Being afraid of death is not uncommon, but for some people, being scared of death can prevent them from leading fulfilling lives. Necrophobia is an overwhelming fear of death that has physical side effects such as panic attack, shortness of breath, dizziness, trembling, sweating, accelerated heart rate, chest pain and nausea. It is common for some to have a fear of death, but people scared to death of death might go so far as to cut themselves off from the outside world completely.
Being scared of death is a natural feeling most everyone experiences, attributed to the need for survival. But a necrophobic might have experienced a traumatic event or maybe even had a brush with death themselves. Realizing death is a natural part of life comes easy to some, but for those whose lives are taken over by their fear, it is important to recognize the signs.
Symptoms of Necrophobia
- If fear of death takes over and one finds themselves suffering from physical symptoms
- One recognizes that seeing or being near dead things causes unnatural distress
- Avoiding cemeteries, homes or places where there has been death
- Phobia has persisted over a significant length of time and is affecting one’s health or causing them to hide from the outside world
Fear of death is sometimes referred to as thanatophobia or fear of the unknown. Whether the fear concerns the act of dying, things already dead or what comes next, it should not prevent someone from participating in life’s great events.
Treatment of Necrophobia
Death phobia can be conquered. Overcoming phobia can be accomplished in several different ways such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, medications or a combination of both. Using exposure therapy slowly exposes the person with necrophobia to situations of death, first in sessions with a psychologist and then in real life situations. Over a period of time, depending on the severity of the case, therapy can help people who suffer from the fear of death learn to realize that it is a natural part of the human life cycle.
People scared of death can help themselves in addition to therapy. For instance, getting informed about death is the first step in overcoming the fear. Whether learning about death through religion, science books or movies, remember it is a part of everyday life. It is also helpful to keep positive when negative thoughts about death start to creep in. Lastly, practicing relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, yoga and muscle relaxation when you experience the phobia can help you preemptively deal with the emotional and physical symptoms.
Necrophobia treatment professionals are out there to help people discover and overcome the underlying reasons for the fear of death. Getting informed was the first step, next it is important to find a professional who knows how to lead you down the path of understanding your own fears and conquer them.
- Phobics-Awareness.org – General information on phobias
- Helpguide.org – Physical symptoms of phobia attacks
- About.com – Information on the fear of death