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Victims' Symptom : glossary:necrophobia
 
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Necrophobia or Thanatophobia

Necrophobia or Thanatophobia is a form of phobia. It is an extreme, exaggerated, specific, structured and irrational fear of death. It appears in childhood and continues to grow over the years, and in the old age it is accompanied with nosophobia and other mental disorders (Novaković, Tiosavljević-Marić & Gajić, 2006). Thanatophobia is derived from Thanatos (θάνατος: “death”), the personification of death. The usage differs, although in common speech the terms are used interchangeably. Thanatophobia is more specifically, but not limited to the fear of one's own death or dying (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necrophobia).

Originally thanatophobia was strictly related to fear of being buried alive. Following early excavations of coffins and mausoleums bearing horrific scratch marks inflicted by trapped victimsIn different sciences the term victim has different meanings. The term is most often use in criminology, religion, psychotherapy and New Age context ..., a new law was introduced in ancient Greece ordering all burials be delayed at least one hour, to assure that the “deceased” were, in fact, dead. This gave way to the Greek term “thanatophobia” for fear of a similar fate as these early victimsIn different sciences the term victim has different meanings. The term is most often use in criminology, religion, psychotherapy and New Age context ... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Necrophobia).

This phobia is rarely talked about. Most people think they are alone if they suffer from this problem. In reality this phobia poses little or no actual threat or danger (http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/00415/thanatophobia.htm).

Death anxiety and more severe forms of thanatophobia are encountered frequently in the clinical population. However, approaches that allow behavioral solutions to these experiences are conspicuously absent in the literature. From an operant perspective, death anxiety arises from repeated exposures to direct and implicit forms of the statement “I will die” (Persimger, 1985).

Many necrophobics have trouble sleeping and often experience the urge to run out of their beds at the slightest thought of death. Because of their fear, necrophobics tend to avoid situations where they may come into contact with the stimuli (funerals, hospitals, daily newspaper, churchs) (http://www.phobiaq.com/phobia/necrophobia209.html).

In psychotherapy it is necessary to confront one’s own mortality in order to grow or really be able to live well (Kubler – Ross, 1997).

(T.P.)

References:

  • Novaković M, Tiosavljević-Marić D, Gajić M. Thanatophobia in the patients on dialysis. Vojnosanit Pregl. 2006;63(4):397-402.
  • Persimger MA. Death anxiety as a semantic conditioned suppression paradigm. Percept Mot Skills. 1985;60(3):827-30.
  • Kubler – Ross E. On Death and Dying. New York: Skribner, 1997.

See also: