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Thanatophobia is the fear of death. The word is originated from the Greek thanatos, meaning "death", and phobos, meaning "fear". It is normal for people to be afraid of death, since everybody will die eventually, but people suffering from thanatophobia may be excessively afraid and have excessive thoughts about death. They may overwhelmingly get scared when encountering a trivial accident or when getting sick. Sufferers may be afraid that someone may attack them as well. Traumatic experience in the past is the common cause of thanatophobia, like witnessing a tragic accident in which the victim died, or narrowly escaping a deadly situation like an accident.

Thanatophobics may wonder tremendously about their afterlife. According to religious beliefs, the afterlife may depend on the qualities of the person's life. Thanatophobic sufferers may feel afraid of the consequences in the afterlife due to potentially negative things he/she had done in the past. This may lead to Stygiophobia.

Thanatophobia affects more women than men, since women tend to be more afraid of dying than men. Elderly people is surprisingly not the most common age groups of having a thanatophobia, but middle-aged groups (ages 40–59). Despite their very young age and lives had just begun, many young children suffered thanatophobia, because they lack any knowledge about death, but they are quickly treated by giving them knowledge about death, especially when people typically die.

Symptoms of thanatophobia include trembling, numbness, rapid heartrate, sweating, breathlessness, and dry mouth. Thanatophobia can be treated using cognitive-behavior therapy, which is used to heal phobia step by step, talk therapy, which is used to treat phobia by exchanging rational thoughts about it, support groups, where people gather and share their experience together, relaxation techniques, used to relax and try to face their fear calmly. For severe sufferers, medications can be provided, but it doesn't cure phobia, but it suppresses symptoms for a short period of time.

How to overcome Thanatophobia

Thanatophobia does not always require treatment. If there is no particular consequence in the person’s life, it is possible to adapt to it and keep it under control.

On the other hand if the thanatophobia disrupts his daily life, the person must have recourse to psychotherapy to treat his fear of death. In this case, the choice of the type of therapy is made according to the motivations of the phobic person, the time and the energy that he can invest in it.

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): The goal is to reduce or eliminate the symptoms that accompany phobia. They can relieve people in a few months. These therapies consist in gradually exposing the patient to the situation that triggers the fear, until he succeeds in controlling his anxiety.
  • Analytical inspiration therapy: Speech therapy allows you to do deep work on yourself to understand the origin of the symptoms.
  • Hypnotherapy…
  • drug: There is no drug solution to treat Thanatophobia, and phobias in general. On the other hand, anxiolytic drugs can be used punctually to relieve the symptoms of anxiety when the person has to face the object of his phobia

See also

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