Chronophobia, or the fear of time, is sometimes known as prison neurosis due to its prevalence in prison populations. It is also relatively common among shipwreck survivors and others who are trapped in a high-anxiety situation with no familiar means of tracking the passage of time. Chronophobia is also reported by some older adults, as well as people facing terminal illnesses who worry that their time on Earth may be limited. Chronophobia sometimes occurs in the wake of a severe trauma such as a natural disaster, particularly if the daily routine is seriously disrupted. The phobia occasionally appears with no known cause, though it is relatively rare on its own.
Symptoms of Chronophobia
Chronophobia is marked by a sense of derealization in which time seems to speed up or slow down. Some people develop circular thought patterns, racing thoughts and symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Prisoners often mark down the days until their release.