Thanatophobia is a term used to describe the fear of death. It should not be confused with Necrophobia which is the fear of corpses or dead things. Though the fear of death is not uncommon and something that concerns most of us, this is different. Thanatophobia is a persistent and totally irrational fear of death in any form. It causes anxiety to such an extent that it disrupts normal living and affects the quality of life of the sufferer. Though often unspoken, it is surprising to know that many people suffer from Thanatophobia.
The fear of death does not necessarily have any specific cause. Some individuals develop such a phobia if they have attended a traumatic funeral during their childhood. The individual may have seen something or someone die. Yet some others may have developed this phobia when they were exposed to a human or animal corpse under not-so-normal circumstances.
In other cases, the victims may have had a close brush with death themselves. In many cases, there has been a direct correlation between experiences that happened in the past and the development of the fear. No one need battle against Thanatophobia or the fear of death again though! There are treatment programs that really do work and there’s one we particularly recommend:
Thanatophobia, The Fear of Death – Introduction
In modern times more people die in hospitals rather than in homes. It is for that reason that experts believe the phobia to be on the increase currently.
Thanatophobia is not as straight-forward a phobia as you may first think. There are actually three specific facets to it:
- The fear of ones own death
- A fear of a third party death (often a loved one).
- Fear of the process of dying
This makes for quite a complicated phobia to treat.
Let’s face it, it’s completely normal for us all to worry about our own health. This is especially true as we age. It’s also noatural to worry about the health and the future of those closest to us. To some people though these normal concerns can develop into persistent, irrational fears which can consume their waking thoughts.
Apart from the extreme fear of death and the dying process itself, other fears often go alongside:
- A fear of separation.
- Fear of the loss of a loved one.
- A fear of leaving loved ones behind.
These fears are not just general concerns. The persistent fears interfere with everyday life and activities. In extremes they will prevent people from going about their daily lives. Sufferers will start to avoid places, people and situations likely to increase the risk of death. Ultimately they may find it difficult to even leave the house.
Thanatophobia – Symptoms
Thanatophobics will display or experience the following symptoms:
Physical side effects of Thanatophobia may include (among others):
- Shortness of breath.
- Stomach pains.
- Increased heart rate and palputations.
- Panic attacks.
Thanatophobics often avoid places or situations which they associate with death or which increase the likelyhood of death. When you think about it this could be almost anything. Crossing a road, driving, swimming, sports etc. It could also mean avoiding places where risk of contracting disease or illness are increased.
Thanatophobia – Treatment Options
Therapists use different methods to alleviate Thanatophobia in those who are afflicted with the fear.
A desensitization method called exposure therapy works by gradually exposing the necrophobic to aspects associated with the fear that makes them less frightening.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on helping the necrophobics gain control over the frightening thoughts in such a manner that they are able to react differently the next time they occur.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming is a sort of talking therapy which also recognised as an excellent treatment option.
Hypnotherapy is another method that is used to unravel the cause of the fear and works by changing the brains natural responses to the triggers of Thanatophobia. Another proven effective option.
Psychiatrists are also known to prescribe antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications to overcome the physical symptoms of the fear of death. It’s important to undersatnd that medications will not cure the condition. They merely help manage the physical symptoms.
Fear of Death – Self-Help Treatment
Thanatophobia, the irrational fear of death IS treatable. Sure, there’s no miracle cure or magic pill that’s going to make it disappear overnight. But, with commitment and patience, it CAN be overcome.
We’ve already mentioned the main recognised treatment therapies but there is a self-help option which may be worth considering.
It’s a self-hypnosis audio download, aptly named “Overcome Fear Of Death” which costs just under $15. This makes it incredible value for money and afforable to all. Don’t let the low price deter you though – it really can work incredibly well. In fact, so confident are the providers that they offer a full 90 day money back guarantee … no questions asked. That means you’ve really go nothing to lose.
If you click the link below you’ll be able to find out all about the program before you decide whether to try it out or not: