What is Hadephobia? (A Comprehensive Guide)

In this blog we will discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments of Hadephobia.

Hadephobia is the irrational fear of Hell. Hell is a place where the sinners will live after they die.

Hadephobia is derived from the Greek word ‘Hade’ meaning ‘hell or the underworld and ‘phobos’ meaning fear.

Hadephobia is an intense fear of Hell.

The person suffering from Hadephobia is extremely fearful of the wrath of god and is afraid of punishments and going to hell as well upon dying.

Hade is the god of the underworld/hell in Ancient Greek religion and legends, and the brother of Zeus who is the god of all the gods on Mount Olympus. 

Hadephobia is emanated from the fear of sinning and from the moral values that are inculcated in him.

Fearing Hell in many religions around the world is thought to propel the people to refrain from sinning. 

Hadephobia is an irrational fear of the god. It is interrelated to the fear of the Pope (papaphobia) and the fear of the church (Ecclesiophobia) as well as fear of god (Zeusophiobia).

People suffering from Papaphobia will be afraid of even entering the Church or attending religious ceremonies.

Church itself being under the command of the god becomes a place that brings the onset of a full-blown panic attack in the person.

It hinders the person from engaging in the very essential religious acts and also makes him the reason for much debate amongst his family and friends.

He is oftentimes considered to be possessed by demons .

Symptoms of Hadephobia

To avoid the experience of anxiety itself the individual may develop Hadephobia, so as to avoid the very cause of the uncomfortable condition. 

Physical Symptoms

These are intense and can begin without any prior warning.

The person suffering from Hadephobia experiences the full physical intensity of either all of these or some of these in combination with others.

  • hot flashes or chills
  • headaches
  • sweating
  • trembling
  • shortness of breath a choking sensation
  • rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • feeling faint
  • numbness 
  • dry mouth
  • ringing in ears
  • confusion 
  • hyperventilation
  • raised blood pressure
  • Bizarre behavior

The Psychological Symptoms

During panic attack the person suffering from Zeusophobia may experience the following

  • fear of being in a Church
  • feelings of dread
  • fear of being ridiculed 
  • Socially withdrawn
  • fear of losing control
  • fear of self harm
  • fear of being possessed
  • self-blame
  • feeling of hopelessness
  • feeling of disconnect
  • confusion
  • lack of concentration
  • anger
  • irritability
  • mood swings
  • afraid of rejection
  • incapacitated to enjoy religious ceremonies
  • Anxiety on attending sermons
  • Anxiety on attending funerals and weddings

Causes of Hadephobia

As is common in specific phobias, the cause of Hadephobia may lie deep in the person’s childhood or its onset may be due to an environmental factor.

Genetics also plays a pivotal role in the cause of developing Hadephobia.

Fearing god after committing sin or crimes is valid and asking for forgiveness is something that alleviates the anxiety that comes from sinning as well.

In different religions of the world god is depicted as an unforgiving god who will punish all sinners, no matter what crime they have committed.

God cannot be seen but his presence is to be felt everywhere, therefore, the source of anxiety cannot be avoided and the ever present god poses a continuous anxious state of mind.

There are immense powers vested in god pose a threat that nothing is in the hands of the person and all is controlled by only one entity.

Either as a child they were made to fear the unseen god and the punishment that he will give if the person has committed a sin.

The punishment will be throwing the sinner in Hell, where there is only fire. This fear is then felt everywhere and thus causes Hadephobia to develop.

It could also be that if a person had committed a crime or a sin, the guilt that eats him away may give rise to Hadephobia, for he fears punishment from the highest authority.

Person suffering from Hadephobia may suffer from low self-esteem and thus, at the time he is suffering from the symptoms of Hadephobia he/she feels totally helpless, aggravating their already hiked anxiety.

Scientists believe that a combination of genetic tendencies, brain chemistry, and other biological and environmental factors could cause such fears to develop. 

Other causes can be as follow:

• Learned behavior

• Traumatic experiences

Etiological Models of Hadephobia

1. Biological (Genetic) Model

Genetics also determines how a person reacts and feels. Therefore, people inherit fears and phobias as well from their families.

The brain cells (neurons) release certain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Serotonin and Dopamine are two neurotransmitters that in depleted states can cause anxiety like symptoms.

2. Psychodiagnostics Model

If a person has suffered from a traumatic experience in early childhood it can have a severe dire impact on his later life. 

3. Behavioral Model

According to this model, irrational fears  may be caused through behaviors that are learned by replication.

Children often replicate unique behaviors of their adults, parents or a favorite aunt or uncle.

If a family member is already suffering from anxiety or is scared of one or another thing, then chances are higher that only by observing this, the child may develop fears.


Treatments of Hadephobia

Hadephobia can be treated through different treatments.

These include Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT), Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP), Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction MBSR) and forms of meditation.

1) Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

In CBT the therapist helps the client to amend his thoughts so that a desirable behavior can be achieved.

This therapy is effective, because if the thoughts or cognitions alter then there will be a lasting impact on behavior.

The therapist helps the client to discover the reason for this thought, his behavior in regards to changes in life.

This therapy is goal oriented and short termed. Therefore, the results are seen soon. It changes the way a person thinks and feels.

CBT does not focus on probing the past to resolve current problems, rather it concentrates on the present situation. 

Our thoughts determine how we act or react to certain stimuli and situations.

Therefore, negative thoughts bring about a negative behavior response or an undesirable behavior.

Whereas, positive thoughts propagate desirable and healthy attitude and response.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is a form of CBT and designed by Albert Ellis. According to Ellis, “people are not disturbed by things but rather by their view of things.”

This is what subjective perspective is. 

While the patient is being exposed to different intensities of stimuli during the various stages of therapy, the therapist simultaneously teaches them coping exercises.

These include, breathing techniques or muscle relaxation methods to lower their anxiety, when in an actual fear/anxiety causing situation.

This teaches them how to remain calm when exposed to the fear stimuli.

Before actually starting the exposure therapy, the therapist needs to figure out the intensity of the patient’s fear, as to deduce whether they will be able to undergo this treatment, without any physical or psychological harm caused to them during the exposure processes. 

3) Neuro Linguistic Program (NLP)

In this therapy the client is asked to 

  1. Access the phobia in a safe environment.
  2. Help them to replay the phobia along with happy emotions.
  3. Disassociate from the phobia.

4) Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR)

MBSR involves being aware of one’s own thoughts, feelings and reducing the interference from around the environment. We do not pay attention to how we process the various stimuli that affect us. 

We do not process the way our bodies feel and respond, there is no focus on our thoughts and how these thoughts are influencing our emotions. 

In MBSR, the client is ‘woken up’ to actually experience the various senses. ‘Focus’ is the keyword!

5) Meditation

For meditation to be effective during treatment, the mind is cleared off all the clutter of random thoughts.

The mind and body are made to be ‘in sync’ with each other, so that the feared stimulus does not invoke a negative thought.

The client will meditate during the thoughts of death and concentrate on his breathing patterns in the presence of the feared stimulus. 

6) Self-Help Groups

Self Help groups are an effective type of therapy, in which the client does not find himself as a lone sufferer.

These groups are individuals who are afflicted with the same types of phobias.

They come together to share their thoughts, experiences and their coping strategies.

This also helps in developing a ‘sense of I am not the only one’ suffering.

7) Changing Lifestyle

Breaking down the dullness of the daily, helps break down anxiety as well. 

• Take up jogging or go for daily walks:

Developing a walk routine can damper the way our negative thoughts control our behavior.

• Indulging in an exercise regime:

Vigorous exercise like aerobics has proved to reduce or alleviate the symptoms of stress and anxiety.

Exercise helps the mind to cope with stress and stressful situations better.

This is what the American Psychological Association has to say about inducting exercise to eliminate stress or phobias.

• Altering eating and drinking habits:

Cutting down on fatty foods and caffeine can improve self-image, that in turn leads to a raised self-esteem.

This finally diminishes the symptoms of stress to a bare minimum.

With high intake of caffeine, the body resembles a ‘fight or flight’ response, thus giving way to anxiety.

• Improving the sleep cycle:

When we get proper rest, our concentration improves. 

8) Psychiatric Medication 

There are a number of medicines that the Psychiatrist can prescribe if the symptoms of Hadephobia are severe.

Anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs)

These should only be taken after the consultation with the doctor and shouldn’t be initiated or discontinued as per personal discretion.


These medicines are not only used to treat depression, but also to alleviate the symptoms of Hadephobia as well as other phobias.

Medicines alone might not be as effective, but if used in conjunction with therapies then the results will be better. 

9)  Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

This kind of therapy is used to regulate the emotions.

A technique called “half-smiling” is used where the client is asked to lift the corners of his mouth when the feared thought comes to his mind.

Apart from this the mind is to be trained to refrain from thinking about the painful stimulus.

Coping Ahead is another technique in DBT that requires the client to sit quietly and think of the feared situation and strategize what he will do.

We are always here to answer if you have any queries.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Hadephobia?

Hadephobia is a fear of Hell.

Who was Hade?

Hade is the god of underground and Hell inGreek mythology.

Should we be afraid of Hell?

Hell is a place where sinners will be thrown, so we should be afraid of Hell and not sin.

How can we get over the fear of Hell?

We can get over the fear of Hell by firstly doing good with everyone and if we suffer from Hadephobia then we can undergo cognitive behavior therapy and mindfulness treatment as well.


  • www.psychtimes.com
  • www.fearof.net
  • www.amazon.com
  • www.exploringyourmind.com
  • www.albertellis.com

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