Though this particular fear has no scientific name to describe it, many people have a fear of the end of the world. These fears are collectively known as Doomsday phobias, but the closest fear to the fear of the end of the world is the fear of death or Thanatophobia.Thanatophobia can be defined as the (irrational) fear of death, the process of dying, or being dead (hxbenefit.com). The word is derived from the Greek personification of death, Thanatos. Most people are afraid of dying because of religious concerns, fear of the the unknown, or they feel that they will lose control of their lives and/or that others will forget them. Thanatophobia is most common in single parents with children or people who are the sole person financially supporting their family. Thanatophobia affects a person’s everyday life and can be detrimental to some people. In extreme cases, people that suffer from thanatophobia can be too afraid to leave their home. More common symptoms of thanatophobia that happen when thinking of death or seeing/experiencing death-related events include:
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Losing control or feeling “crazy”
- Sweating and/or nausea
- Skin feels itchy, or shuddering/shivering
- Hot/Cold Flashes
- Difficulty distinguishing reality from unreality.
The most effective ways to overcome thanatophobia are counseling and receiving professional help. The most common treatment methods are:
- Anti-Anxiety Medicines
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy- Altering “scary” thoughts into more positive ones.
- Counseling/Hypnosis- If a traumatizing event in one’s youth is the problem, this becomes an effective method to help them.
- Exposure- Exposure to real life events that could involve situations where you could die if not careful. This is done to help the patient survive in society.
- Neuro-Linguistic Programming Therapy- Exposing the subject to their fear and helping them to alter their emotions.