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5" (PDF). American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved 9 April 2014.