Necrophobia: the fear of death / dying
Necrophobia is an unnatural fear of death or things associated with death. It is considered to be one of the more common phobias. In fact, most people have a natural fear of death. It probably stems from our basic survival instinct. The thought of dying from some horrible or painful disease or accident makes most of us a little afraid.
What distinguishes this normal fear of death and someone with necrophobia is the intensity of the emotional reaction to death or things associated with death. While a fear of death is very common, it is the extreme emotional response that identifies someone with necrophobia.
The Causes Of Necrophobia
There is no real answer to what causes necrophobia. It’s often believed to result from an unpleasant or frightening experience as a child. It could have been the funeral of a loved one or an intensely frightening experience of near death.
What Can Trigger The Fears Associated With Necrophobia?
Necrophobia is more than just the fear of death or dying. There are many triggers that can set off an anxiety attack. Certain objects that are associated with death or the dying process may also cause an excessive fear.
Coffins, because of their obvious association with death can easily cause a reaction. Along with coffins, the tombstones that mark coffins can also be a cause of fear for the necrophobe.
Intense horror films may also trigger a reaction. Classic images such as Count Dracula have been frightening people for generations. With the coming of modern day horror films, we have a whole slew of movies featuring zombies, ghosts and other images that depict death after the fact. People suffering from necrophobia can transfer these images into their own lives and react accordingly.
Funerals can be another trigger for a panic attack. Watching someone else’s funeral can cause an irrational fear as the necrophobe imagines himself being the one being buried. Even seeing the procession leading to the funeral can do the same.
The Physical Symptoms Resulting From Necrophobia
There can also be physical reactions as well. They can range from mild to severe and can have a serious effect on the sufferer.
Developing a shortness of breath at the sight of a trigger is common. This in turn can lead to rapid breathing in order to compensate for the feeling of a lack of air. Dry mouth, caused by this rapid breathing is the next step.
Excessive sweating can also sometimes develop and the necrophobe may also experience body tremors.
A general feeling of sickness, of not being well, can be caused by the discomfort brought on by these reactions. In a severe case irregular heartbeats can also develop increasing the general feeling of sickness and nausea.
Treatments For Necrophobia
The most common treatment for someone suffering from necrophobia is to slowly increase their tolerance for things related to death. Exposure under controlled circumstances, of the type used for many anxiety disorders, has been tried.
Hypnosis has also been used along with changing the associations linked with death related symbols.
It is possible to overcome your necrophobia with time and effort. The fear and dread you live with if you suffer from necrophobia can be lessened to what would be considered a normal fear of death.