Readings — From the March 2016 issue

Never Never Man

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From “Severe Growing-Up Phobia,” a paper that was coauthored by Laurencia Perales Blum and published in Case Reports in Psychiatry, in 2014. The paper discusses a Mexican boy who suffered from gerascophobia, a fear of aging.

The patient is a fourteen-year-old adolescent whose problem started two and a half years ago because of an excessive fear of growing. He does not eat much because food contains nutrients needed for physical development. Due to the restriction in food intake, he has a weight loss of more than twelve kilograms. He adopted a stooped posture to hide his height and began to distort his voice, using lower volume and higher pitch. He has also been searching the Internet to learn how not to ejaculate. He is greatly concerned with the development of secondary sex characteristics. Every time he notices a physical change that indicates that he is growing, he feels fear and anxiety to the point that he has considered undergoing multiple surgeries. If people tell him that he is taller or older, he becomes extremely upset and cries. The patient argues that the expectations adults face are excessive: getting a partner, being independent, and having more responsibility and financial solvency. Once he ages, he is more likely to get sick and die. He feels that the requirements of adult life are overwhelming. Psychotherapy has been provided.

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