This phobia has been described as a feeling of dread, anxiety or fear at the thought of death, or anything to do with dying (1). This anxiety related to fear of death was termed thanatophobia by Sigmund Freund in 1915 in his seminal essays titled: Thoughts for the Time on War and Death.
Thanatophobia is a form of anxiety characterized by a fear of one’s own death or the process of dying. It is commonly referred to as death anxiety. Death anxiety is not defined as a distinct disorder, but it may be linked to other depression or anxiety disorders.
The fear of death declines with age One study found that people in their 40s and 50s, expressed greater fears of death than those in their 60s and 70s. Similarly, another study found that people in their 60s reported less death anxiety than both people in middle age (35 to 50 years) and young adults (18 to 25 years).
The literature reports that death anxiety peaks in middle age and decreases with increasing age, a finding supported by the author’s study.
Age: Studies have shown that thanatophobia can peak when an individual reaches their 20s but can fade as they grow older.
What To Say In A Card To Someone Who Is Dying
Haphephobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by a fear of being touched. Other names for haphephobia include chiraptophobia, aphenphosmphobia, and thixophobia.
“A lot of our fear of death is about losing the things we’ve built up,” says Steve Taylor, a lecturer in psychology at Leeds Beckett University in Leeds, England, and the author of Out of Darkness. “But elderly people let go of their attachment to these things, and in the process they let go of some of their fear.”
Humans also fear death because they view death as an annihilation of their person, a radical personal transformation, a threat to the meaningfulness of life, and a threat to the completion of life projects.
It is during the years of young adulthood ( ages 20 to 40 ) that death anxiety gains prevalence. However, during the next phase of life, the middle age adult years (40–64 years of age), death anxiety peaks at its highest levels when in comparison to all other age ranges throughout the lifespan.
Research has also emerged that investigates medical procedures for very old adults,4–6 but life expectancy for very old adults is still short in most high-income countries, ranging from around 8 to 10 years for 80-year-olds to 4 to 5 years for 90-year-olds (online Table S1).
But there is no certainty as to when or how it will happen. A conscious dying person can know if they are on the verge of dying. Some feel immense pain for hours before dying, while others die in seconds. This awareness of approaching death is most pronounced in people with terminal conditions such as cancer.
The following tips may help anyone, young or old, cope with the fear of a parent dying.
How to overcome fear of death
Nyctophobia is an irrational or extreme fear of the dark. People with nyctophobia experience significant anxiety, tension, and feelings of uncertainty concerning the dark.
Agoraphobia is a fear of being in situations where escape might be difficult or that help wouldn’t be available if things go wrong. Many people assume agoraphobia is simply a fear of open spaces, but it’s actually a more complex condition. Someone with agoraphobia may be scared of: travelling on public transport.