A new Amy Adams movie centers around the common yet somewhat irrational fear of entering open or crowded spaces or even simply leaving the house, agoraphobia. But thousands of people suffer from a lesser known but equally alarming phobia, the fear of death, AKA Thanatophobia. While many, if not most, people are afraid to die, people who suffer from Thanatophobia take that fear to an entirely different level, fearing death or the actual process of dying to the point of the phobia negatively impacting their daily lives.
Thanatophobia Symptoms include the following:
- Associated Panic Attacks
- Hot and Cold Temperature Sensitivity
- Inability to distinguish reality from fantasy
- Obsessively imagining ways the person might die
- Seeking out ways to stay young or immortal
- Severe emotional symptoms
- The feeling of being choked
Causes of Thanatophobia
Mental health professionals who specialize in the study of death-related mental health disorders agree that the origins of Thanatophobia are less obvious than those relative to necrophobia (fear of dead things). In most cases, people who fear dead things faced a negative situation involving something that died. Nevertheless, certain sufferers often share the following characteristics:
You may be surprised to learn that young people more often face death-related anxieties than the elderly. In fact, studies show that people who are under the age of 20 run the greatest risk of developing a fear of dying. In many cases, anxieties about death tend to fade with age. The exception to this appears in women who may develop the condition after they reach the age of 50.
People who experience death-related traumatic events are more likely to face anxiety. For example, witnessing someone dying after a car accident might lead to worry about death.
Witnessing a mother or father start to age and die increases the chance of that person developing an irrational fear about death.
Chronically ill people face a greater than average risk of developing an extreme fear of death. Constant pain causes them to consider their future. In this case, issues related to their health can aggravate underlying fears about the afterlife and morph into a full-blown death phobia.
How to Overcome Thanatophobia
1. Get Help
Don’t try to overcome the fear about death without help. Although no one can honestly tell you that you will eventually die, mental health professionals can guide you to discover ways to manage your fears. We deal with death on a daily basis and can assure you, there is nothing to fear but fear itself.
Fear of the unknown can lead to feelings of panic and anxiety. Face these fears head-on, before they have a chance to fester. Meeting with a funeral director may actually allay many of the nebulous feelings about death. Having a plan in place often serves as a calming influence.
To eliminate your fears about death, make discussions about passing on a normal part of your routine. In other cultures, people discuss death as readily as they do topics such as sports, music and food. In America, people fear the unknown. Breaking the culture of silence around the subject might not only help you but could lead to an open dialogue that could help someone in your sphere of influence.
Make the Most of Your Life
Life is short. So, while you’re on Planet Earth, make the most of it. Commit to wellness habits such as following a healthy diet and exercise program. Seek out adventures. Laugh. Spend time with people. You may even want to create a “Bucket List” to make sure you accomplish all of your lifetime goals.
About Foothill Funeral & Cremation in Glendora, California
When the time comes, if you so desire, we would value the opportunity to help you pre-plan for yourself or a family member or friend. Feel free to contact us now to pre-plan your own memorial or at your time of need (626) 335-0615. Our relationship with United Methodist Church and Sacred Heart provide great places for mourners to host funerals and memorials. You’ll love the grandiose yet intimate settings in both locations.