Astraphobia: Fear of Lightning, Symptoms and Treatments
How often do you see kids get scared off by lightning? How often do you see adults get scared off by lightning?
But have you ever actually seen someone get struck by lightning? Quite obviously, no. You wish you could hear the same from people with astraphobia.
Otherwise known as astrapophobia, brontophobia, keraunophobia, also tonitrophobia, astraphobia is the extreme fear of lightning (and thunder), which came from the Greek "astrape," meaning thunder, and "phobos" or fear.
Astraphobia classifies as a specific phobia, a certain type of anxiety disorder that is triggered by the exposure to a particular entity (tangible or not).
For specific phobias, the object of fear is usually frivolous, strange, or simple. But certain times the entity can also be radical and driven to extremes; animate objects that are normal to be afraid of, like sharks (see selachophobia).
Similarly, astraphobia develops from a typical fear since early childhood. In a 2007 study done in the United States, astraphobia appeared to be prevalent on children, and ranked third over all accounted cases of phobia.
Astraphobia is characterized by symptoms similar to that of many phobias; such as panicking, sweating, trembling, crying, and feeling of dread. These symptoms are intensified when alone.
A person with astraphobia will seek comfort and reassurance from others, and as a matter of course, will find a room where there are people. An astrophobic person is always alert on weather reports, or any signs of a storm. They might monopolize the TV sets, radios, or even track weather forecasts online. Someone with astraphobia immediately looks for cover whenever it rains. Even though they are already inside a house, they will still possibly hide in the basement, under the bed, or inside the closet. They will make noises and cover their ears to tune out the thunder.
In most severe cases, a person with astraphobia will not go anywhere without having checked the weather reports. They might not leave the house at all (see agoraphobia).
Normally, astraphobia expires upon puberty; isolated cases where it continues to early adulthood may have associations to trauma.
* Exposure therapies are the most effective treatment for astraphobia, where a person is openly exposed to thunderstorms.
* Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is also found an effective treatment for astraphobia. In CBT, a patient is approached in a way to work out emotional conflicts and odd behaviors.
* Repeating calming phrases during a storm, and/or breathing exercises.
Astraphobia is more recurrent in dogs (15 to 30 percent) than in humans. It can be remedied by either using anti-anxiety medications or counter conditioning (exposure treatments).