Thanatophobia is a form of anxiety characterized by a fear of death or the process of dying. Thanatophobia is not a distinct disorder. However, it leads to other anxiety or depression disorders that include
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Panic disorders and panic attacks
- Anxiety disorders
Having some anxieties about death is normal as said by the American Psychiatric Association. However, for some people thinking about their own death or dying can lead to fear, anxiety, and traumas.
People feel extreme fear and anxiety when they get to know that death is something that is bound to happen. People also fear losing their close ones, separating themselves from others when they have died, and so on.
When these fears combine together and affect your mind to a great extent causing regular breakdowns, anxiety, and depression, it is known as thanatophobia. These fears finally become so harsh, that your find fails to focus, leading to failure to do daily activities.
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How is thanatophobia different from necrophobia?
People basically get confused between thanatophobia and necrophobia. Necrophobia is a general fear of dying, dead things, or things associated with death.
Thanatophobia refers to the regular fear of death which rises in your mind continuously. Necrophobia is often common among people whereas thanatophobia is witnessed in rare cases. In the Greek language, the word “Thanatos” refers to death and “Phobos” means fear.
Causes of thanatophobia
The causes of thanatophobia are hard to judge and sometimes confusing. As I said the fear of death is common among people. But when this fear turns into thanatophobia, this is something you need to worry about. The important causes of developing thanatophobia are as follows.
- People basically think about what happens if a sudden death occurs to them.
- The fear of what happens after death is still a mystery.
- Some people fear a painful death due to their past experiences.
- Some people fear about the future when they die ( what happens to their next generation, how will they go on in life, and so on)
When is thanatophobia considered dangerous?
Thanatophobia is considered dangerous when
- The feeling of fear is regular.
- Lasts for more than 6 months and does not tend to go away automatically.
- Creates a bad effect on your regular life, relationships, and day-to-day works.
There are several symptoms of thanatophobia, which, when left uncured will lead to several complications and disorders. The symptoms include
- An anxiety sort of immediate feeling develops when you start thinking about dying.
- Several panic attacks which include dizziness, nausea, and headache.
- Constant and immediate sweating.
- Irregular heartbeat which may often lead to strokes.
- Sometimes you fall sick, for the fear of dying.
- Regular depressions and anxiety.
Further uncured thanatophobia will also lead to
- Frequent increase in anger and mood swings.
- Feeling of staying alone.
- Continous worrying about death.
Who basically suffers from thanatophobia?
Thanatophobia is quite common irrespective of any factors. But studies have proved that thanatophobia is found more in certain cases. These cases include
- Older people tend to develop thanatophobia because they start thinking about their death.
- Females develop the risk of thanatophobia more compared to males. In males, thanatophobia occurs once during their 20’s phase but in females, thanatophobia has been witnessed in the early ’20s and mid-’50s.
- People who are physically handicapped or with several physical health problems will develop thanatophobia more than people who are healthy.
Thanatophobia – Treatment
There are no immediate treatments for thanatophobia. Rather thanatophobia can be controlled by the power of will and accepting the fact that there is nothing to fear about death.
“Once born, you have to die”
And that is the ultimate truth. The fear of death is quiet among people but when this feeling turns regular it causes severe anxieties and depressions. This condition is known as thanatophobia. Under such conditions, you should consult a psychiatrist or a psychologist. The various treatments include
1. Sharing feelings
You should not stay all alone in this condition of thanatophobia. Instead, you should communicate with people more and try sharing your thoughts and feelings. This helps in making you feel better.
2. Talk to your psychiatrist
Do not hide anything from your psychiatrist or therapist. There should always be transparency between you and your psychiatrist. Asking simple questions to your questions and then discussing the answers will help you solve this problem.
- What did you do the entire day?
- What is your feeling when this condition comes up?
- What according to you brings this thought of death in your mind?
- How can you tackle these issues?
This is true, meditation and correct breathing techniques will help you to treat thanatophobia. Performing regular physical activities and exercises will help your mind to remain fresh and healthy keeping you away from such thoughts.
Your psychologist will prescribe you some medicines which will help you to stay away from the fear of death. These medications are effective for a short period, basically great during panic attacks, but for the long term, it is basically dependent on how your willpower is.
The fear of death is common during young ages and generally goes away along with increasing age. But when this feeling revolves in your mind regularly then it needs to be treated. Man is mortal and if you can accept this fact then the fear of death goes away.
Again consulting a psychiatrist or psychologist won’t mark you as mad, so it is always healthy to consult your psychiatrist. In fact, I have always supported the idea of consulting a regular psychiatrist just like you consult your local doctor for your regular good health.
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