Tanataphobia or phobia of death

Tanataphobia or phobia of death

The tanatophobia It is a form of anxiety characterized by fear of death itself or the process of dying. It is also known as phobia of death.

In the Greek language, the word “Thanatos"Refers to death and"phobos"Means fear. Thus, the tanatophobia is translated as the fear of death.

Having some anxiety about death is a completely normal part of the human condition. However, for some people, thinking about their own death or the process of dying can cause intense anxiety and fear. So, if fear is so frequent and intense as to affect daily life, then it is considered a disorder.

A person may feel extreme anxiety and fear when he considers that death is inevitable. They may also experience:

  • Fear of separation
  • Fear of dealing with a loss
  • Worry about leaving behind loved ones

In its most extreme form, these feelings can prevent people from doing daily activities or even leaving their homes. Their fears focus on things that could result in death, such as pollution or dangerous objects or people.

The psychologist Xevi Molas explains everything in this interesting video.


  • 1 Types of fears related to Tanatophobia
  • 2 Fear of death in children
  • 3 Other related fears

Types of fears related to Tanatophobia

Fear of the unknown

Tanatophobia can also be rooted in fears of the unknown. It is part of the human condition want to know and understand the world around us. What happens after death, however, cannot be demonstrated unequivocally while we are still alive.

Fear of loss of control

Like knowledge, control is something that humans fight for. Nevertheless, the act of dying is completely out of anyone's control. Those who fear to lose control They can try to keep death at bay by rigorous and sometimes extreme health checks and other rituals.

Over time, it is easy to see how people with this type of tanatophobia may be at risk of suffering obsessive-compulsive disorder, hypochondriasis and even delusional thinking.

Pain, illness or loss of dignity

Some people with an apparent fear of death do not really fear death itself. Instead, they fear the circumstances that often surround the act of dying. They may fear overwhelming pain, a debilitating disease or even the associated loss of dignity. This type of tanatophobia can be identified through careful questioning about the specific aspects of fear.

Concerns about family members

Many people suffering from tanatophobia are not as afraid of dying themselves as of what would happen to their families after their death.

This seems to be especially common in new parents, single parents and caregivers. They may worry that their family suffers financially or that no one is around to take care of them.

The fear of death in children

A child's fear of death can be devastating to parents, but it can actually be a healthy part of normal development. Children generally lack defense mechanisms, religious beliefs and understanding of death that help adults cope with the situation. Nor do they fully understand time, which makes it difficult for them to accept that people sometimes leave and return.

These factors can lead children to a confusing and sometimes frightening concept of what it means to be dead. If fear qualifies as a phobia depends on its severity and the time it has been present.

The phobias They are usually not diagnosed in children until they have been present for more than six months.

Other related fears

It is not uncommon for people suffering from tanatophobia to also develop related phobias. The fears of tombstones, funeral homes and other symbols of death are common, as they can serve as reminders of the main phobia. Fear of ghosts or other entities is also common, especially those whose tanatophobia is based on religious factors.