Panthophobia is the clinical description for an overriding fear of personal suffering and disease. This fear is interesting because it is one of those phobias that encompasses more than one fear.
For instance a panthophobe may actually struggle with a fear of germs, a fear of hospitals or even the fear of death of fear of hell or heaven. All can contribute to this fear. In fact some of these fears may actual be the source of the fear of disease.
As with most phobias this fear can be introduced by a well meaning adult in the childhood of the panthophobe. The fear grows into something that is equal parts debilitating and all consuming.
It can be so frustrating for someone who experiences this phobia to find that the only subject they can fully concentrate on is the fear of personal suffering and disease. They may try to engage in conversations about something else, but they often come back to their fear
It should be noted that these individuals are very uncomfortable around anyone with visible signs of illness and will not easily consent to visit someone in the hospital.
Other symptoms include dread, panic, air hunger, irregular or elevated heart rate, trembling, fainting, urge to flee, urge to wash hands or use germ control gel.
This fear is one that has become so entangled in other fears that it will likely require some help from a therapist to help one understand the impact of related fears on this phobia. One of the greatest tools available is working to help the brain understand the difference between an emotional response (fear-based) versus a rational or logical response.