Taphephobia: Fear of Being Buried Alive

  • Time to read: 5 min.

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Some people are afraid of being buried alive, and this fear is known as taphephobia. While a fairly rare phobia, it can be a debilitating one for those who experience it. People with taphephobia often fear being buried alive, and this can cause them to panic or become overwhelmed in even the simplest of situations.

Definition of Taphephobia

Taphephobia is defined as the fear of being buried alive. It’s a rare, but rational fear that has been around since ancient times, when people were often buried alive during war or natural disasters (like earthquakes). The word ‘taphephobia’ comes from two Greek words: ταπεινός meaning “low” or “humble”, and φόβος meaning “fear”. This literally means the “low-of-ground-fearing” which can be translated to mean anyone who fears getting buried underground while still alive.

Symptoms of Taphephobia

Symptoms of taphephobia - the fear of being buried alive.

While nobody wants to be buried alive, it’s understandable that this fear would develop over time. After all, it’s a fate that is both painful and terrifying. People who suffer from taphephobia often have a very intense fear of being buried alive and can experience several symptoms, including:

  • Panic attacks
  • Fear of enclosed spaces
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea

These symptoms are similar to those of other irrational fears or phobias, such as apotemnophobia.

Causes of Taphephobia

There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to the causes of taphephobia. For some people, it may be something that they are born with – after all, phobias are often hereditary. Others may develop the fear as a result of a traumatic experience, such as being buried alive during a natural disaster.

Still, others may have learned about the dangers of being buried alive from stories or movies, which can cause them to develop a fear of this fate.

For example, I once read a story about a miner who was trapped underground for several days. While he was eventually rescued, the experience left him with a profound fear of being buried alive. This story has stuck with me for years and, as a result, I developed a mild case of taphephobia.

Treatment of Taphephobia

Treatment of taphephobia.

Like most phobias, taphephobia can be treated through a variety of therapies, including:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

CBT, or cognitive-behavioral therapy, is one of the most common treatments for phobias. This type of therapy focuses on changing the negative thoughts and behaviors that are often associated with phobias. There are many different approaches to this, and that usually depends heavily on the therapist and the patient.

Exposure Therapy Counseling

Similar to CBT, exposure therapy for phobias is a type of therapy that helps people to face their fears. This type of therapy is often used for people with phobias, and it involves gradually exposing the person to the thing that they are afraid of. This can be done in many ways, but it’s usually best to start with gradual exposure and work your way up to more intense exposure.


In some cases, medication may be necessary to treat taphephobia. This is usually the case when the fear is so severe that it significantly impacts the person’s quality of life. There are a variety of different medications that can be used for this, including antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.


Hypnotherapy is a type of therapy that uses hypnosis to help people to change their thoughts and behaviors. This type of therapy can be beneficial for phobias, including taphephobia. Hypnotherapy doesn’t work for everyone, but it can be a very effective treatment for some people.

Meditation or Yoga

Both meditation and yoga can be helpful for people with phobias, including taphephobia. These practices help to calm the mind and body, which can be helpful for people who are struggling with anxiety or fear.

If you’ve never meditated before, it’s a good idea to start with a guided meditation. If you can’t do that, then start with basic yoga poses or simply sitting down free from any kind of distractions and focus solely on breath, breathing in and out.

Support Groups

Finally, support groups can be a great resource for people who are struggling with taphephobia. In these groups, people can share their experiences and get support from others who are dealing with the same thing. This can be a great way to learn more about the condition and find ways to cope with it.

Prevention of Taphephobia

The best way to prevent taphephobia is to educate yourself about it. Learn about the different symptoms and causes, so that you will be able to identify them if they occur. It’s also important to have a strong support system so that you can turn to your friends and family for help if you are struggling with this fear.

If you think you might be prone to taphephobia, it’s important to seek professional help. There is no shame in seeking help for a fear like this – in fact, it’s very courageous.

I Think I Might Have Taphephobia. Now What?

Next step for those with taphephobia.

If you think you might have taphephobia, it’s important to seek professional help. This is a very serious fear, and it can significantly impact your quality of life. Many different therapies can be used to treat this, including CBT, exposure therapy counseling, hypnotherapy, and medication. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – remember, it’s the courageous thing to do.

In addition, you should try to avoid anything that could trigger your fear. This might mean avoiding scary stories and movies or steering clear of cemeteries and funeral homes. It’s also important to have a strong support system so that you can turn to your friends and family for help if you need it.

Lastly, be sure to educate yourself about taphephobia. Learn about the different symptoms and causes, so that you will be able to identify them if they occur. Remember, you are not alone – there is help available for those who are struggling with this fear.


Taphephobia is a rare phobia that can cause extreme anxiety and panic for those who suffer from it. The fear of being buried alive or entombed in some other way may be the result of cultural beliefs, traumatic events, or genetics. In this article, we’ve explored what taphephobia is, how to diagnose someone with it, and the treatments available for this type of mental illness.