Fear of Death
What is thanatophobia?
Death will touch all of our lives in one way or another. Many of us are uneasy or even afraid when we think about that. But fear of death, also called death anxiety or thanatophobia, is when this fear becomes so intense it interferes with your everyday life.
Do I have thanatophobia?
It’s common for people to fear death, especially if they’ve recently experienced loss or a traumatic situation. But if the fear doesn’t go away after a while, and if it becomes so strong that it affects your everyday life, you likely have thanatophobia.
Thanatophobia symptoms include:
- persistent, invasive thoughts about death or dying
- panic attacks
- hyper-awareness of any situation that may lead to death, such as falling ill or driving – even if there is no great likelihood that death will be the result
- a constant fear that you are dying, even if there is no logical reason to feel this way
- avoiding topics or situations that could make you think of death
What are the negative effects of thanatophobia?
Thanatophobia is sometimes called “death anxiety” for a good reason: A person with thanatophobia will spend a majority of their life experiencing intense bouts of anxiety. This will cause mental anguish, physical strain, and may also negatively impact relationships. In extreme cases, a thanatophobia sufferer will not even want to leave their house, as they’ll associate the world outside with so many risks and possibilities of death.
What causes thanatophobia?
Many of us are at least a bit afraid of death and dying. But what makes the fear turn into a phobia?
Thanatophobia causes can be complex, but most cases boil down to one of two things:
- A recent experience with death or a dangerous, life-threatening situation. For example, a person who just lost a loved one, or who was in an accident, might experience death anxiety in the aftermath.
- Religious beliefs. Religion and faith can provide comfort when it comes to facing the unknown. But some people may find themselves instead getting tangled in questions, or worrying about their afterlife (for example, if they follow a religion that believes in Hell).
Other causes of thanatophobia may include:
- Childhood environment. If you grew up with people around you expressing an intense fear or avoidance of death, you may take on these behaviours, as well.
- Other psychological issues. Some conditions, such as generalised anxiety or obsessive compulsive disorder, may cause or involve thanatophobia.
How to cure fear of death?
There are a number of ways to treat thanatophobia. At Transformational Therapy we use techniques derived from traditional therapy methods, as well as other processes, that can help you understand your death anxiety and how to overcome it.
Over the course of 6 -10 sessions, we’ll explore your thanatophobia and change what you’re telling yourself about death, so that you can shift the anxiety and begin to happily live your life, free from those crippling fears.
To organise your confidential appointment you can call Karen at Transformational Therapy on 0409777116.