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Gerascophobia is an abnormal or incessant fear of growing older or ageing.[1] Gerascophobia is a clinical phobia generally classified under specific phobias, fears of a single specific panic trigger. Gerascophobia may be based on anxieties of being left alone, without resources and incapable of caring for oneself.[2] Sufferers may be young and healthy.

Due to humans being mortality salient, sufferers will often feel as though aging is the first sign that their immune systems are starting to weaken, which makes them more vulnerable to diseases. They view aging as a human flaw, slow-motion torture, disability or a deadly disease[3][4][5] rather than a natural progression. [6]


Sufferers are more likely to seek plastic surgery to cut and stretch wrinkles to make them look more youthful[7].

Symptoms include the fear of the future and the dread of needing to rely on others to do formerly self-possible actions in everyday life (loss of freedom and personal independence), which includes self-care, climbing stairs, crossing streets, walking, driving and carrying things.

Gerascophobists especially fear the fade of health and the loss of well-being which comes along with the aging process. This includes restricted individual mobility, the loss of body functionality (e.g. eyesight), the increased risk of cancer, the loss of fertility and potency, cognitive decline (forgetfulness, loss of remembrance (fading memories), clusminess), and the permanent loss of overall quality of life.

Many also fear they will not play an active role in society when they get older[8], thus a fading significance and the loss of sense of purpose.

Another sense of insecurity is caused by the possibility of being affected by ageism (social antipathy and reluctance against aged people) oneself one day.

The term gerascophobia comes from the Greek γηράσκω, gerasko, "I grow old" and φόβος, phobos, "fear".[9] Some authors refer to it as gerontophobia, although this may also refer to the fear of the elderly due to memento mori.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Definition of gerascophobia
  2. ^ John G. Robertson, An Excess of Phobias and Manias, p. 90.
  3. ^ 2015 StatNews article about aging
  4. ^ article by medical experts
  5. ^ Article by from December 5th 2016.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Symptoms of Gerascophobia". Retrieved 29 September 2011.
  9. ^ a b Perspectives on Aging, by Priscilla W. Johnston, 1982, ISBN 0-88410-734-5, pp. 239-241