Hadephobia – The Irrational Fear of Hell

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hadephobia, irrational fear of hell, stigiophobia, stygiophobia

HADEPHOBIA, also known as stygiophobia, is the intense, chronic, irrational fear of ‘hell’ and that one may be ‘sent there.’ It is serious enough to disrupt day to day functioning and significantly reduce quality of life.

Typically, the person suffering from this will have a pervasive dread of ‘suffering eternal torture in hell’, and may have intrusive internal, mental visualizations of being condemned to such a fate.

Often, too, the person may fear ‘ beings’ who, according to some legends, ‘inhabit hell’ such as ‘demons’ and ‘Satan’.

As we know, the irrational belief stems largely from religious fundamentalist belief systems which the person suffering from the phobia may have been INDOCTRINATED with as a child. Scientists who see religion as harmful, such as Professor Richard Dawkins, regard such indoctrination as a clear cut case of child abuse. (In order to read more about this issue, click here to read my article entitled ‘How Religion can be Used as a Weapon’).

It is also very commonly found that a person suffering from hadephobia has experienced some severe trauma in life. The phobia can be so severe that the individual often feels ‘paralyzed’ by anxiety in a way that makes normal day to day functioning impossible. At times s/he may experience terror leading to fully blown panic attacks involving hyperventilation, sweating, dizziness, racing heart beat, trembling and even fainting.

One dysfunctional coping strategy that the person may employ in a desperate attempt to allay his/her terrible fears is to become extremely pious and obsessively to try to avoid doing ( or even thinking) anything that could possibly be construed as a ‘sin’. Clearly an impossible task for anybody.


The highly distressing nature of this phobia is obvious and the first port of call is normally one’s GP (in UK) or primary doctor.

After discussion, the person may then be referred to an appropriate mental health professional in order to try to identify any possible underlying, psychological causes and/or to determine what course of therapeutic intervention may be most suitable. Possibilities include :

– cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

– exposure therapy

– hypnotherapy

– desensitisation therapy

– antianxiety medication where severe distress is being experienced

Resource :

Overcome fear of death’ hypnosis download – CLICK HERE.


David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).


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About David Hosier MSc

Holder of MSc and post graduate teaching diploma in psychology. Highly experienced in education. Founder of childhoodtraumarecovery.com. Survivor of severe childhood trauma.

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