BETHESDA, Md. (CBSDC) — A new report finds that a 14-year-old boy from Mexico is suffering from an excessive fear of aging or growing up — a phobia known as gerascophobia.
The report, published on the National Institutes of Health website, states that the boy’s problems began more than two years ago because of an excessive fear of growing.
“He does not eat much because according to his own research food contains nutrients needed for physical development; in addition, he adopted a stooped posture to hid his height and began to distort his voice, using lower volume and higher pitch than usual, and he has also been searching the Internet to learn how not to ejaculate,” the report reads.
Researchers found that the boy lost more than 26 pounds because he would not eat.
“Although he believes that this fear is grossly excessive, he argues that the expectations that adults face are excessive: getting a partner, being independent, and having more responsibility and financial solvency,” the report reads. “He also believes that once he reaches that age, he is more likely to get sick and die, all of which are very overwhelming.”
The boy has also suffered from a troubled past, being diagnosed with separation anxiety disorder when he was 5; being sexually abused by a neighbor at the age of 6; and being consistently bullied in the sixth grade.
The child began seeing a psychologist over two years ago to deal with his phobia and then was referred to Autonomous University in northern Mexico to continue his treatment.
“Therapy was aimed at improving family functioning, increasing the understanding and support among its members, unfocalizing the symptomatic patient, and increasing the skills of problem solving and coping techniques,” the report reads. “Emphasis was placed on the strengths that the family has and the interactions that occur between its members. The mother tended to infantilize the patient, while the father tried to get away from him.”
Therapy and medication have helped the boy, as the report states he currently has an “upright posture and a natural tone of voice.” The boy is also eating again, gaining 13 pounds.
The report found that there were only two other cases of gerascophobia, both in adults.
The study was published in Case Reports in Psychiatry.