Home Mind & Brain “Significant Portion” of UK Suffer from Thanatophobia, According to Medical Professional

“Significant Portion” of UK Suffer from Thanatophobia, According to Medical Professional

Reading Time: 2 minutes

In the past 12 months in the UK, online searches for “thanatophobia” have soared by an astonishing 5,000%, according to new research from life insurance broker Reassured. This spike suggests a significant rise in those suffering from the phobia.

To address this concerning trend, Reassured has spoken exclusively to Dr Sona Kaur from the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, who has over 10 years of experience as a clinical psychologist. Dr Kaur offers insights into thanatophobia and analyses why more Brits are seeking information about it.

What is thanatophobia?

“Thanatophobia is an intense fear of death or the dying process and affects a significant portion of the population, although exact numbers can vary. It can manifest in individuals of all ages and backgrounds but may be more prevalent among those who have experienced traumatic events, have certain personality traits, or struggle with existential questions. Those who suffer from extreme thanatophobia can experience panic attacks and see a significant impact on their emotional wellbeing, affecting daily life,” explains Dr Kaur.

Why has there been an increase in online searches for thanatophobia?

Dr Kaur attributes the rise in searches to several factors: “Firstly, there’s greater awareness and de-stigmatisation of mental health issues, leading more people to seek help for anxiety-related concerns. This could explain why more people are searching for information around this phobia, as they look to understand more about their own feelings. Secondly, the rise of the internet and social media has made information more accessible, allowing individuals to explore coping strategies and seek support online.

“We must also bear in mind that recent global events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, natural disasters, and the political instability of the past year, may have heightened existential fears and mortality awareness among the general population. These events can trigger feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty about the future, exacerbating existing fears of death.”

What coping mechanisms are best to manage thanatophobia?

Dr Kaur recommends a variety of coping mechanisms for managing thanatophobia, including:

  1. Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) techniques can help individuals identify and challenge negative thought patterns related to death anxiety.
  2. Mindfulness and relaxation exercises can promote present-moment awareness and reduce physiological symptoms of anxiety.
  3. Psychoeducation about death and dying can help individuals develop a more balanced perspective and reduce avoidance behaviours.
  4. Building a support network of friends, family, or support groups can provide emotional reassurance and validation of feelings.
  5. Engaging in meaningful activities and pursuing personal goals can foster a sense of purpose and fulfilment, counteracting existential distress.

Expert advice from Reassured

Phil Jeynes, Director of Corporate Strategy at Reassured, comments: “As Dr Sona Kaur mentioned, the country has faced unprecedented times in recent years. We have endured the COVID-19 pandemic and, more recently, seen conflicts arise in Europe and across the Middle East, which has caused heightened anxiety. All of this can increase our fears around dying, not only regarding our own mortality, but that of our loved ones, too.

“Along with Dr Kaur’s advice on how to cope with thanatophobia, there are also other ways to help ease the anxiety around your future. Ensuring you have the right life insurance helps provide financial protection for your loved ones. It ensures your family has the necessary funds to help maintain their current lifestyle, without financial worry after their passing. This can help offer you reassuring peace of mind, helping you to focus on the present and enjoying the time you have with those closest to you.”

As online searches for thanatophobia continue to rise, it is crucial to address this growing concern and provide support and resources to those affected.

© Copyright 2014–2034 Psychreg Ltd