There are many specific phobias and one of them is necrophobia which expresses a person’s fear of death. Oftentimes, the numerous human emotions manifest in how they fascinate and sometimes objectify death.
Necrophobia could also be a cultural group’s belief about how the dead can haunt the living. This post will discuss necrophobia, the causes, and the possible treatment for the condition but first, what is necrophobia?
Necrophobia which is a type of specific phobia is defined as the fear of dead things and other things that are associated with death. A person with this type of specific phobia may easily develop anxiety over dead bodies as well as things that are related to death such as graveyards, caskets, and tombstones.
According to history, necrophobia is a word that originated from the Greek word nekros which translates as “corpse” and Phobos, which means “fear”. Similar to other specific phobias, necrophobia is not recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), as a distinct disorder.
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Therefore, a person with this phobia may only be diagnosed with a specific phobia. And a specific phobia is defined as having an excessive or irrational phobia for a particular thing or situation.
The National Institute of Mental Health compiled a report that indicates that an estimate of 9.1% of adults in the United States had one or more types of specific phobia in the past two years. Although no statistics exist to show the prevalence of necrophobia, even though specific phobias are common.
1. Formplus necrophobia quiz: You can quickly take the necrophobia test on Formplus. This quiz was designed by professionals to help you or someone you know determines whether you have necrophobia.
The questions are easy and swift to answer. Formplus also provides automatic feedback once you have completed your test. If you experience one or more of the symptoms listed for necrophobia, this is a good test to begin your recovery journey.
2. Changethatsrightnow: This website also gives you the opportunity to answer some carefully designed quiz questions about necrophobia. Complete the test to find out how your symptoms are related to this phobia.
Note that these quizzes are not a replacement for medical diagnosis. It is very important that you visit the hospital for proper evaluation and diagnosis.
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It is still unclear to researchers what the exact causes and triggers of specific phobias such as necrophobia are. However, many researchers believe that as with many other phobias, culture, genetics, and life events or experiences, can contribute to the development of these fears.
For example, in some cultures, there are beliefs that the spirits of the dead may return someday and haunt the living. Psychology shows that such beliefs can play a significant role in a person’s development of necrophobia.
Also, a person that has been exposed to a traumatic event, such as witnessing the death of a family member or a loved one, can develop an obsession with the fear of death and dead things. While in other cases, a person with a family history of necrophobia may also have the condition as it can be passed down with genes.
There are other situations that can form an association with necrophobia such as attending a funeral, viewing videos or images of dead things or dead bodies on the internet or through the news channels. Necrophobia can also be triggered if a person comes into contact with a dead body, regardless of whether it’s an animal or a human’s body.
It is worthy of mention that researchers found that aquatic animals and insects can exhibit behaviors associated with necrophobic. For example, some animals and insects totally avoid dead members of their own species.
The symptoms of necrophobia are similar to other kinds of specific phobias. Although some people who have necrophobia know that their fear poses no real threat, they still experience extreme fear.
Some of the symptoms people with necrophobia may experience include:
Some of the people with necrophobia will experience one or two of the above-listed symptoms while others with severe cases may experience all. Another likely sign is when a person has a panic attack which can be a response to symptoms such as shortness of breath, shaking, and feelings of unreality or detachment.
This is why a person with necrophobia might avoid a certain route that leads to a cemetery or funeral home. Therefore, if you notice that you or someone you know is exhibiting some of the symptoms of necrophobia, encourage them to visit the primary health hospital for proper diagnosis.
There is no known treatment designed for necrophobia, but there is a good chance that the treatments commonly used for other types of specific phobias will be effective. Some common treatment options that can be used for necrophobia are exposure therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), medications, and relaxation techniques.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy will help to reduce irrational thoughts that lead to a phobic reaction. It will alter your view of the situation that you fear and replace it with a more calm, and realistic response.
Other techniques that can be used to treat specific phobias such as necrophobia are mindfulness meditation, systematic exposure, and virtual therapy. You may also join support groups for guidance and support.
Your doctor or psychiatrist may also combine psychotherapy and medication to help you overcome your phobia.
Thanatophobia is commonly mistaken as necrophobia because both phobias are associated with death, yet they are not the same. Thanatophobia is the general fear of death that almost everyone has. It is characterized by a person’s fear of the process of death and of actually dying.
A person with thanatophobia may exhibit symptoms like extreme fear of aging and also fear of being cremated when they die. Thanatophobia is also known as death anxiety in the medical setting.
Necrophobia on the other hand is the fear of the dead and dying things. While people with thanatophobia are afraid of their own death and may seek ways to remain young and even immortal, people with necrophobia are afraid of things or humans that are already dead.
Although the two phobias are different, they both are classified as specific phobias.
It may seem right to avoid your fear, but that can also lead to life-disrupting complications like isolation. This is why it is important to work on how you can manage your fears, however distressful.
Focus on something that might help get your mind off of your fear such as playing games on your phone or practicing any activities that you love. Note that if left untreated, necrophobia can lead to severe symptoms that can affect the quality of your daily life.
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