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    Fear of Losing Loved Ones

    The Excessive Fear of Losing Loved Ones

    Do you find yourself avoiding discussions on loved ones in the hospital, making wills, talk of death or anything related to the end of life? Are you constantly worrying about losing someone you love? Does the thought of being ill or finding out someone you love is ill send chills down your spine?

    If so, you may be dealing with excessive the fear of losing loved ones.

    Suffering from this fear means you are constantly worried about your well-being or the well-being of your loved ones, especially if they are sick or suffering.

    Living with a phobia can be very challenging since you tend to constantly worry about the smallest things. People suffering from the excessive fear of losing people close to them tend to avoid sharing their feelings because they assume that people will just assume they’re a worrier or are overthinking.

    The good news is that this excessive fear can be treated! So, here’s an in-depth exploration of what this phobia involves and how you can overcome it.


    What Is The Excessive Fear of Loosing Loved Ones?

    The  fear of losing someone  may seem like a normal reaction to death. After all, many of us are concerned about the end of life. But some people have an exaggerated or very excessive fear of losing loved ones, so much so that it changes their lives and not for the better.

    However, it’s when this natural worry overtakes one’s day-to-day life that it becomes concerning. It is also one of the most common among all the phobias.

    The constant fear of loved ones dying or death in general can become a phobia all its own and is related to thanatophobia . A person suffering from the phobia cannot stop thinking about the finality of death and is constantly worrying about the health of loved ones.

    They may be reluctant to go to places with high-risk factors like amusement parks, hikes, and beaches, and may even shadow them as a means of protection. They get extreme anxiety about family members dying and can even get panic attacks at the thought of their own death.

    It is important to note that thanatophobia is different from another death phobia, necrophobia. While thanatophobia is the fear of dying or losing a loved one to death, necrophobia is the fear of the dead, dead things, and places with dead bodies (graveyards).

    Moreover, this excessive fear can even lead to hypochondriasis, which is a chronic mental illness where the person fears developing a life-threatening illness even though there are no symptoms.

    Excessive Fear of Losing Loved Ones Causes

    So what causes the fear of losing your friends and loved ones? Like all other anxiety-related phobias, the exact cause of this excessive fear is unknown.

    However, there are several reasons that may play a part in the development of this phobia.

    Childhood Trauma

    A childhood experience involving the death of a loved one can cause one to develop a phobia of death. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is never easy, especially at a young age. Such a traumatic experience can make one extremely fragile, both emotionally and mentally, and if they don’t receive proper care and attention at this phase, they may develop a phobia.

    Witnessing someone go through a very painful death can also instill a fear of death, and it is natural that the child would not wish the pain of death for themselves or their loved ones.

    Role Of Religion

    A person’s religious belief often defines how they perceive the end of life. If a person believes that their “sins” in this world will condemn them eternally, then they will fear death.


    Phobias can also be a learned behavior. If a person is surrounded by someone who also has the fear of death, they, too, can develop the same or similar phobia.

    Genetic Predisposition

    Having a genetic history of mental issues, especially anxiety disorders, makes a person more susceptible to developing a phobia. In these cases, the risk is higher since even the slightest cues can lead to the onset of the phobia.

    Age And Chronic Illness

    Middle-aged people and people suffering from chronic illness are more likely to develop this death phobia as they witness the death of near-age friends and relatives and may be experiencing a lot of pain and suffering due to their illness.


    Excessive Fear Symptoms

    A person suffering from Excessive Fear of Losing Loved Ones will experience a few or more of the following symptoms.

    Physical Symptoms:

    • Sweating
    • Increase in blood pressure
    • Shivering
    • Palpitations
    • Increased heart rate
    • Nausea
    • Headache
    • Vomiting
    • Dizziness
    • Shortness of breath

    Psychological Symptoms:

    • Anxiety
    • Panic attacks
    • Fearing death
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
    • Illness anxiety disorder


    Excessive Fear of Losing Loved Ones Possible Treatments

    Now that we know the causes and symptoms of this excessive fear, let’s see how to stop thinking about death of loved ones or one’s own mortality.

    Like all other anxiety disorders, there is no defined treatment for the fear of death. However, there are certain treatment plans that you can follow for a complete recovery.


    Self-help is one of the best ways to deal with fear of losing loved ones. You can try various self-help techniques like journaling, meditation, exposure therapy, relaxation techniques, exercising, etc. These techniques calm you down and help you think more rationally.

    You can also make a list of all things that concern you, your triggers, stressors, and more. You can also journal your thoughts and your improvements. Additionally, you can learn about death and dying and join support groups that will help you understand your condition better.

    Professional Help

    Medical practitioners are experts in the field of treating phobias and are better equipped to help you deal with the fear. They can assess your situation accurately and chalk out the best treatment plan for you.

    Some of the treatment plans a therapist may use are:

    • Talk therapy
    • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
    • Exposure therapy


    In rare cases, when the patient is having repeated panic attacks and immediate action is needed, the doctor may prescribe antidepressants and sometimes tranquilizers. They help reduce the symptoms but are not a cure for the phobia.

    Once the patient is stabilized, the doctor will discontinue the use of medication and continue the treatment with therapy alone.



    The death of a loved one, can cause extreme anxiety and panic attacks especially if you are very attached. People suffering from this phobia can find it extremely difficult to go about their day-to-day lives, which affects their normal functioning in society.

    However, with proper care and help, you can leave behind this fear and live a happy and fulfilling life.


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