Fear of Being Buried Alive – How to Deal with Phobia?


The fear of being buried alive (it is also called tofofobia) is the main phobia of the human psyche. It took more than two hundred years since the Duke of Mecklenburg made a rule to bury a person on the third day after his death, to prevent the possible burial alive. Many well-known personalities suffered from this fear, namely Nikolay Gogol, Marina Tsvetaeva, Arthur Schopenhauer, Alfred Nobel and others.

The list of Symptoms

A person who is experiencing a fear of this kind will always have bad thoughts in his head. It seems to him that one day fear of burial alivehe will not be able to wake up, and everyone around will consider this for demise. Consequently, he wakes up in a coffin.

The patient often asks his family to give him the promise that they would not begin the funeral until they would not sure one hundred percent in his death. In the severe stage of tapofobi disorders, they write suicide notes every day before going to bed. They contain requests that the funeral should be postponed for several days or even weeks, and the body should not be opened under any circumstances.

Such people often afraid to go to bed, because the horizontal position of the body they associate with the deceased in a coffin. They tend to take uncomfortable positions in bed – this psychologically separates them from the dead. Often they have nightmares about burial alive, and in these dreams the patients feel a hard surface beneath them, and also hear the earth falling on the boards. After such dreams, it is incredibly difficult for person to recover. For a long time he feels the lack of air, breathes heavily and experiences a strong fear. Physiological symptoms of phobias include:

  1. insomnia in VVD;
  2. fear of being buried alive helptachycardia;
  3. respiratory disorders;
  4. increased blood pressure;
  5. pulse in temples;
  6. headaches;
  7. fever or chills;
  8. shortness of breath;
  9. noise in the head;
  10. frequent urination, “nervous” diarrhea.
A distinctive feature of those who suffer from fear of burial alive is also the desire to constantly visit somnologists and study materials about lethargic sleep.

Special attention deserves the case of Hannah Bezwick. A wealthy resident of Manchester began to fear being buried alive after her brother had almost been buried alive by mistake. Hannah made a will stating that her body after death must be embalmed and buried for several years, periodically checking for signs of life. The Englishwoman’s mummy became very popular and for a long time was in the museum as an exhibit called the Manchester Mummy.

Causes and Treatment

Too susceptible people with a rich imagination are more prone to the development of fear. Trigger in this case are stress, depression, trauma. Sometimes tafofobia develops after the death of a loved one. In this case, the patient is inclined to think that the deceased person may have been buried alive. Viewed movies, heard stories, read books can also have an impact. Fear can be transmitted and “inherited.” For example, Alfred Nobel “adopted” this phobia from his father Emmanuel – the inventor of a special “safe” coffin, from which one could escape in case of burial alive.

There is a version that the fear of being buried alive can develop in an unwanted child. A person in adulthood fear, as a rule, develops into a heavy phobia.

Only a psychotherapist can cope with such a phobia. Independently alleviate the condition by following some recommendations:

  • fear of being buried alive in adultYou must try to distract yourself from the dark thoughts. Walks and conversations with friends, music, sports, travel, activities for the soul can help you. The condition of a person who is tormented by the fear of being buried alive and treating obsessive thoughts improves significantly when things bring joy to his life.
  • You can try to communicate with people who also suffer from certain phobias. Support and understanding in this case is very important. If there are no such people, you could tell your close ones about your experiences. Sometimes it becomes easier, even if someone just stayed a good listener.
  • The condition of some patients improves when they find information about their phobias and analyze the material. Perhaps after a deep study of fear, many things can be rethought.
  • To alleviate the symptoms, you can take mild sedatives. Breathing exercises, meditative techniques, massages and warm baths with aromatic oils will also be helpful.

If no methods bring relief, it is recommended to immediately seek professional help. The fear of burial alive, no matter how illogical and unreasonable, prevents a person from leading a full life and being happy.


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