The fear of dying, also known as death anxiety or thanatophobia, is much more prevalent than many of us may think. The concept of death – when it will occur and what happens afterward – is an unknown and we often fear what we don’t know.
It is important to understand the difference between everyday worrying and a full-blown death anxiety disorder. Throughout our lives, most of us will think of death at one time or another. For example, it may dwell in our minds as we age or when the death of a loved one occurs. However, this concern becomes classified as thanatophobia only when a person worries so often that it begins to affect their everyday lives. With this syndrome, every pain or unusual feeling becomes a warning sign for impending death.
- A simple headache may lead to thoughts of brain tumors.
- Chest pains may be considered signs of heart attack or heart failure.
- The mildest sickness can suggest that death is right around the corner.
People who experience a fear of dying feel that each passing minute is reducing their life span bit by bit. To make things worse, this condition has the tendency to be communicable. Many people are too discouraged to spend time with someone who suffers from death anxiety but those who do may find themselves falling into the same line of thinking. It is easy for groups of thanatophobics to form and exacerbate the anxiety.
How do you know if you may be suffering from a fear of death? When a victim of death anxiety disorder considers their own mortality they may experience a variety of symptoms, including:
- Difficulty breathing
- Feeling faint
- Intense sweating
- Dry mouth
- Shaking limbs
- Rapid heartbeat
- An inability to speak or think clearly
- Constant panic attacks
- Uncontrollable nerves
The fear of death is a debilitating condition that can seriously deplete the joy in one’s life. People with this condition spend so much time worrying about their impending death that they rarely enjoy themselves in anything they do. If you or someone you know suffers from death anxiety disorder, seeking help is very important and will be extremely beneficial.