Death Anxiety

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    “Currently the death rate sits at one per person” Voddie Baucham

    Thanatophobia

    The fear of death, or death anxiety is known as Thanatophobia. It is often linked to other anxieties or phobias such as health anxiety, post-traumatic stress and panic attacks. Thanatophobia is a form of anxiety characterized by a fear of one’s own death or the process of dying.

    The fear of death is perfectly normal. It’s a normal human characteristic. However, for some people the fear can become consuming and lead to avoidance of even everyday tasks. It is the avoidance of anything they fear could lead to death. Activities such as driving or trying something new can seem terrifying. Some might dread leaving their homes or becoming infected by touching something. They may constantly think about death, fearing loss, what might come after death, or how loved ones will cope without them. The fact that death is ultimately inevitable intensifies the anxiety and fear.

    Some responses to the fear of death can be:

    Panic Attacks

    Physical symptoms such as stomach pains when thinking about dying

    Avoidance of situations when thinking about death

    Generalized feelings of anxiety or depression

    Feeling isolated and avoiding contact with others

    The anxiety may increase when thinking about the death of a loved one, seeing reports of death about others in the news, or having a serious or chronic illness or injury.

    As everyone is different there are many different types of thanatophobia and different reasons for what lies behind this intense fear. Some people are triggered by something specific in their past, even if they can’t remember what that was. It can be brought on by psychological distress due to long term illness or injury. It can also be linked to other specific phobia such as fear of snakes, spiders, dogs, heights and so on. Among other things it can be linked to an anxiety disorder, health anxiety and panic attacks. During a panic attack there is a huge loss of control and often a fear of dying.

    Help for Death Anxiety

    By improving self-esteem, self-confidence, physical health and social support networks, people can begin to live a more fulfilling life and fear death less. Although religious beliefs may intensify the fear in some, exploring those beliefs can help comfort others.

    Counselling can help manage and overcome death anxiety. Sometimes just talking about the fear of dying can help someone feel more a sense of control. CBT can help address unhealthy thinking habits and beliefs. Strategies and techniques to manage the anxiety can be learned. People can feel more in control and grounded. Relaxation techniques can help clear the mind and reduce the feeling of helplessness. Desensitizing exercises can help build confidence. When we learn to face our fears, they can become less overwhelming.

    This article was written by sentientcounselling

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