I Keep Thinking About Death Am I Depressed
Whilst death anxiety itself isnt a disorder, existential fears lie at the core of many anxiety and depressive disorders. This means that it is often linked to these kinds of mental health issues Generalised Anxiety Disorder in particular, which is characterised by frequent and uncontrollable worrying.
Its important to be clear that just because youre thinking about death does not mean that you have a mental health issue. Fears around death become problematic when they arise daily and are very persistent . When this happens, its likely these thoughts and fears have started to interfere with your enjoyment of everyday life.
How To Help A Child That Is Worried About Death
If your child is worrying about death, there are ways that you can help him. The first step is to understand why your child is in this state of mind. There could be a specific event that has made your child worried, such as a grandparent dying or a family member severely sick.
In addition, listening to your child carefully without interrupting is essential to know what is going on in his mind. This will help you understand where this anxiety might be coming from and how to handle it.
Apart from that, we highly recommend choosing your words wisely when talking to them. Sleeping is a term that should not be used to describe someone who has died. In fact, it gives the impression that the person will awake at some point. Furthermore, it may frighten some children and cause them to avoid going to sleep.
Another example is the statement this person is no longer with us, or Weve lost Grandma, which is also unhelpful and unclear. To a kid, these phrases may be taken to imply that death is only temporary, reversible, or that the individual is missing or lost instead of dead.
Above all, its important to stay positive and reassuring. Let your child know that its normal to feel worried about death but that there are ways to cope with those feelings. Help him find sources of support and encourage him to express his feelings. With time and patience, your child will likely overcome his worries about death.
Calming Step : Focus On Breathing
Your breath affects your mental state, so breathing is a crucial part of stopping a panic attack.
During a panic attack, your breathing speeds up, a signal that your body is in fight-or-flight mode, Dr. Josell says. Rapid breathing sends a clear signal that youre in danger, but slow, deep breathing helps to turn off the fight-or-flight response.
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The Best Breathing Exercise To Stop A Panic Attack
Alternate nostril breathing is a yoga breathing technique that goes by the Sanskrit name of Nadi Shodhana Pranayama.
At first, this may seem odd, but most people breathe through just one nostril at a time anyway, cycling between dominant nostrils.
Research shows that consciously controlling the breath in this way reduces stress and anxiety by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for eliciting the relaxation response, bringing the body back into balance after the stress response has been triggered.
Much like tapping, alternate nostril breathing gives you a way to actively halt a panic attack and can be done anytime you start to feel panicky.
And, unlike typical breathing exercises, this wont make your panic worse.
Heres how to perform alternate nostril breathing.
Alternate Nostril Breathing
Push your thumb or one finger on the side of one nostril, closing it off.
Inhale slowly through the open nostril for a count of 5.
Now, pinch the other nostril and breathe out slowly.
Repeat, starting with the opposite nostril this time.
Do as many rounds as you find helpful.
Death Anxiety: 9 Ways To Overcome Your Fear Of Death
Medically reviewed by Katelyn Hagerty, FNP
Death scares us all, and its likely that the people who say otherwise are lying. Death anxiety is real. Religious, spiritual or otherwise, weve all got questions about the big unknown, and what happens after we die thats part of life.
If fear of death is normal, however, being crippled or paralyzed by that fear is not necessarily normal nor a good thing.
Having anxiety about dying should not keep you from living.
Read on for nine ways to overcome your fear-of-death anxiety. But first, its helpful to understand why youre feeling this way.
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Is Death Anxiety Common
Fear of or anxiety over death and dying is natural and pretty common. Everybody has feared death to a certain extent. For some people, the fear can even push them towards living healthier or becoming more hygienic. Fear of death only becomes a problem when it begins to interfere with your life and wellbeing.
Benefitsofanointedsmile Drops For Stress Panic And Anxiety
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Other Mental Health Issues Connected To A Fear Of Dying
By: Si B
If you already suffer fromanxiety and depression, you are more likely to have death anxiety.
Thoughts of death and dying could also be connected toobsessive compulsive disorder. In this case, obsessive thinking about death then causes an ordered, repeated reaction, such as a series of tasks you do to save yourself or those you love from death. This could be physical, like hand washing or ordering, or mental compulsions, like a checklist you go through repeatedly.
