Send to

Choose Destination
Psychiatry. 1992 Feb;55(1):95-110.

Distressing near-death experiences.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, University of Connecticut Health Centr, Farmington 06030.


Most reported near-death experiences include profound feelings of peace, joy, and cosmic unity. Less familiar are the reports following close brushes with death of experiences that are partially or entirely unpleasant, frightening, or frankly hellish. While little is known about the antecedents or aftereffects of these distressing experiences, there appear to be three distinct types, involving (1) phenomenology similar to peaceful near-death experiences but interpreted as unpleasant, (2) a sense of nonexistence or eternal void, or (3) graphic hellish landscapes and entities. While the first type may eventually convert to a typical peaceful experience, the relationship of all three types to prototypical near-death experiences merits further study. The effect of the distressing experience in the lives of individuals deserves exploration, as the psychological impact may be profound and long-lasting.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center