A fear of dying is normal. We don’t know when it will happen, if it will be quick or painful over a long period of time or what even happens to us after death, so it’s understandable. Having an extreme fear/ phobia of death isn’t heathy at all, and it often comes with a bunch of phobias on top. Thanatophobia is such an intense fear for those who suffer from it that they avoid many situations and overthink every situation or place they are in. It should be stated that Thanatophobia, is not the fear of any death but of one’s own death. Harry Potter villain Voldemort is a perfect example of this.
Naturally, a fear of death would be linked to other phobias of situations or things that involve death in any way. For example, someone might be afraid of the ocean because they are afraid, they might drown and die.
Phobias linked with the fear of death:Fear Of Doctors: Latrophobia
• Agliophobia- Fear of pain
• Noscomephobia-Fear of hospitals
• Latrophobia- Fear of doctors
• Hempophobia- Fear of blood
• Trypanophobia- Fear of needles
• Mysophobia- Fear of germs
• Carcinophobia- Fear of cancer
Thanatophobia can come along with many other phobias and different disorders such as Hypochondria and bipolar disorder which means it is easy to misdiagnose or for the other disorders to not be detected. This phobia could affect someone emotionally as they tend to create images of their own deaths often even if they don’t do it intentionally.
Symptoms of Thanatophobia are:
• Increased heart rate
• Feeling of choking
• Hot or cold flashes
Why It should be Treated:
If severe, this phobia can affect every possible aspect of life as the perceived risk of death can become extreme and almost any place and any situation can seem terrifying to the Thanatophobic. The world is seen as a terrifying and dangerous place and fear dictates almost every life decision; where the person goes, who they see, what they eat, what job they take, etc. It limits a person with this phobia in many ways. This can lead many people suffering with this phobia to develop several other phobias including agoraphobia, the fear of outside spaces and can leave them isolated at home.
This can create many other additional mental health issues.
Even someone with a milder form of the phobia will spend a lot of their time with unnecessary anxiety which will hamper a person's quality of life. Ultimately a person with this phobia will ironically die with many regrets unless they get it treated.
To read how religion relates to Thanatophobia click here.