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Lucy Van Pelt: "Maybe you have pantophobia, Charlie Brown."

Charlie Brown: "What's pantophobia?"

Lucy: "The fear of everything."

Charlie Brown: "THAT'S IT!"

-- Charles M. Schulz


AKA: Pamphobia, Panophobia, panphobia

Pantophobia is a rare condition, in which the sufferer literally fears everything. Alternatively, it may manifest as what is known as a "non-specific fear"; the sufferer finds themself in a state of fear but with no known target, and therefore no easy remedy. One source described it rather well as "a vague and persistent dread of some unknown evil"1. It is listed by the National Institute of Health's Office of Rare Disease, although they appear to offer no helpful information about it.

As might be expected, pantophobia is most frequently found as a secondary condition to schizophrenia. I found only one website claiming to offer a cure for pantophobia; hypnosis (surprise surprise).

Pantophobia, as the above extract demonstrates, is rarely taken seriously. For this reason, it is hard to obtain genuine medical information about it. It is currently placed 37 in Keeper of Lists.com's Top 203 Worst Fears list, some way behind fear of long lists and fear of Jessica Simpson. Nevertheless, it is a real phobia, and worth knowing about since it seems to occur frequently in general knowledge quizzes.

It is easily confused with pantaphobia; the fear of nothing. The latter is in reality more dangerous but perhaps easier to live with.

    Quoted sources:
  1. MerckSource health library: www.mercksource.com

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