Lucian Hodoboc

Is health anxiety related to death anxiety (thanatophobia)?

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Do you think that health anxiety stems, in a way, from death anxiety (thanatophobia)? Do the people who constantly are afraid that they might have an illness fear the symptoms and the treatment of said illness or do they actually fear the possibility that said illness would turn out to be incurable and, therefore, result in their early demise?

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Hi Lucien,

For me, I think death anxiety is indeed the catalyst to the HA. If I have an ongoing pain but know for a fact it's say muscular, while it will put me in a bad mood, I won't still worry it's a deadly disease. That just me. I imagine others may respond differently.

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Based on my research over the years along with the discussions I've had with my therapist, yes, the deeply rooted fear of death seems to be a prominent characteristic / driver in health anxiety. The same idea has become apparent, to me, since being on forums like this one for several years. It seems that most everyone's anxiety about their health can ultimately be drilled down to a fear of death.

Some have stated that their fear seems to be more about suffering from potentially life altering treatment, such as a case of a treatable (or "curable") cancer (e.g. chemotherapy, disfiguring surgery). But the fear of death is not a rule; it's just extremely common, IMO.

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Good question.. I fear not being in control. I always have to be. Even simple things like work.. I don't work well with others Bec I want to do it all so that way I know it's right. I was like that all through school. I hated pairing up, I'd always do it myself. I hate the idea that if I get sick I can't control the outcome. :( I am also scared of death. I like knowing what's at the end of everything I do. I can't know 110,%sure know there is an after life. Hugs. 

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1 hour ago, Bobnnat said:

Hi Lucien,

For me, I think death anxiety is indeed the catalyst to the HA. If I have an ongoing pain but know for a fact it's say muscular, while it will put me in a bad mood, I won't still worry it's a deadly disease. That just me. I imagine others may respond differently.

Bob....ditto for me!! Well said!

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I would agree, and double down and say that when your anxiety of death can be overcome, in my case because of a scary diagnosis, a lot of your Health Anxiety disappears along with it. The things I used to worry about before I grew unafraid--or at least un anxious--of death were all focused on the things that would kill me. MS was never a worry of mine, primarily because I know so many people who just keep living with it, it never really bothered me. But when I lost a friend my age, young, to colon cancer, it really set me back on my heels.

It wasn't until my own diagnosis with something else that I learned to live in the moment, not worry about how it will end, that the anxiety really lifted.

That is not to say I want to die, of course, or that I am not scared of death. I am just not obsessed with it, like I apparently was before.

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For me, HA definitely relates to death, and specifically dying when I have young children (they are 14, 11, and 4). I do want to live for myself, but my health freakouts ALWAYS comes back to images of them being left behind without a mom. I am sure I will still have fears, but I do feel like some of the edge will come off health anxiety once my kids are grown.

I was diagnosed as glaucoma suspect. This means I am developing glaucoma, something that could take my sight. I have ZERO anxiety about it-- it's really just the stuff that can take my life that causes so much dread. Until HA (i developed it at about age 40), mortality was not at all real. HA made it real.

 

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I am afraid of dying YES big time... I don't want to die, who does???? BUT my main fear is to die young and leave my kids without a mom. I am 42 and I always pray to God to give at least 20-30 more years to be with them!!!

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3 hours ago, Leah1976 said:

I am afraid of dying YES big time... I don't want to die, who does???? BUT my main fear is to die young and leave my kids without a mom. I am 42 and I always pray to God to give at least 20-30 more years to be with them!!!

Same here Leah. Hugs. 

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In my case, yes.  I'd go through anything I could be assured I would live through.  It's funny because I haven't always feared death.  I don't know if getting older caused it or it's just another part of my personal brand of crazy.  I figure it's not worth worrying about since it's inevitable and try to put it out of my mind, but I definitely don't want to know it's coming. 

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Absolutely 100%. I have always been open about my HA with my husband but just recently did I tell him the whole story. Death is what scares me. Death before I’m ready (old age, tired of living, being ok with moving on). Anything other than that is losing at life. What a terrible attitude!  I know that’s what I need to work on even more than HA because it’s the root of it. But that was such a breakthrough to me that I’m kind of taking a break from working on it right now. Baby steps!!!

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23 hours ago, Holls said:

Good question.. I fear not being in control. I always have to be. Even simple things like work.. I don't work well with others Bec I want to do it all so that way I know it's right. I was like that all through school. I hated pairing up, I'd always do it myself. I hate the idea that if I get sick I can't control the outcome. :( I am also scared of death. I like knowing what's at the end of everything I do. I can't know 110,%sure know there is an after life. Hugs. 

Holls! You're my twin! I'm a control freak as well!  ;) 

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