Who Is At Risk For Thanatophobia
Thanatophobia can affect adults and children. Its more common in people who:
- Are in poor health or receive a diagnosis of a serious illness.
- Dont have religious beliefs.
- Feel a sense of dissatisfaction with their life.
- Have low self-esteem.
- Have other phobias or mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety.
- Have parents or loved ones who are elderly, ill or dying.
- Lack close family members or friends.
- Witness illness, trauma or violence in their jobs, such as healthcare providers or social workers.
One study suggests that elderly people are more likely to fear the dying process, while young adults are more likely to fear death itself. Another study found that the children of elderly parents actually had a higher level of death anxiety than their parents, peaking at around middle age.
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Understand The Origins Of Your Fear Of Death In The Past
For a lot of people who struggle with fear of death, it can seem like it came out of nowhereeither gradually or suddenly becoming a major struggle in their lives.
And this uncertainty about the origins of fear of death can make the whole experience that much harder because it can feel embarrassing or even shaming to have this struggle but not understand where it came from.
The good news is that you dont have to understand the origins of your death anxiety in order to work through it.
NOTE: Throughout this guide, Ill use the terms fear of death and death anxiety interchangeably)
That being said, it can be validating and reassuring to get some clarity on where this fear comes from. And it can also help encourage and empower you to work through it when you have at least some understanding of its origins.
Different Ways To Handle The Fear Of Death
Thanatophobia is a human condition that people experience in different ways. Some people may try to avoid thinking about death or simply specific activities.
Others may seek out information about dying to quell their fear. There are other ways to handle this type of anxiety, lets cover those who can help you the most.
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Thanatophobia: What Is Death Anxiety And How To Overcome It
Most of us probably dont like to talk about death. Although we all know that death is inevitable, there can be a great deal of fear and anxiety surrounding this topic. Even hearing the word may make us feel uncomfortable. You may even want to try and avoid thinking about death. However, trying to avoid the topic of death can affect your mental and physical health. In this article, well take a look at what thanatophobia is all about and how to cope with death anxiety if youre experiencing it right now.
What Is Panic Disorder
People with panic disorder have frequent and unexpected panic attacks. These attacks are characterized by a sudden wave of fear or discomfort or a sense of losing control even when there is no clear danger or trigger. Not everyone who experiences a panic attack will develop panic disorder.
Panic attacks often include physical symptoms that might feel like a heart attack, such as trembling, tingling, or rapid heart rate. Panic attacks can occur at any time. Many people with panic disorder worry about the possibility of having another attack and may significantly change their life to avoid having another attack. Panic attacks can occur as frequently as several times a day or as rarely as a few times a year.
Panic disorder often begins in the late teens or early adulthood. Women are more likely than men to develop panic disorder.
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What Causes Death Anxiety
While the exact causes of thanatophobia are not known, there are a number of potential triggers. One theory is that thanatophobia is a form of self-preservation. By fearing death, we are motivated to avoid dangerous situations and take care of our bodies.
Another possibility is that thanatophobia is learned. If we witness someone else being afraid of death or dying, we may develop similar fears. Additionally, thanatophobia may be linked to unresolved trauma or grief.
Experiencing the death of a loved one can be deeply upsetting and may lead to feelings of insecurity and anxiety about our own mortality.
Panic Disorder: When Fear Overwhelms
Do you sometimes have sudden attacks of anxiety and overwhelming fear that last for several minutes? Maybe your heart pounds, you sweat, and you feel like you cant breathe or think clearly. Do these attacks occur at unpredictable times with no apparent trigger, causing you to worry about the possibility of having another one at any time?
An untreated panic disorder can affect your quality of life and lead to difficulties at work or school. The good news is panic disorder is treatable. Learn more about the symptoms of panic disorder and how to find help.
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What Is The Research About Death Anxiety
Unfortunately, research on the effects of treatment for death anxiety are somewhat limited. However, there have been some findings from related areas, primarily when the treatment is for individuals with chronic diseases. One review from 2018 looked at the effect of various therapies on individuals who had advanced cancer. The reviews findings suggested that interventions focused on helping people find meaning in their life were the most effective at treatment for death anxiety.
