Fear of death

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We all once think about death, but if thoughts constantly revolve around this topic, panic fear arises that interferes with life – this is no longer the norm. This condition is called a phobic disorder.

What is the fear of death?
Phobias are irrational, uncontrollable fears of someone or something, or of certain situations. It should be emphasized that this is a fear that defies logical explanation.

Thanatophobia is the fear of death, which is based on the unknown of what will happen after death. It is irrationality that distinguishes a phobia from the usual fear of death, thoughts about it – the fear is not supported by real grounds, it is also accompanied by unpleasant sensations, interferes with normal life. People are afraid to die in principle or in certain situations (from an accident, a heart attack, a criminal), and therefore they protect themselves from possible contacts, they can isolate themselves from society, work, communication.

Why does the fear of death arise in adults?
It is believed that the fear of death can form in childhood, but it will manifest itself in adults under certain circumstances. Children begin to understand death after 3 years. First, they are faced with the death of people and animals, and a little older they begin to think about the finiteness of their own lives. If the wrong attitude about death is formed in the head, phobias are possible in adulthood.

The fear of death can be sharply exacerbated or initiated in the following situations:

  • man-made disasters;
  • serious accidents;
  • terrorist attacks;
  • serious events that occurred in the immediate vicinity (a plane crashed, which a person did not have time to catch).

Also, thanatophobia can be triggered by other fears and severe shocks:

  • fear of the unknown, what awaits after death;
  • loss of loved ones, especially – untimely;
  • low self-esteem and loneliness;
  • superstition or strong religiosity;
  • fear of not being able to complete all the plans;
  • strong suggestibility;
  • fear of pain and anguish;
  • a feeling of the frailty of being, the uselessness of oneself in life;
  • fear of spending control in certain life situations.

Most often thanatophobia occurs in city dwellers, the elderly, or men in the period of age crises (especially middle age).

Symptoms of fear of death in adults
Actually, the fear of death is quite normal. It is closely related to the basic instinct – self-preservation. Therefore, dangerous hobbies associated with a risk to life are an occasion to think about whether everything is in order with this person. But paralyzing horror at the very thought of death, an attack of panic that interferes with the usual life is also a pathology. Signs of thanatophobia can be as follows:

  • pronounced suspiciousness;
  • constantly agitated state;
  • unpleasant, obsessive thoughts about death;
  • sensitivity to any situations in life, constant doubts about health;
  • bouts of aggression or severe irritability;
  • tearfulness for no reason;
  • fear of a specific problem – “I will die in my sleep”, “I will have a heart attack”, “I will crash”, etc .;
  • trying by all means to avoid stress, the slightest threat, changes in life that can lead to isolation;
  • inadequate reactions to conversations about funeral or death, inadequate reactions to funeral paraphernalia;
  • sleep disorders.

Additionally, in combination with mental problems, somatic ones can also appear, which only aggravate the phobic disorder:

  • tachycardia, increased pressure;
  • dizziness, fainting;
  • nausea and malaise, indigestion;
  • frequent urge to empty the bladder;
  • sexual dysfunctions;
  • appetite disorders up to anorexia;
  • impaired performance, constant fatigue;
  • choking, rapid breathing;
  • weight loss;
  • vague body pains;
  • nightmares at night.

An extreme variant of the manifestation of thanatophobia can be panic attacks, which can occur anywhere and at the most inopportune time. It seems to the patient that he is dying, and this only aggravates the problem.

How to get rid of the fear of death for adults?
In thanatophobia, there are biological, psychological, and social prerequisites.

Biological is, often, a certain predisposition of the nervous system to respond with generalized reactions. Disease, insufficient sleep, intoxication, congenital features of the nervous system may predispose to this.

Psychological is, first of all, a violation of the upbringing system. Education in the style of increased anxiety, often in overprotection.

Social is the inability to correctly (rationally) respond to various situations. First of all, requiring active action, the ability to make decisions quickly.

Psychotherapists work at once with all possible prerequisites, so it is important to contact a specialist.

To confirm thanatophobia, the doctor conducts a detailed conversation with the patient, asks many clarifying questions. Questionnaires can be used to determine different types of fears and personality traits. The questions are evaluated subjectively in points from 0 to 10. After completing the questionnaire, the doctor calculates the points.

If it is necessary to determine the state of general health that can provoke fear, the patient is examined by a therapist, cardiologist, and other doctors.

Modern methods of treatment
You can overcome your phobias only by recognizing the presence of a problem and seeking help from specialists – a psychiatrist or psychotherapist. The mainstay of treatment is cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication, other types of psychotherapy, and the use of hypnosis.

In the early stages, you can cope on your own under the guidance of a professional, in the later stages, you need constant help from a doctor.

You can also additionally apply:

  • communication with loved ones, conversations;
  • physical activity, being in the fresh air;
  • proper nutrition without psychostimulants;
  • rejection of bad habits.

Prevention of fear of death in adults at home
The prevention of this, like others, phobias begins in childhood and consists of measures to improve health, especially of the nervous system, as well as rational education – without the formation of excessive anxiety, without overprotection, with the formation of correct (age-appropriate) decision-making skills.

Are complications of this phobia possible, does it affect the ability to work, does it threaten disability, death?
Complications, first of all, are social limitations that arise as a result of phobias, and they can be significant. There is no disability. But constant fear, panic attacks can lead a person to uncontrollable actions, communication problems, he can lose his family, job, friends, and without the help of a specialist, a phobia can literally “poison” life.

Is it possible to cure the fear of death on your own or with the help of non-traditional methods?
There are no proven effective dietary supplements, herbs, or traditional methods of treating phobias. Moreover, the practice of such self-medication can only worsen the situation, any drugs, including phyto- and dietary supplements, have side effects. They can worsen the state of health, which will only increase the fear of death.


8 thoughts on “Fear of death”

  1. 👌👌👌✒🖼For centuries, we have been afraid of the last judgments and death. Personally, I do not deal with my future death at all. You could say that I lit my candle of life even at the other end.I wish you a wonderful day, Nadiia 🌞💖🌹

  2. Fabulous, informative post, Nadiia. Death is something I have never feared. Obviously as a youngster I was immortal 😉 But having faced it in the ocean as an older but still young man I became accustomed to the possibility. As I became older I accepted the inevitability of it 🤔

    1. Thank you. I guess, I always was afraid of it, not as a phobia, but just knowing that I cannot be sure in tomorrow, maybe drunk driver gonna hit me or something gonna fall on my head. It is a possibility, but it does not make me feel better)

      1. Or is that the fear of incapacity and the pain beforehand. As you say, ‘something hitting you on the head.’ I can see how that would be scary 😟

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