There’s no NEVERLAND. It never existed in the real world, but there’s this kid who doesn’t want to grow up.
This 14 year-old boy’s diagnosis is UNBELIEVABLE! The diagnosis came after the youth manifested an extreme weight loss related to reducing food intake in order to prevent physical growth.
He was then diagnosed with, gerascophobia or an unnatural FEAR OF AGEING.
This Mexican boy is probably the first child reported to have gerascophobia. Researchers said, the teenage boy having an excessive fear of ageing feels that his body’s development is a major threat to the point that he took extreme measures to halt or to hide growth.
He had a history of separation anxiety, sexual abuse (by a neighbor at the age of 6), and was a victim of bullying. He presented with anxious and depressive symptoms and food restriction, criticized his body image, had negative feelings towards the maturation process, suffered at the thought of being rejected, and was preoccupied with certain physical characteristics.
Back when he was 11 years old, he started to show symptoms of this disorder. Other than limiting his food intake, he is trying so hard to distort his voice to make it sound high pitch and stoops to make himself appear shorter than he was.
Researchers reported that the boy’s case is quite difficult, the fact that his mother is also treating him like a very young boy, providing “excessive care” like; singing lullabies and choosing his clothing everyday.
Unsurprisingly, without support at home, therapy for the young man with a psychologist failed. Hence, he was referred to the Autonomous University of Nuevo León, in northern Mexico.
However, not all experts reviewing the case are sold on the diagnosis of gerascophobia because some medical researchers said that it was possible that the boy was really suffering from body dysmorphic disorder, a condition where a patient is preoccupied with a physical trait to the point of obsession. Others suggested perhaps the youth had gender dysphoria, where gender confusion leads to a fear of going into puberty and experiencing changes in physical appearance.
While all of the above may be possible, experts in the case report indicate the boy felt fear and anxiety when thinking about growing up, to the point where he considered multiple surgeries to prevent such changes.
Dr. Luis Gonzales Mendoza, director of pediatric endocrinology at Miami Children’s Hospital said that for people with phobias, it is important to identify the underlying factors of the psychiatric condition , such as anxiety, panic attacks and problems in body image.
The boy’s case is very complex, so it would require a wide array of different treatment modalities,” said Dr. Mendoza.
Since the boy and his family accepted medical help, the boy was then treated with the antidepressant fluoxetine, along with a form of psychotherapy, and family therapy.
His condition was then improved, as he began to stand upright and speak in his natural tone of voice. His eating disorder also improved, and he gained 13 lbs. (6 kg).