For example, doing acts of kindness every day for the remainder of your life can be a fun, easy way to add meaning to your life while battling a terminal illness. You can mail cards to friends and family explaining why you love them. Wish all your friends on Facebook a happy birthday every time the notification comes up. You can spend quality time with loved ones on a short nature walk.
Another meta-analysis was done in people who did not have severe diseases. They found that cognitive-behavioral therapy was one of the most effective treatments. Group desensitization was also found to reduce death fears compared to other types of treatments. However, these studies were pretty limited as they had a broad range of individuals with various mental health conditions.
Keep Your Worries Under Control
Another great way to prevent your fear of death from overwhelming you is to manage your worries. When you start to feel anxious, try to take a step back and remember that everyone dies eventually.
Of course, worrying is a normal trait of the human character since its a defense of automatism, but you should challenge it, not overthink and stressing excessively.
When you overly think about death and have unusual thoughts, try focusing on whats real and, therefore, not listen nor think that your thoughts reflect reality.
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Where To Find Professional Help For Panic Attacks
Note that everyone is different and no one technique can be guaranteed to work for everyone.
If youve failed to conquer panic attacks on your own or feel that they are interfering with your life in a significant way, it may be time to seek professional help.
While the standard medical treatments for anxiety and panic are anti-anxiety drugs and cognitive behavioral therapy, these are not your only options.
If you arent sure where to turn, youll find information on various types of mental health practitioners with a strong emphasis on drug-free treatments in our Mental Health Resources Guide.
You may want to consider working with a certified EFT practitioner.
You can find a certified EFT practitioner in your area, or locate one who sees patients remotely, using these international databases:
What Causes Panic Disorder
Panic disorder sometimes runs in families, but no one knows for sure why some family members have it while others dont. Researchers have found that several parts of the brain and certain biological processes may play a crucial role in fear and anxiety. Some researchers think panic attacks are like false alarms where our bodys typical survival instincts are active either too often, too strongly, or some combination of the two. For example, someone with panic disorder might feel their heart pounding and assume theyre having a heart attack. This may lead to a vicious cycle, causing a person to experience panic attacks seemingly out of the blue, the central feature of panic disorder. Researchers are studying how the brain and body interact in people with panic disorder to create more specialized treatments. In addition, researchers are looking at the ways stress and environmental factors play a role in the disorder.
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Scenario : Worrying When A Loved One Is At A Higher
This is a common experience for anyone, but its been tragically even more prevalent in a time when nearly 3 million people have lost their lives to COVID-19, and many millions are at high risk for serious outcomes if they contract the virus. Millions of people also have illnesses like cancer or heart disease that could become fatal. If you have a loved one whos at high risk, facing a serious illness, or near the natural end of their life, you may be worried about the day when they will die.
Dont expect yourself to be perfectly rational and poised if youre facing the impending loss of someone you love. Allow yourself to feel anxiety and grief.
Its one thing to rationally understand that death is inevitable and that things may be out of your control, but its quite another to feel at peace with that knowledge. Dont expect yourself to be perfectly rational and poised. After all, you may be facing the impending loss of someone you love. Allow yourself to feel anxiety and grief.
At the same time, for both your sake and the sake of your loved one, be wary of natural anxiety and grief turning into an unhelpful state of paralysis or preoccupation. It may be time to take some steps if you find yourself:
- Unable to manage the basics in life
- Unable to engage in proper self-care, or
- So preoccupied with thoughts about your loved ones death that you cant enjoy your time with them now.
Lets look at three things you can do to help yourself.
Panic Disorder In Children
Panic disorder is more common in teenagers than in younger children.
Panic attacks can be particularly hard for children and young people to deal with. Severe panic disorder may affect their development and learning.
If your child has the signs and symptoms of panic disorder, they should see a GP.
After taking a detailed medical history the GP will carry out a thorough physical examination to rule out any physical causes for the symptoms.
They may refer your child to a specialist for further assessment and treatment. The specialist may recommend a course of CBT for your child.
Screening for other anxiety disorders may also be needed to help find the cause of your child’s panic attacks.
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The Two Types Of Anxiety Over A Loved Ones Death
Lets get very concrete about this topic because spinning around in the what ifs can paralyze anyone with existential fear. To start with, lets make an important distinction. There are two major types of anxiety about a loved ones death:
These two types of anxiety are very different and need different types of responses.