Tanatophobia or Necrophobia: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

The Tanophobia Or necro- phobia is the excessive fear of death itself or others. If you have this phobia, thoughts related to death prowl your mind in everything Moment and cause you great anxiety.

You are likely to avoid going to a funeral and to be terrified to hear other people talk about someone's death.


Every time you see a funeral procession sweat copiously, you have tachycardia and your hands shake. People with tetanophobia may suffer Intense panic attacks When someone talks about death or when they see a coffin, for example.

During a panic attack, the sufferer may feel like he is about to die, which is a real nightmare for a tanophobic.

People with a phobia of death, whether or not they reach the final stage of life, suffer throughout their lives a fear so intense that they Alters everyday life.

Every day, the idea of ​​ceasing to exist or the idea that others can die at any moment becomes a source of intense and permanent stress.

The fear of not feeling anything, not seeing or hearing anything, the idea that their bodies will begin to disintegrate in the grave really causes them terror.

Tanatophobia also includes fear of deterioration of the body during life, which reflects the passage of years, because the more years pass closer There will be death itself.

Causes of tanophobia

Thromatophobia may have been acquired by traumatic or observational experience.

If it were the first case, you probably have tanophobia because you lived a very traumatic or shocking experience related to death and since that Then you have associated negative emotions with the idea of ​​death.

The other possibility is that you have internalized a fear of death that someone else transmitted to you. For example, it is common for children to internalize fears Transmitted by their parents, and some of these fears remain and intensify during adulthood.

Symptoms of tanophobia

Fear of death

When thinking or talking about death, seeing a coffin or a funeral procession, the tanophobic may present the following physical symptoms:

  • Weakness, dizziness.

  • Dry mouth.

  • Cold sweat.

  • Tachycardia.

  • Sickness.

  • Stomach ache.

  • Chest pain.

  • Tremors.

As for the mental symptoms, if you have tanophobia you can feel that you lose control of the situation, that you will go crazy or you will die, and maybe Invaded a feeling of unreality.

From the emotional point of view, you will probably feel the need to escape, to escape the situation that is causing these symptoms, and Surely you will also be very worried about these ideas that surround your mind.

Anger, guilt and sadness are emotions that may also be present.

Tanatophobia vs."normal"fear of death

The"normal"fear of death is natural, and you could even say that it is beneficial.

When a person has absolutely no fear of death, he is more likely to engage in risky activities or behave dangerously.

The problem then is not the fear of death. The problem arises when the anxiety that causes you the idea of ​​death dominates your life, it prevents you from going to a Velatorio or directly, it prevents you from talking about these topics.

If you suffer a lot by thinking about the end of life, then you have tanophobia and you should seek a treatment that will help you to free yourself from such stress.

Influential factors

Man with fear

Extreme fear of death can also be boosted by other factors, such as religion, fear of the unknown, fear of losing control, among others.

Empowered by a religion

In many people, the fear of death is stimulated by certain religious beliefs.

Although most religions claim to know what Happens after death, people fear they are wrong when the final moment arrives.

On the other hand, it is common for religions to preach that those who do not have a certain behavior in their lives, when dying go to hell, an idea that Can also be very frightening.

Terror before the unknown

The fear of what we do not know is natural and surely has contributed to the survival of the species.

But the problem with death is that no one knows for sure what it feels like to die, if anything, or what happens next. Probably Nobody will ever know, and this can certainly be very scary.

To lose control

It is also characteristic of the human condition the need to have control over our life and the things that surround us.

However, when the time of death comes, we lose control. Many people who have tetanophobia are under constant medical check-ups and Permanently watch your body for symptoms of diseases that could cause death.

This is a great effort to maintain control, which will lose anyway when the time of death comes, what fear!

This type of tanophobia is usually associated with other pathologies, such as hypochondria , Obsessive compulsive disorder Or delusive thinking.

Fear of what can happen before death

Some people do not really fear death in themselves, but actually suffer a lot with the idea of ​​feeling a lot of pain or suffering a Long and debilitating disease before death finally arrives.

How do you know if you have tatophobia?

How to overcome fear

Then you can do the following test. It is to rate from 0 to 5 how much fear you have before each concept of those that are mentioned, where 0 would be "Nothing scary"and 5 would be"extreme fear".

