Most human beings are afraid of death, and we generally avoid admitting it because it is not to the extent of hampering our normal lives. However, when this fear increases abnormally in an individual, it is known as thanatophobia.
It is generally believed that phobias arise from a combination of external events and internal predispositions. There are many specific phobias that can be traced back to a specific triggering event, usually a traumatic experience at an early age. However, social phobias and agoraphobia have more complex causes that are not entirely known at this time, and there are only speculations about it. It is believed that heredity, genetics, and brain chemistry combine with life-experiences to play a major role in the development of phobias.
What Triggers Thanatophobia?
» Previous experience of trauma linked to death.
» Loss of near and dear ones.
» Fear of unexpected and unknown events at the time of death and after it.
» Shortness of breath
» Dry mouth
» Rapid breathing
» Irregular heartbeat
» Loss of control
Besides the above symptoms, the individual constantly feels unwell, together with the fear of dying. This fear ruins the quality of life. He is unable to enjoy each and every moment because of the constant feeling that each passing minute is, in turn, reducing his life span.
What is the Solution?
Hypnotherapy: When a traumatic incident is witnessed in the childhood or experienced when young, it remains in the subconscious and develops as a phobia. Hypnotherapy can treat thanatophobia as the fear of death most commonly develops from a childhood experience.
Regression therapy: This therapy allows a person to remember a particular event and review it, which then allows interpreting the event correctly, thereby resolving issues associated with it.
Talk therapy: This method is adopted to target two aspects of thanatophobia. The first target is to help the individual overcome his fear, and the second is to teach the individual how to deal with it.
Medication: Antianxiety medications are sometimes prescribed for this problem, but such medications must be taken with utmost care as these can have serious side effects. It is also important to note that medicines do not cure phobias and only help in temporarily suppressing the fear.
Counseling: Religious counseling is sometimes beneficial to help a person overcome his fear.
Neuro-linguistic programming: This approach to psychotherapy is sometimes used to treat an individual with thanatophobia.
Most people would agree that fear of death is the “fear of the unknown”. And it is quite natural to feel this fear since we have never experienced it. A person can find comfort in religion and develop a strong belief in afterlife. Studies show that deeply religious people fear death the least. Studies also show that the fear of dying seems to lessen as we age because we start to accept the facts of life.
Thanatophobia is very complex, but a person with this problem must not lose heart and take necessary treatments to deal with it. Family and friends can play a vital role is helping the person fight with his fear. The person can also join support groups to keep in touch with other people dealing with this problem.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.