In relation to your own death you fear:

  • The total solitude of death.

  • The brevity of life (or the fact that you do not know when death will come).

  • All the things you would lose when you die.

  • Die young.

  • What it will be like to be dead.

  • Not being able to feel or think anything anymore.

  • The disintegration of your body after dying.

In relation to your own dying process, you are afraid of:

  • The physical degeneration that occurs or that can happen in the process of dying.

  • The pain you could feel in the process of dying.

  • The mental degeneracy of aging.

  • Loss of faculties and abilities during the dying process.

  • Lack of control over the dying process.

  • The possibility of dying away from family and friends.

In relation to the death of other people:

  • You fear the loss of a loved one.

  • Have to see his corpse.

  • Not being able to communicate with that person anymore.

  • Not having a better relationship when she was alive.

  • Feel guilty for the feeling of relief when that person dies.

  • Feeling alone without her.

In relation to the process of dying of other people, you are afraid of:

  • Having to be with someone who is dying.

  • Have to talk about death with other people.

  • See how another person suffers when he dies.

  • Observe the degeneration of your body.

  • Not knowing how to handle your pain in the face of the loss of a loved one.

  • See how he loses mental faculties.

  • Be aware that all of this will happen to you as well.

If you have more than 20 or 25 points in each of these sections, you may have tatophobia.

Do not you want to suffer more with these ideas? Then it is best that you look for professional help to overcome your fears.

Treatments to cure tanatophobia

Like all phobias, excessive fear of death can be cured by Cognitive-behavioral therapy . Hypnosis, the Neurolinguistic programming and group therapy.

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy

It is a treatment that tries, on the one hand, to banish the obsessive ideas you have around death.

It is a move away from irrational fears and change negative thoughts By more positive rational thoughts.

On the other hand, the therapist will also gradually expose you to certain tanophobic stimuli, so that you gradually learn to To control anxiety what They generate you.

Relaxation techniques And breathing can be very helpful in this regard.

After a few sessions you will surely see good results, because most people with tetanophobia will heal, as long as they follow Treatment.

  1. Support groups

Support groups for people with tetanophobia can help you a lot, because in these areas you will find other people to whom the same thing happens That you and will share interesting experiences and tools, which will possibly be very useful in your case as well.

  1. Hypnosis

When a traumatic experience of childhood remains in the subconscious, associated with Negative emotions , A phobia develops. Hypnosis is a Technique that allows to reach origin of the phobia and to deactivate the mechanism, therefore it can be useful to improve the symptoms of tanatophobia.

  1. Neuro-Linguistic Programming

It is a technique that seeks to achieve a change in behavior through a change in context or meaning of that same behavior, for example, Looking for a positive connotation in a certain thought or behavior.

Neurolinguistic programming can be used as a psychotherapeutic treatment for the control of tanophobia or other phobic disorders.


Here are some curiosities about the fear of death.

  • Tetanophobia in children can be prevented

Recent studies indicate that the maturatophobia in children can be prevented by providing adequate information.

As part of a research carried out around this topic, a group of 90 children between 4 and 8 years old who were Questionnaire about their fears, more specifically, about the fear of death.

The results showed that children with a lower level of anxiety at the idea of ​​death were those who had a good understanding of the concept Biological diversity of the same.

Therefore, if you want to prevent tanophobia in your children, teach them what is death, from the biological point of view at least, always Using words appropriate for their age.

  • Women have more tanophobia than men

As in many other psychological disorders, tanophobia appears to be much more prevalent in women than in men.

A study by Thorson and Powell in 1984 clearly showed this trend and also concluded that there are probably cultural reasons for This is so.

Women, historically responsible for caring for children and often for the elderly, may have a greater fear of Death because they feel in the"obligation"to survive in order to fulfill their role.

  • The elderly have less tanophobia

You may think that as the age advances and death is closer, people tend to feel more fear of death. However, this is not so.

Tanatophobia begins to appear in young adults between 20 and 40 years. But it is in the next phase of life, between 40 and 65 years of age, In which extreme fear of death is more prevalent.

And surprisingly, among adults over 65, the number of cases of tatophobia falls dramatically, even though death is in Reality closer.

Does anxiety overwhelm you when you talk about death? Is your closeness really scary? Do not hesitate to seek help, because your problem can be solved.


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